While Cayman produced top five finishes, there was some disappointment in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
None of this year’s local racers produced a world championship at the 2013 International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals. Gary ‘GJ’ Whittaker was among those representing the Cayman Islands, and the East End native said weather conditions contributed to the results.
“The weather was a big part of it,” Whittaker said. “The team fought hard and we got some good results. Some (of those results) were not so good as others, but it’s still results.”
Whittaker, 22, earned the most props by placing second in the Novice Limited Runabout class and fifth in the Amateur Stock Runabout division. Whittaker missed out on being the third consecutive Caymanian rider to earn a world title for the third straight year. Interestingly, the last man to complete the feat, 2012 winner Roshad Goff, was not part of this year’s contingent.
Whittaker, the two-time reigning Jet Around Cayman winner, was joined by six other riders. 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 in 2012, 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 founding technical director Don Patrick saying racers would have done better without borrowing Jet Skis.
“The guys’ performance was awesome, I just wished we could have had our boats that we could have raced,” Patrick said. “I think we would have had a better turnout. (With) renting boats, you got to take what they give you. Hopefully next time, next year, we can bring home the No. 1 (trophies).”