Bodden Town residents were doubly delighted over the weekend as an annual Jet Ski event was held at the same time and place as the launching of a new boat ramp for local fishermen.
It all happened at Coe Wood Beach and served to signal the culmination of years of campaigning by area residents for the facility’s installation.
The White Tip Run, organised by 2Frenzied race team and the Cayman Endurance Racing Group, was the icing on the cake for those long-championed efforts and organisers hope the racing will attract local youngsters to get involved.
Shane “Nobee” Edwards, managing director of 2Frenzied and a member of the racing group’s committee, said, “The White Tip Run went well we had a great turnout for a first time event on such short notice. The riders and spectators loved it. There were eight racers and in total eight races on the day.”
Gary “GJ” Whittaker on Nuttin 2 Lose was the overall winner and received $800 and a $50 LIME top up. Wayne Cato (Xtreme Racing) finished second and received an IPhone 4S from LIME, as well as a $50 LIME top up. Third place went to Djon Solomon (Xtreme Racing), who received LIME’s $50 top up. All other racers received a $25 top up courtesy of LIME.
In addition to the racing, those gathered enjoyed a beach atmosphere flush with food and drink, music and football.
“We had an unfortunate incident with one of our racers (Matthew Panton) getting hurt in the final race,” Edwards said. “However, it was not a serious injury and he is in good health and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“We at [Cayman Endurance Racing Group] and 2Frenzied are very pleased with the results, as we were able to successfully execute the first ever Jet Ski races in Bodden Town.
“Most importantly, the riders, local residents and members of Legislative Assembly enjoyed the event and are looking forward to doing more. We were able to launch the Jet Skis from the ramp and have the race in the area. The ramp is a great addition to the Bodden Town district.
Whittaker said: “I won all three of my races. Unfortunately, in the final race, me and my step-brother, Matthew, were racing and he fell off and got a little injured, but that is a part of the game.
“This is great for Bodden Town. It is getting all the families back together and having fun.”
Whittaker, who lives in Newlands, won one, came second in another and was unplaced in a third race during last month’s East End Surf Challenge to place second overall in the pro-class. He said he hopes to continue his winning ways, though, and defend his title when he returns to the water later this year in Jet Around Cayman. He won the event last year.
“It’s kind of hard to defend your title,” the 21-year-old electrician said. “It’s a long time since anyone has done that. I expect my main challenger to be the one who taught me to ride, Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean.
“I started racing in 2006 and I’m really serious about it,” Whittaker said. “I’m as serious as a woman with her child. I want to be a top pro, too. Once you’re motivated you can do anything. The races have been getting a lot more exposure and a lot of people have got into it.”
Whittaker said he hopes to emulate McLean, a Caymanian who has attained world championship status. McLean didn’t race in the White Tip Run, but was there offering the event his support.
McLean said he is looking forward to racing again locally during the coming months, as well as launching a successful title defence of his world championship in October in the United States.
Meanwhile, Don Patrick served as technical adviser for the White Tip Run. He designs race courses and runs his own team, West Tech Performance, who won the East End Surf Challenge.
“Today it went very well considering we only had a short time to plan this event,” Patrick said. “The community spirit was beautiful from the time I came here from early in the morning when I came to set out the course. People had already started coming out.
“People were really joyful about it because it was the first time anything like this happened in Bodden Town and I’m happy I could be a part of this,” he added. “When our CERG group meets again we’re going to be deciphering what went on today and we hope to improve on it. I think they now have the best ramp on the whole of the island. It has a beach next to it, showers and restrooms. There is no problem launching a boat here.
“The only thing I would like to say is that for a bigger boat, you might need a little deeper process to go off shore,” he said. “But besides that, it is great. I love it.”