Female Driver competes in male dominated Great Race hosted by bmobile and TTPBA
TSTT Corporate Communications
Powerboat racing fans are promised an exciting race this year when the annual Trinidad and Tobago Great Race is held on Saturday 26th September. Hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Powerboat Association (TTPBA) and sponsored by bmobile, the 52nd edition of the race will have twenty-nine boats, in six different race classes, launching off from William’s Bay in Chaguaramas at 7am. Each will be vying to be crowned the Great Race Champion.
Ian Galt, TSTT's General Manager Enterprise Services commended the TTPBA for hosting the world's longest running offshore powerboat race for yet another year and extended his best wishes to all the teams for a safe and successful Great Race. “We are proud to be the technology partner for the Great Race for a second year and will continue to support the sustainable development of our national sports.”
TTPBA Secretary, Sheldon Edghill, noted that 2020 will be a different Great Race because of the COVID-19 restrictions. The race will be streamed live on the TTPBA and bmobile Facebook pages. Over 100,000 persons worldwide watched the live stream last year and the viewership is expected to be even larger this year because of the cancellation of many powerboat races globally due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We will miss the crowds cheering us on at the start and at the end but with the live streaming, we know they will be cheering us on from the safety of their homes this year. Edghill thanked bmobile for being the Technology Partner of the race for a second consecutive year and said “This year bmobile is once again supporting us by providing the technology behind the race. bmobile is assisting with the live streaming of the event, as well as with the GPS tracking of the boats. Because of bmobile’s sponsorship, race fans can stay home and watch the race. It’s wonderful that a corporate partner like bmobile will come onboard for a second time this year.”
Edghill has been racing for fourteen years overall and as the driver for the Energizer boat in the 95 mph class for ten years. Energizer placed first in their class last year. As TTPBA Secretary, he’s also involved in the planning of the annual race. “The race will be exhilarating with twenty-nine entrants registered this year. Unfortunately, we will not have many of the bigger boats because they are really expensive to run. However, Mr. Solo will be gunning for his 19th win this year and there will be a few newcomers in his 130 mph class who will be trying to defeat him. The bigger boats are fun to see because they are fast and loud, but the real competition occurs within the smaller boat classes. This year we will have nine boats in the 60 mph, four in the 70 mph and eight in the 80 mph. Just picture eight boats running up the north coast together or entering Store Bay at the same time. It will be an exciting race this year!”
This year will also feature a mixed team which is unusual because powerboat racing is a male-dominated sport. Jason Costa and Stephanie Llanos are hoping to capture first place in the 80 mph class with their boat, Heat Wave. The couple, who are engaged, will be racing together for the first time, with Llanos making her entry into the sport as the driver and Costa, with seven years’ experience racing Heat Wave, as the throttle man. Heat Wave came first in its class last year and second the year before.
Costa explained that Heat Wave’s usual driver opted to race with another team this year. He then asked Llanos and she said yes. When asked why she decided to race this year, Llanos shared that she grew up around mechanics so was very comfortable and knowledgeable about engines. She also became familiar with boats because of her relationship with Costa. “The desire to compete in the Great Race was growing so I am very excited that an opportunity opened up for me this year. I’m really looking forward to it!”
Costa also noted that the Great Race is an endurance race. “It’s a very long race at 100 miles. A lot can happen and many boats break down. Sometimes it’s relatively calm and it’s an easy run to Tobago. Other times the water is really rough, we get banged up and it takes a toll on the body. We are hoping for nice weather with calmer waters which also results in a faster race. Look out for us in the top three!”
Be sure to log on to the TTPBA and bmobile Facebook pages at 7am on 26th September to watch this year’s exciting race!