Selley and Barnes team up for island race
Scott Barnes has stepped in as a replacement for navigator Matthew Smith and will team up with pilot David Selley in the Rubis Around the Island Power Boat Race on Sunday.
Smith will be off the island for the annual race, which was postponed last weekend because of unfavourable weather conditions.
Despite having to switch navigators, Selley is confident of striking up a quick understanding with Barnes and said the pair were “prepared to go to battle” when they take to the start-finish line at Ferry Reach.
“Unfortunately, Matthew had to go away and is pretty bummed out about that, so Scott Barnes will be jumping in the boat,” Selley said. “He knows what he needs to do and he’s raced before. He’s also light, which is good, as the boats are weight sensitive.
“Scott is a ‘race-head’ so he’ll be fine. You don’t want someone who disagrees with you. You want someone who is prepared to go to battle and encourage you and not slow you down.”
Selley and Smith set a new A Class record on their way to clinching both class and line honours after circumnavigating the new 54-mile racecourse in a time of 55min 11sec last year.
They broke the previous record of 55:46, set in 1992 by Andrew DaCosta and co-pilot Chris Smith, the older brother of Matthew Smith, although Selley said the two records were akin to “comparing apples with oranges”.
He said: “Ours was a new A Class record under the new A Class rules. We have more horsepower than they used to have.”
Selley and Barnes, the island’s top karting driver, are one of only two boats competing in the A Class along with Errin Butterfield and navigator Shane Medeiros.
“The goal is go out and beat our record and try to be the first boat back,” Selley added. “You’re only ever racing your class, but it’s an added bonus if you’re the first boat back. There will be some good competition. Shane Madeiros and Errin Butterfield’s A26 boat is almost identical to ours. Those guys are fast and we’re pretty evenly matched. It could be anyone’s day.”
The B Class boasts the largest racing fleet with nine boats.
Among them are the father and son team of Craig Nesbitt Sr and Jr and 57-year-old Ernie Mello, who has come out of retirement to make an appearance 40 years after making his race debut. Mello is set to compete as a navigator on the 19-foot Phantom he owns along with pilot Cleveland Maybury.
The S Class features the second-largest fleet with five boats, among them top contenders Steven Eversley and navigator Brandon Franks and the pair of Andrew Cottingham and Henry Talbot. The C Class has the smallest fleet with Chad Sutherland and navigator Terance Rance the sole boat having entered.
The D Class is slightly larger with Shawn Butterfield and navigator Jermal Woolridge and the pair of Stuart Durham and Kaya Stewart the only two teams having entered. The race starts at 2pm, with the A Class the first scheduled to come off the start-finish line.
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