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Champ changes crew after accident

Around the Island Powerboat Race champion Tonka Simpson has been forced to make change to his crew ahead of his title defence on Sunday.

Simpson's co-pilot and brother, Stacey, remains on a general ward in hospital after suffering serious head injuries in a single vehicle road accident last month.

The injured co-pilot has been replaced by Cameron Harris.

“Cameron will be a great partner,” Simpson said. “He's raced before so it's not like this is his first time in the boat. It's not like he is new to racing and he's done Around the Island before.”

Last year the Simpson brothers powered their way to a maiden victory in the annual powerboating spectacle in their FB Phantom in a record time of 47 minutes and ten seconds.

While expectations will be running high following last year's success, defending champ Simpson insists there's no pressure on him heading into the event.

“Obviously people want to see if I can hold my title again,” he said. “But it's not really any pressure on me and a lot of people have urged me not to race because I have already proved my point.

“It was a last minute decision to come out and the thing with me is that I don't race for competition, I race for fun and the adrenalin.”

Simpson is sure to find his work cut in the ‘FB' Class which also includes fellow pre-race favourites Ryan Davidge and Perry Foggo.

Jody Carreiro is the favourite in the ‘A' Class, Quincy Dowling in the ‘SD' Class and Henry Talbot in the ‘C' Class.

There is only one entry in the ‘S' Class (Keith Bridges) and no ‘B' Class boats competing this year.

Multiple Around the Island champion Andy Stoneham is among those absent from this year's entry.

A total of 18 boats have registered in eight different classes for this year's race.

This year's course, which again starts and finishes at Ferry Reach, is three eights of a mile longer that the previous course with the modifications.

Participants will no longer be permitted to race inside of White's Island, Daniel's Head and Pompano Beach and also must stay 50 yards off the shoreline at Burgess Point.

They will also now be required to remain 100 yards outside of the extended Heritage Wharf in Dockyard for security reasons while the recreational area at Snorkel Park has also been extended by 50 yards,

Drivers will be allowed to run on the inside of the reef line on the South Shore from Elbow Beach but must remain outside of buoys placed near Fort St Catherine and the Pylons at the entrance of Ferry Reach.

During the race, marine traffic are prohibited from entering Ferry Reach via the Pylons while the passage between Hinson's Island and Paget shoreline will be off limits from 1:15pm to 2:40pm.

The passage between Five Star Island and Southampton shoreline is also off limits to marine traffic between 1:20pm and 3pm.

Racing gets underway at 2pm with the start of the ‘A' Class.

The ‘FB' and ‘SD' Classes will start together at 2:11pm followed by the ‘C', ‘D' and ‘E' Classes that will get underway at 2:18pm

Racing in the ‘S' Class starts at 2:26pm.

A minute's silence will be observed prior to racing in memory of late powerboaters Stuart Smith and Frank Mello.

All boats will undergo inspection prior to and following the race.

Brothers Tonka and Stacey Simpson on the way to winning last year's Around the Island Powerboat Race. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published August 09, 2013 at 9:11 pm (Updated August 09, 2013 at 9:11 pm)

Champ changes crew after accident

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