Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker has been storming Cayman’s waters for years. Now he finally has a major accolade to his name.
Whittaker, 21, won Jet Around Cayman 2012 on Monday in a time of one hour, 31 minutes and 32 seconds. The born and raised East Ender was first through all three checkpoints for Nuttin 2 Lose racing.
The Newlands resident was elated to finally win Jet Around.
“I was 10th in 2009 and second last year. Its been awhile that I’ve been after it but I came through,” Whittaker said. “It wasn’t my best but I was first overall.
“Everyone that finished this race I consider a champion, with the weather we had to face. East End was as tough as everyone said. Pedro was the worst, with eight foot waves back to back.”
The son of Gary Whittaker and Bernice West claimed the Pro Open and Expert Open categories for a total of US$5,000. Kaleb Ebanks was second from team Wes-Tec in 1.35.15, good enough to claim the Amateur class and US$1,500. Javier Medina was third for Nuttin 2 Lose in 1.38.11 and competed in the Amateur and Expert Open segments, earning US$1,500.
Of the 13 competitors, only eight finished as a number of riders broke down. There were 21 registered racers but many, such as Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean, dropped out over concerns about rough seas in the East End area.
Organisers Kenny Rankin and Vincent Ramgeet started the race about 30 minutes late and debated calling off the competition until the next public holiday, on 2 July, due to the inclement weather.
Whittaker states he defied the elements on a heavily modified craft.
“My craft was a Kawasaki Ultra 300 that costs US$25,000. It’s Farthing Racing built with a bullet-proof motor rated at 350-375 horsepower. There was strong competition, everyone was strong to the first checkpoint.”