A five-member team from Hay River raced to a first-place finish in its class at last month’s World Jet Boat Championships, held in several locations in Alberta and British Columbia.
Tanner Froehlich, the driver of the jet boat, said it feels really good to have won a division at the championships.
“It proves to everybody hard work pays off,” he said.
The team won in the FX division, which features the lowest horsepower and lowest speed of five categories of boats at the championships.
Still, the team’s 21-foot boat – called Reverse Elevation – produced about 430 horsepower.
“We were hitting speeds of 100 miles an hour,” said Derek Mundy, who was in the boat as the navigator.
The other members of the team were crew chief Clayton Jameson and mechanics Alex McMeekin and Bryce Maher.
Froehlich said the win was a team effort.
“They all had a specific role,” he explained. “At the beginning of every race, we had a lot of work to do. At the end of every race, we had a lot of work to do to prep.”
The championships began in Whitecourt, Alta., on July 12 before moving Peace River and Grande Prairie, and concluding on July 21 in Taylor, B.C.
“It’s such a gruelling 10 days of racing,” said Mundy. “We were just kind of hoping to start and finish every leg and lay down some decent times. We ended up getting ahead with the lead right off the bat, lost it for a little bit and then managed to get it back by the end.”
Each division was decided on a team’s combined times after 12 legs of racing, which totalled about 530 miles.
Froehlich, who was born and raised in Hay River but has lived in Edmonton for the past four years, called it a marathon, and noted the team stuck to a plan and it succeeded.
The Hay River team has been racing for three years, but this was its first time competing in the world championships.
The team is not the first from the town to win at the World Jet Boat Championships, where fellow Hay Riverite Spencer King had a legendary career as a racer.
“He’s definitely inspired us to kind of get in it and keep going,” said Mundy.
This year’s championships attracted 40 teams from the U.S., Canada, New Zealand and Mexico.
In the FX division won by the team from Hay River, there were four boats, all from Canada.