Jet Around brings international star

Jet Around Cayman 2010 on Monday,
14 June will take the competition, starting at Public Beach, Grand Cayman, to
new levels by welcoming international participants/teams to this year’s line-up
and new racing classes.

The 52-nautical-mile race has
become a popular mainstay in the local events calendar and is continually
looking to add extra excitement for both riders and participants. Thirteen-time
World Champion, Chris MacClugage will be competing in Grand Cayman’s waters
adding his star power to the high octane event.

The International Jet Sports
Boating Association Hall of Famer and professional watercraft racer, most
recently displayed his dominance during this year’s USA National Tour by
garnering back to back wins. A legendary figure among the competitive Jet Ski
fraternity, Mr. MacClugage is also a 13-time National Champion, two-time
Thailand Kings Cup champion, two-time Japanese Champion, Offshore Guadeloupe
Champion, and two-time European Indoor Champion.

A team from Guadeloupe will also be
participating in the multi-race event, headed up by Davy Vaitilingon, 24, Guadeloupe’s
current Offshore Racing champion 2010 the 2007 world champion. His team mates
will be Jean Meclot, who was 5th in this year’s World Championship) and 4th in
the Guadeloupe Championship open class; Marc Forbin, 20 and Vincent Karam, 29,
World Vice-Champion 2008. The team also includes Vincent Thomas.

According to event organisers,
Monster Media and LIME, a high number of racers are gearing up to participate
in the 14th annual event, many of whom took part in last year’s event and are
looking forward to competing against Chris MacClugage and Guadeloupe’s all-star
team.

The other new elements organisers
are introducing to Jet Around Cayman are six different classes for riders to
participate in. Divisions are set according to rider’s individual skill level.

Classes

The first of the new classes is the
Pro Class – for riders who have gained substantial racing experience and have
advanced competition skills. Pro Class will offer a more challenging
competition and a substantial prize purse.

The other new class is The Amateur
Class and is designed for riders who have previously participated in Jet Around
Cayman but are not yet ready to ride at the competition level of the Open
Class.

The Open Division is for all
competitors other than the pro/expert riders.

The Rookie Class is open to all new
riders who have not previously participated in Jet Around Cayman. All rookies
must ride a stock Jet ski craft.

The Female Class continues to grow
as Jet Around Cayman is encouraging more female riders to get involved with the
race. The participation has definitely increased over the years.

The Veteran Class is for all riders
35 years old and older.

Registration

Would-be competitors are asked to
register themselves and their team mates by Wednesday, 9 June, at Paramount
Media, Rankin’s Plaza, on Eastern Avenue or online at jac.com.ky.

Organisers and sponsors

“Jet ski racing has become a
passion and hobby for many Caymanian youth, and is yet another tie to our love
of the ocean and our seafaring heritage. It is also a competitive sport that
the young people have access to here on the island; it’s affordable and
attainable for those in their teenage years and into young adulthood” said
Cayman Islands Water sports President, Vincent Ramgeet.

Last year’s Jet Around Cayman event
had 37 riders vying for first place, which was won by pro rider Eric Francis,
with the fastest time overall of 1:13:30.

“It was highly entertaining to see
such a large number of participants riding in 2009 and we are glad to see them
return this year again,” said Kenny Rankin, manager at Monster Media. “We always
aim to make it an exciting race for everyone involved and the introduction of
the new classes, this year, does just that. Also, safety remains our main
focus.”

“We are excited that Jason Smith is
returning to the race,” he added. “He is a great young talent and has the
hunger to be one of the best riders the race has ever seen. I can’t wait to see
what he will do.”

George “Lulu” Smith will also
return to the race as will Jordan McLean, Mr. Smith’s biggest competitor in the
2007 event.

This year, organisers are
anticipating an even larger number of riders as the prize purse continues to increase.
With preparations under way of this year’s race, the Watercraft Association is
on board and assisting with race sanctioning and all major safety aspects of
the event.

LIME, a long-time sponsor of Jet
Around Cayman is a marquee sponsor of this year’s event. The telecom’s
Marketing Manager, Julie Hutton, said: “We were delighted to see a large number
of racers out last year and this year I’m sure it will be an even bigger
field”. She said: “LIME is delighted to be involved in this growing sport… it’s
great to see so many young people coming out to race. It’s a fun day for all
the family with lots of entertainment and activities taking place all day long
at the beach. “

The event’s gold sponsors include
Butterfield Bank, the Caymanian Compass, Heineken, Sports Supply Kawasaki, and
Thompson Line a division of Tropical Shipping.

Race day

Race day kicks off at 11am and the
race starts at 1pm with riders leaving the waters off Public Beach coast and
racing off on the intense round–island course. On land, there will be an plenty
of activities to keep spectators occupied, including an appearance from the JAC
calendar girls and entertainment from Vibe 98.9 FM DJs. There will also be a
Kids’ Zone, a three-on-three volleyball tournament and games for younger visitors
to take part in during the race. The event will also appeal to families with
food and drinks available for purchase all day on the beach.

SPORTSJetAroundbringsSTORY

Race day for Jet Around Cayman 2009
Photo: Submitted

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