Young athlete J’auza James thrilled with debut in prestigious race
J’auza James is set for a busy few months but his long-term goal is to represent Bermuda at the Olympics games.
The Berkeley Institute honours student has a passion for Powerboat racing but is an all-round sportsman, competing in karting, triathlon, harness racing and track and field. He also has experience of international competition after representing the island in the Octathlon at this year’s Carifta Games in Jamaica.
Soon off to university, he will be experiencing the life changes that all young people must face, but not eveybody at the age of 17 has the dream of an Olympic medal.
“Upon graduating from the Berkeley Institute, I will be going off to university,” James said.
“I’m going to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering while competing and training hard to try to make it to the Olympics to represent Bermuda as a decathlete, where I hope to medal,” he said.
“I have very big ambitions and I am a very determined individual.”
James is still buzzing months after realising his dream of competing in the prestigious Rubis Around the Island Powerboat Race.
He fulfilled his ambition when competing alongside father, Daric Seymour, in the S class during the annual spectacle in August.
“My all-time big dream is to race around the island with my father and win,” James told The Royal Gazette. “I waited years to get in the boat and race with my dad.
“From a toddler I have always been around some form of racing as my father and godfather [Andy Stoneham] were racing together in the S class from the time I was born. I was always present on race days.
“In 2012, my father purchased his own S class boat and from that time I knew my father and I would one day race together.”
James’s debut in the prestigious race was anything but a bed of roses.
“The race actually did not go as planned as we had some unfortunate setbacks,” he said. “We unexpectedly had an engine issue at the start of the race, which forced us to travel back to Stone Crusher Corner to the trailer to fix the issue, in order to start and then complete the race.
“As we were sitting at the water’s edge repairing the issue, the S class started. It took us a few minutes but we fixed the problem and went down to take the start flag officially after everyone else had already left.”
While that was an inconvenience, the setback did little to dampen what proved to be a thrilling and memorable experience for the teenager.
“The race was extremely exciting from start to finish and I was having a blast,” James said. “At that level it was like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and learning how to swim.
“It was very challenging having to complete the journey with just sight and the wave of a hand because I lost all communication with my dad, the throttle man, at Hog Fish Beacon. I was kind of on my own from there on out.
“It was very intimidating being the youngest driver to ever drive an S class boat around the island. I had so many thoughts going through my head but I stayed focused and worked through it all.”
James is the first driver from the Bermuda Power Boat Association’s fledgeling youth programme to compete in the race.
“It’s an awesome feeling being the first driver from the youth programme to advance into a bigger boat,” he said. “This opens up doorways for the club to inherit more young drivers and build a great foundation helping to rebuild the club’s legacy.
“If they see that one driver can achieve a goal such as this it will allow them to try even harder to be recognised or even create dreams to be on a bigger platform. So I truly am delighted to say that I want to be an inspiration for more of the young drivers to start and come through the ranks.”
James enjoyed a successful season in the junior class being crowned champion.
“The highlight for me last season would be winning the junior class and being the first name on the Llewellyn Lew Hollis sportsmanship award, which I was truly honoured to win,” he said.