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Power boat champion Shelley Jory – Leigh has made a spectacular return to power boating by snatching a British speed record in the Lake District.
Shelley, who was forced to virtually retire from the sport due to crash injuries in 2010, took to the water at Coniston Powerboat Records week. By the end of the week Shelley had achieved not only the record but the “Lady of the Lake” title and a K7 Gold Star.
The record came for hitting a speed of 114.6 mph in the Vector Martini Team Powerboat. She teamed up with ace power boater Peter Dredge in the 40 foot, Canadian built, Vector marathon powerboat. Whilst this impressive race craft has a four litre engine capable of putting out 2,200hp, over twice a Formula 1 car, it’s not purpose built boat for speed records. It’s more used to long endurance races with variable seas.
Speed records are achieved by driving the powerboat in a straight line down a course of one kilometre. Whilst it may be a straight line the challenges from the huge Lake Coniston are plenty – fluky winds and choppy water can make handling difficult and the margins for error grow ever smaller as the speed increases. Over 100 miles an hour on the water would feel awesomely powerful on the road, somewhere approaching 180 miles an hour.
The previous speed set for this record was 107.94 in 2011.
Following her world beating time Shelley said “I was pretty apprehensive about driving at high speed again. Whilst I have been back in boats I have not driven at theses speeds and I really wanted to prove to myself I could do it again. When the call came asking me to join the Vector Martini team there was a lot I had to do in a short time to prepare, including one of my dreaded “dunk tests” to prove I can still escape from a canopied boat. I also had to have a medical to get my international licence back.
I am glad I made the effort and would like to thank Peter and the team for giving me the chance and Andy at Andark diving for “dunking” me. I feel I have really put the crash behind me now…”
Shelley is currently planning a new marathon power boating venture “with a difference and to make a difference”.
To hear a BBC Radio Solent interview with Shelley Jory Leigh follow the link below
Neil Sackley Show