Jelf bags himself a Bronze the hard way

European Bronze Medal in Latvia

  • 304d ago

British hopeful Ben Jelf travelled to Aluksne in Latvia this weekend to compete in the UIM F4 European Championships. Heading into the weekend’s proceedings the youngster’s confidence was high despite knowing he had a strong battle ahead of him with a World class fleet in attendance at the event. 14 teams representing 11 different nationalities made the journey to see who could claim the 2018 European F4 Crown. With representatives from Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, France, Latvia, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary all joining the Brit in his fight for European glory. The event itself would consist of Qualification and then four individual heats with the best three results to count. So as the Green flag went up for the qualification to start none of the drivers held back. Throughout qualifying the teams all pushed each other to the limits with only 5 seconds separating the whole fleet and less than a second separating the top four boats we were in for some thrilling racing and the championship crown was anybody’s for the taking. Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast, the current World Championship leader came to dominate the European campaign and set about laying claim to pole position quickly as the only driver to complete the course with a sub 53 second time. Tuukka Lehtonen of Finland secured second place on the grid with countryman Olle Martin lining up in third ahead of our very own Ben Jelf in 4th. Still with everything to do Ben had been practising his starts and knew he had the speed off the line to make up at least a couple of places heading into the first heat. And he did just that as the lights went out and they fleet sped away from the jetty Ben got a great start and by the time they rounded the first corner Ben had already moved into second and was chasing down race leader Morgan Jernfast for first. Applying the pressure it wasn’t long before Ben passed the Swedish racer and with clean water ahead the race was his for the taking. Heat 2 and Ben knew exactly what he had to do. Another strong start and a great line into the first turn and Ben was well away looking for the second win of the day and with his eyes further ahead on the European crown. A phenomenal race from Ben saw him take the second chequered flag of the day and with just one more heat win required the team retired for the evening. Ben and the team were faced with disastrous news as the second day of competition dawned. As team manager Colin Jelf noticed a split in the transom just before free practice meaning the boat was unsafe to go in the water. An experienced mechanic and Boat racer himself Colin set about making the required repairs to get his son back out on the water and still in with a shot at winning the European crown. Happy that the boat was repaired enough to compete Ben made it out for the end of the free practice and managed a couple of laps before the end of the session. As the lights went out for the third heat Ben powered away from the jetty with the rest of the fleet but it wasn’t long before his engine began cutting out and he found himself dropping back places, never one to give up ben continued to try to fight back but with continuing problems he was left to finish the race in 6th as he watched Morgan Jernfast and Finland’s Tuukka Lehtonen fight it out for first. Heading into the final heat and Ben’s European Dreams had all but faded with the deteriorating weather conditions but the young Brit held his head high and headed into the final heat with fighting spirit. A final heat win could see him still claim the crown. Officials opted to shorten the course on the grounds of safety as the winds had increased and conditions were worsening meaning every racer had a new battle to contend with. The fleet powered away Ben was pushing hard and trying to make up places despite still feeling the gremlins in his engine and his bad luck for the weekend was not over as rounding a turn his boat stuffed in to the water and Ben was forced back into 10th position. The youngster continued to fight to try to make up places but with a poorly boat and engine was forced to finish in 10th and watch his European dreams shatter. Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast took the final two heat wins to secure the European crown and Finland’s Tuukka Lehtonen secured two second places to secure the Silver Medal. With calculations done and the worst of 4 heats dropped a jubilant roar erupted from the British Jelf Racing tent as it was announced that he’d done more than enough despite the trials and tribulations to secure the European Bronze Medal. Reflecting on a testing weekend the British Bronze Medallist had this to say “Am I disappointed? I’d be lying if I said no! We were short on team members this weekend so Dad and Mum have put a lot of hard work into getting me here this weekend and more than anything I feel disappointed for them. The whole team have been behind me back home and it means a lot but it just wasn’t meant to be this weekend.” He continued “Unfortunately Powerboat racing can very much be about luck on the day. If we’d raced a third heat yesterday maybe I’d be European champion but also I could have crashed out completely and not be walking away with the Bronze Medal. As a team we did everything we could, so we take the highs and the lows and we learn from it. The boat needs a little TLC but it can be repaired and I’ll come back fighting at the next race even harder. There’s been some great racing this weekend and Morgan and Tuukka both really deserve their podium places so congratulations to both of them and everyone else that competed.”

Ben takes on F4 Euro Challenge

2018 UIM F4 European Championships

  • 304d ago

British Powerboat Racer Ben Jelf (18, Harrietsham) this weekend heads to Latvia for the UIM F4 European championships. The European championships will take place in Aluksne, Latvia over the 14th & 15th July. The British hopeful will make the journey 2800 mile round trip in a bid to add a 5th European championship crown to his collection. Ben secured his first European championship title at the age of 11 in the GT15 class retaining the title three years in a row and then claiming the GT30 European championship title in 2014. Following a strong performance in the 2017 F4 European championships that saw Ben claim a bronze medal, Ben will be aiming for the gold medal podium spot this weekend. At the opening event of the World Championships in Barcis, Italy last month Ben faced some formidable competition amongst the world class fleet but remaining focussed and determined saw him win the second round of the championship in a flawless performance. Following some bad luck in the opening round that saw him entangled with a turn buoy and forced out of the race. Ben will be feeling confident heading into the weekend and with a wealth of knowledge and support around him in his team he will be looking to reward the team and sponsors with another European title. The competition itself will see Ben compete for pole position during a timed session and then over four heats with the best three results to count to fight for the European crown. But he will have a big fight on his hands if he’s to return victorious. Some of his strongest competition will come in the form of Latvian Racer Nikita Lijcs a formidable racer in his own right Lijcs will be hoping that Latvian luck on home water will be on his side. Reigning European champion Frenchman Rudy Revert will also be there defending his title and will certainly make it hard for the young British hopeful in his campaign. Talking about his upcoming battle the British hopeful had this to say “Firstly I’d like to thank my family, team and sponsors for their support that gives me the opportunity to be in the position to fight for the European crown. Without everyone’s support it just wouldn’t be possible.” Ben continues “The opening event of the World championship showed the calibre of opponent I’m going to have to beat to make this dream come true, I know I’ve got a real fight on my hands this weekend there were several of us fighting for positions in Italy and Quentin Dailly and Tuukka Lehtonen put some real pressure on me so it’s going to be tough but I am going into the weekend relatively confident because of the support and dedication from Mum, Dad and all my team have put into getting me there. We’ve put in the hard work and hopefully I can bring my ‘A’ game and we can all reap the rewards.”

Bad luck and a bounce back from British hopeful

Rounds 1 & 2 of UIM World F4 Championship

  • 304d ago

Britain’s hopeful Ben Jelf this weekend (16/17 June) headed to the small mountain village built on the shores of Lake Barcis, located at the foothills of the Dolomiti mountain range for the opening two rounds of the UIM F4 World Championship. Twelve racers representing 11 different nationalities descend on the beautiful shores of Lake Barcis looking to dominate in the shadow of the Dolomiti mountains and get their championship campaign off to a colossal start. Amongst the world class fleet British hopeful Ben Jelf looked to fly the flag for his country and return with a World medal to celebrate his 18th birthday. As Saturday’s qualification sessions got underway things seemed to be going to plan the first of three qualifying sessions saw Ben comfortably in 5th position and with a second separating the top five boats everything was to play for. Qualifying session two saw Ben pushing his boat and getting to grips with the graceful waters of the lake. Retaining his position he made it through to the top six boat shoot out which’s would see each Boat take to the water for a warm up lap them the fastest lap possible to see who could claim pole. With another mix up in the proceedings Ben found himself in a strong 3rd place after the 6 boat shoot out and with a quick start the youngster had everything to play for heading into the day’s race. Finland’s Tuukka Lehtonen sat in pole with France’s Quentin Dailly in second and Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast hot in Ben’s wake in 4th. As the lights went out for the first Grand Prix race the world class Fleet powered away from the lights all looking for the best start and best line around the turns. Disaster struck when British hopeful, Ben made an error taking too close a line to the turn buoy he became entangled and had to watch the rest of the race from the course as Finland’s Tuukka Lehtonen powered home to the first Grand Prix of the World Championship campaign. Not one to dwell on, on water errors Ben and the Jelf Racing set about preparing both driver and the boat for the next day’s racing. A disappointing start to his 18th birthday celebrations Ben arrived in the pits with a cool and collected persona around the birthday boy. The team quickly set about readying the boat for the first qualifying session and remaining calm and determined throughout the session Ben quickly claimed pole. One down and two to go Ben remained focussed as he headed into the second qualification session and despite some immense pressure kept his nerve into the 6 boat shoot out. Remaining clam and focussing on his skill, as the times came in the Birthday boy celebrating his 18th birthday had managed to claim pole position in the second round of the World championship and despite Saturday’s misfortunes was ready to launch his world crown campaign. As the turquoise waters of Lake Barcis glistened between the sunshine and showers they were faced with eighteen year old Ben Jelf remained cool and collected waiting for the start lights to go out. From pole position he knew his best line to the first turn and as the lights went out Ben and the chasing fleet powered away. Ben took an early lead and despite pressure from a familiar foe in the shape of Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast, Jelf was not going to yield his lead without an epic battle. Ben kept his cool and as the youngster began to celebrate his 18th birthday he decided to do it in style leading the second round of world championships from start to finish claiming himself his first World championship F4 gold medal. Reflecting on a busy weekend the birthday boy had this to say “I made a mistake yesterday, I took the turn too tightly and never gave myself enough room. It was a disappointing result for the team but I only had myself to blame so I was determined today to reward their hard work with a win.” He continued “it’s going to be a really close championship this year and I will be fighting for every inch of every race to try and claim that crown. I have the best team and sponsors behind me and I want to win to do them proud. However this win on my 18th birthday must be dedicated to my mum and dad especially on father’s day! But I’d also like to dedicate the win to my fantastic girlfriend Aimee who is currently very ill in hospital.” The next two rounds of the UIM F4 World Championship will be fought out in Rother Valley Country Park over the 1st & 2nd of September before the final event of the season in Macon, France on the 22nd & 23rd September.

Ben on the brink of World Championship Battle in Barcis

Ben heads to the opening rounds of the UIM F4 World Championship

  • 305d ago

Seven years ago this weekend Ben Jelf claimed his first World Championship crown on his birthday weekend as he battled for the 2011 GT15 World title. 7 years later on his 18th Birthday Ben will begin his F4 World Championship campaign as he heads to Barcis, Italy for the opening two rounds of the competition. Fresh from taking the lead at the opening round of the British Championship and numerous successful recent test sessions. Ben and the rest of Jelf Racing team are making the 1800 mile round journey to Barcis, a small mountain village built on the shores of Lake Barcis, located at the foothills of the Dolomiti mountain range ready for the battle ahead. Over a dozen teams representing 11 different nationalities will battle it out over the weekend in two separate rounds of racing. Each round of racing will consist of free practice qualifying sessions and then a Grand Prix race that will see the victor take the all-important championship top points. Ben will face a few familiar adversaries in the opening round and with a few new racers heading into the fleet the championship is wide open and anyone’s for the taking. Some of his fiercest competition will come in the form of 2017 European F4 Champion Frenchman Rudy Revert and another formidable force on the race course who will be applying the pressure will be Latvian Nikita Lijcs. Add into the mix the unknown quantities of the newcomers to the championship and Ben will need to bring his ‘A’ game in his fight to start his World championship campaign off on the right foot. The World Championship will consist of a total of six rounds fought to three individual venues, following Barcis the championship then heads to home soil for Ben as he races at Rother Valley Country Park in Sheffield at the beginning of the September followed by the final event at the end of the season in Macon, France. Looking ahead to the coming weekend Ben the 17 year old had this to say “I can’t wait to start this World championship campaign. The team especially Dad has put a lot of effort into helping get the boat set up and performing well and helping get the best out of the boat. My last couple of years have been about me perfecting techniques and handling and getting to know my competition. And whilst there’s some very strong competition entered this weekend I’d like to think I stand a fair chance at making the start I’d like to in this campaign.” He continued “Racing on my birthday weekend is always very special for me as I’ve watched my Dad, and Uncle race for as long as I can remember and I couldn’t wait until my 9th birthday so I could start racing myself, so it would be great to mark turning 18 with a win this weekend and think Dad would agree it would be the best Father’s day present I could give him for all his hard work and dedication to me and the team.”

George goes for World Gold in Germany

Jelf Racing head to Traben-Trarbach for the GT15 World Championships

  • 306d ago

Thirteen year old Powerboat Racer George Elmore (Chatham,Kent) this weekend (9/10 June) heads to Traben-Trarbach in Germany in a bid to become UIM GT15 World Champion. George who competes as part of the Jelf Racing will be one of three British Drivers to make the 700 mile round journey looking for glory in Germany. 2017 saw Elmore win his first British Championship when he won the Powerboat GP RYA British Sprint championship and finish a strong second in the 2017 British Championship series. George recently took an early lead in the 2018 British Championship putting in a dominant performance securing the Grand Prix win. George is likely to face strong opposition in his bid to become World Champion but with a strong team behind him and a youngster full of resolution and confidence Jelf Racing are determined to return home with a World medal. Some of his strongest competition make come from his fellow Brits Harvey Smith the reigning British Champion and formidable newcomer Jamie Atlee. George will be joined at the event by a strong and successful team including former GT15 World Champion Ben Jelf. The youngsters cousin will face his own competition in Germany as he competes in an international friendly F4 race ahead of the beginning of his World championship campaign the following week in Italy. Ben will be looking to gain value experience before the UIM F4 World Championship, but as Britain’s youngest ever World Powerboat Champion he will offer valuable guidance and support to his young cousins campaign. Another team mate offering his support and advise but looking to gain his own international experience is former P1 SuperStock World Champion Sam Coleman who in his first season in the F4 class will be looking to gain valuable international experience in Germany whilst supporting his team mates. Team Manager Colin Jelf had this to say about his nephews upcoming competition “George has been in really strong form recently. Over the last couple of years his racing has come on leaps and bounds, he learns with every race and takes on the information the team give him.” He continues “The boats performing really well and George is in one of the strongest positions of his junior racing career to take a World medal this weekend and the whole family team and our sponsors FibreTech UK are behind him 100% and hopefully we can make it a successful trip to Germany.”

Jelf Racing take the lead at Bedford Grand Prix

Powerboat GP Grand Prix 1 Race Report

  • 348d ago

The 19th & 20th May saw Kent based Powerboat Racing Jelf Racing head to Stewartby, Bedford for the opening round of the 2018 Powerboat GP RYA British Powerboat Racing Championship. With representatives in each of the five championship classes the team were raring to go and make their mark on the season. First in action for the team was junior racer George Elmore in the GT15 class. With recent test sessions proving successful George was raring to go hoping to head into the season on a high. Heading into qualifying George was ready for the challenge, choosing his lines round the course practising his turns he managed to secure the first pole position of the season with a blistering pace and a 3 ½ second lead on his closest rival Aidan Fleet. George got the best start to the season taking clean heat wins in the first two races despite pressure from Aidan the youngest Jelf Racer held his nerve. As heat 3 got underway George looked set to take 3 out of three wins as he made his way round the course but with a race stoppage caused by swans on the Racing line the race was to be rerun. Back on the starting grid and as the lights went out George’s engine failed to start first time and he was left on the dock as the fleet powered its way to the first turn. Reactions kicked in and George got away on the second attempt and started his way up the straight. With a 4 lap restart George had everything to do to make his way through the field. Lap by lap he passed his rival until on the final lap he was closing down on Aidan Fleet as Fleet took the chequered flag. With two wins and a second place George took the Grand Prix win and the championship lead. Next in action was T850 Driver Nigel Edwards with less than 4 seconds separating the fleet in qualifying the weekend and season were shaping up for some intense action. Nigel qualified 4th on the grid but undeterred he remained focussed on the task ahead. Mark Williams gave a master class in Racing taking clean heat wins in all three heats as Bill Owen tried his best to chase with down. With Nigel Edwards and Steve Cash pushing each other every inch of the course throughout each heat battling for the bronze medal. Despite piling on the pressure Nigel couldn’t quite catch Steve and was forced to settle for a strong 4th position in the Bedford Grand Prix. Next in action was Jelf Racing’s Ben Jelf who was back in force battling in the GT30 and F4 Classes. In the GT30 class he went head to head against former team mate Jono Brewer. Brewer had blistering pace but Ben was ready to capitalise on any error from him. With over a second quicker than Ben Brewer looked set for pole position but a minor infringement during technical inspection saw him relegated to the back of the grid and Ben was back on pole. From pole Ben knew exactly what he had to do to keep Brewer in his mirrors after. Two year gap from the sport Ben took clean lines to take the first win of the weekend. The second heat saw the two rivals head into the first turn together but in the lighter hull Jono had the jump on Ben and the former Euorpean champion was forced to sit in second meaning the final heat would go down to the wire. As the lights went out for the final heat Jono got the jump, once more on Ben but not giving in easily Ben chased down Brewer looking to put the youngster under pressure. With the pressure on him Brewer made the error Ben was waiting for as he missed a turn buoy and saw himself docked a lap. Jelf kept his head and continued to chase Brewer down to the chequered flag and the Bedford Grand Prix Title. It wasn’t long before Ben was back in action this time with the team’s newest member Sam Coleman as they competed against each other in the F4 class. Confidence was high for `Ben following a win at an international race in Germany and Jelf was focussed on keeping the momentum going into the British Championship. Recent test sessions for the newcomer Sam had gone well and the team waited in anticipation to see what the Welsh boy could do. Jelf once more took pole and with nearly 3 seconds in front of the chasing pack was confident in his set up and searching for his second Grand Prix of the weekend. Coleman used the practice session to find the best lines around the course watching his team mate and receiving advice from his radioman. He quickly got to grips with the course and throughout the weekend was soon making improvements and headway. Taking two fourths and a third Coleman saw himself with a respectable 4th overall in his first Grand Prix weekend. Ben Jelf took a clean sweep of a hat trick of first places to secure the F4 Bedford Grand Prix and see him take an early lead in the 2018 Powerboat GP RYA British Championship. Our final racer for the weekend was team manager Colin Jelf who following a incident during a training session for a new racer was in a borrowed hull from rival Steve Hoult took to the water with his fellow competitors determined despite reduced fleet that the mighty F2 Cats would roar and an exciting race would ensue for both competitors and spectators alike. Looking to retain his British championship title Jelf quickly got down to business in qualifying but with just 0.14 of a second separating the British champion from the former champion it was going to be an exciting battle as they headed into the first heat. There’s no better sound of a pride of F2 boats warming up their engines and despite the reduction in numbers spectators knew as they heard the roar they were in for an exciting spectacle. As the lights went out Jelf and Hoult powered away from the jetty with new racer Ian Blacker hot on their wake. All eyes were on the first turn as the two blue boats with matching livery headed into the turn spectators waited with baited breath to see who would make the first move. As the spray cleared Colin had taken the lead following with his precision and almost intimate knowledge of his home course he cruised round the 10 laps with ease taking the first chequered flag of the season. Heat 2 and an increase in pressure from Hoult and Blacker but Jelf once more powered away from the lights to the chequered flag taking another heat win and on his way to his first silverware of the season. Heat 3 saw a repeat performance and Jelf take another win and the first Grand Prix win of the campaign. Speaking about the team’s performance following the weekend Team Manager Colin Jelf had this to say; “What a great start to the season for the team and our sponsors, three podium golds and two fourths we couldn’t have asked for better. The team have all worked hard and every racer went into the weekend with the right attitude for the weekend and we’re all now excited to see what comes at the next round.” “The team would like to thank our sponsors FibreTech UK, Stewartby Powerboat and Hydroplane Club, the RYA Officials, safety teams and volunteers along with Powerboat GP for a great event and to all our team for their hard work and dedication to make sure every boat was on the water. We can’t wait for the next round in August, but first some of the team are heading abroad for international competitions.”