David Selley buzzing to have Around the Island Race front and centre
David Selley admitted his relief at preserving the legacy of the Around the Island Powerboat Race after the future of the longstanding event came under serious threat.
Having endured a torrid past 18 months in which the very future of powerboat racing on island was surrounded by grave uncertainty — owing to the continuing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic — the Bermuda Power Boat Association was facing another major setback with the standout event of its sporting calendar facing cancellation.
However, after the valuable intervention of sponsors and members of the public alike, the race, which was first run in 1955, will run on Sunday from Ferry Reach starting at 10am.
“Being able to stage the Around the Island Race is just huge for us because there was a real threat that it wasn’t going to happen,” said Selley, the deputy commodore, who set a record in winning the A class in the event’s previous staging in 2019. “It’s also a huge relief for everyone involved. It is such a special race for me on a personal level and that’s why it so important for me to play a part in keeping its legacy going.
“We’re so thankful to all of our sponsors as well as a host of people within the community who made donations to keep this event going.
“It is amazing to see that there is still the support for the event within the community and I feel as if we can get the numbers back to where they used to be, we can make this a major event again.
“We are all relieved that we can keep it going and just hugely excited to get back out there racing again.”
In an attempt further add to the spectacle of the race, the event will also include a junior and jet-ski class for the first time to run alongside the five senior classes.
“We will be running a junior race and also a jet-ski class which is really exciting for everyone involved,” Selley added. “Obviously the juniors won’t race the course that the adults will, but they’re all really excited to be part of the event.
“Our junior programme, which was introduced this season, has been going really well and this will be another major step for them.
“We’re trying to breathe life into the sport again because we are all so desperate to be able to keep it going. That’s why we are so excited to be able to stage this event again with some new classes.”
With the return of the race after a year hiatus because of the pandemic, Selley took the opportunity to remind the boating and wider community to practise awareness and caution around the course, which starts and finishes at Ferry Reach.
“It is also important for us to remind that the boating community and everyone in general to be aware that the race is going ahead and just to be wary of the major points of the course,” said Selley, who also welcomed spectators to come out in force, albeit within Covid regulations
“We also want to welcome spectators to support the race, but obviously it is vital that all Covid-19 protocols and guidelines are respected.”