Simpson ruling is ‘a joke’ – Desilva
Powerboat racer Tonka Simpson has been officially declared as a class winner in this year’s Around the Island Race for the second time.
Simpson and co-pilot Seth Chetty took the chequered flag in the FB Class but had their celebrations put on hold after bitter rivals Point Mart filed a protest.
Point Mart team members had accused the 25-year-old driver of racing with illegal engine parts.
Simpson’s Yamaha 150 V Max engine later passed a post-race inspection and he was declared the winner by the race committee four days after the race had –ended.
However, the race –committee decided to review its original decision after Bermuda Powerboat– Association (BPBA) –comodoore Brian Smith –insisted that Simpson had been disqualified for leaving Ferry Reach after Point Mart had submitted their official protest.
But during a special meeting held last week the race committee declared –Simpson FB Class winner to finally bring closure to a controversy that has dragged on for weeks.
“Basically we left it as it is because we pulled the motor down and felt there was no infringements,” said BPBA comodoore Smith.
Smith acknowledged that “mistakes” were made –during the protest –procedure that complicated matters, shortcomings that he hopes to avoid in the future.
“We have already started implementing things so we wouldn’t fall into this predicament again,” he added.
“Next year we will make sure we have an independent body for any type of protest.”
Smith also acknowledged that the protest between Simpson and his rivals marred what had otherwise been a smooth event this year.
“It’s unfortunate because this is supposed to be a fun class where you buy a motor, bolt it onto to your boat and go racing,” he said.
“It was just unfortunate that people made lots of –accusations about each –other.”
Simpson admitted the protest took some of the gloss of his crowning moment.
“It did take some of the glory off winning because some people think I am a cheater,” he said. “But I played by the rules and my fans know that I did everything right.
“I was confident that I would hold my title and I’m relieved that this whole matter has been dealt with.”
While Simpson was pleased with the outcome the same could not be said for rivals Point Mart who feel they have been treated –unfairly.
“It’s a joke,” was the way Point Mart team spokesman Jason DeSilva summed up the committee’s final ruling on this year’s race.
“The rules are there to be followed but they (race –committee) do not follow their own rules and so they might as well throw them away.”