Whittaker races for added kudos

Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker continues to ride the best waves. 

After a stellar season in local waters, the East End native earned additional props during the 2013 International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals. Whittaker, 22, placed second in the Novice Limited Runabout class and fifth in the Amateur Stock Runabout division. 

Whittaker, who arrived back in Grand Cayman on Monday, said he was relatively pleased with his performance. 

“Everyone goes into a race to win,” Whittaker said. “Second place is not as good as first, but it’s up there anyway. I was pretty happy about it.” 

The two-time reigning Jet Around Cayman winner was joined by six other racers in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean finished fifth in the Expert Limited Runabout category. McLean, 24, claimed a world title in 2011 and last year placed in the top 10 for the Expert Limited and Pro-Am Limited segments. 

Javier Medina, who also raced last year, ended up sixth in the Novice Stock Runabout section, while Paul Rousseau Jr. came in eighth in the Novice Limited Runabout and Ryan Harding finished ninth in the Novice Stock Runabout segment. Nicholas Hydes placed 12th in the Expert Limited Runabout category and Mark Rae Smith was unsuccessful in the qualifier and unable to participate in the heats. 

All were backed by the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association, with events planning committee member Tania Ramgeet saying the riders did well. 

“Team Cayman once again proved to be a force to be reckoned with,” Ramgeet said. “All of our riders placed in the top finishing positions. I would like to congratulate them on their very impressive performances and for being honorable ambassadors for Cayman.” 

Most of those riders competed in the association’s recent 2013 National Championship Series, which featured McLean as one of the top finishers. 

gary gjwhittaker oct17

Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker has racked up many podium finishes this year. – PHOTO: MATTHEW YATES