As the sun finally beats down on the South Coast the roar of the engines at Powertech Marine HQ is overwhelming. Basking in the rays and blue exhaust smoke is Sam Whittle, the current champion of Powerboat GP Formula 4. Standing tall in his branded racewear Sam looks the part. He carries himself like a winner. He has an easy charm that appeals particularly to the ladies and today he has prepared like a champion. He is everything you would expect of a young man in his prime, muscular, charming and handsome replete with a new, streamlined haircut and sporting a very determined grin. Sam is leaving soon for Chasewater to race in the Powerboat GP Championship races . He is preparing to defend his national title.
“We have to go and win this. There are hardly any points between the top few drivers”, says Sam as he packed his race gear into the Powertech Marine motorhome. “I know there is some tough competition out there but I have beaten them before so all I have to do is win every race and show them what a real Champion can do,” he adds with a wry grin.
Sam is backed up by the teams resident go-to guy, the ever reliable and resilient John Donnelly. John, who is a champion in his own right, is fired up and ready for the weekend but he still has a few worries. “I have to go home one weekend“, he says. “I have been racing solidly for the past month and the wife has started to forget what I look like.” For the record he looks a lot like Jack Sparrow would if he had a decent diet.” It is tough this time of year when we are running in two series and the events just keep on coming. You have to be 100% committed to racing and we are. .. Totally committed… I know that Sam and Keith are two of the best guys around the circuit and we all work together to get Sam on the top step of that podium. It is a team effort and being part of the Powertech Marine crew is fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Powertech Marine supremo Keith Whittle has got his game face on. “Sam can win this. I know he can.” says Keith before cracking into his typical cheeky chappie grin. “My life has always been about racing. I raced in Hydro’s and F2. I have run teams in the Formula 4’s and Formula 2’s and P1Superstock and some other series so we know how to deliver the results. We are professionals. We know that winning takes a great driver, a properly prepared boat and a team that knows what it is doing.” The thought of another trophy to fill his already bulging cupboard clearly make this determined man a happy man.
Keith knows. He really does. Behind his affable demeanour lies a Kevlar determination. Once upon a time it would have been a steely determination but times have changed and so has Keith. He is right up to speed in every sense. He is the man that flipped his boat through a complete somersault whilst travelling at 130mph a couple of years ago. You might have seen him on the news that day. He has been there, done and wears the experience lightly. He has a host of world records and a history in powerboat racing going back over 35 years. If Keith doesn’t know what it takes no one does.
Still the sun beats down and the mood in the camp is becoming more and more positive. Whilst the team prepare for the Powerboat GP race at Chasewater this weekend they debate what the most important ingredient is when getting a championship winning team together. “A great boat” says Sam, “Proper set up” say John but Keith pauses and thinks for a second before adding his wise words “F.U.N….. If it isn’t fun it isn’t racing… Everyone agree with that.” The Powertech team nod enthusiastically.
“Right, check the engine and get that boat on the trailer. We’ve got things to do”, says the boss. Everyone is grinning now.
That’s how you run a successful team. Make it fun. If only everyone understood that like the boys at Powertech Marine.
Good luck Sam, Keith and John.