Powerboat star Jelf is making waves!

Powerboat star Jelf is making waves!

Ben Jelf saw his racing dreams come true with a seventh place finish in the F1H2O World Championship for the F1 Atlantic team.

Maidstone’s Jelf jumped at the chance to compete and follow in the footsteps of legendary British powerboat racers at the Sharjah Grand Prix and the Middle East Grand Prix in the United Arab Emirates.

Maidstone racer Ben Jelf made a strong impression at the Middle East Grand Prix

The 22-year-old joined Portugal’s Duarte Benavente as the team’s second runner as they aimed to end the season on a high.

As the boats lined up for the first race of the Grand Prix, Jelf was 10th and got off to a flying start.

He backed off after a meeting with an inside boat, however, to meet the team’s target and finish his first F1 race safely.

He lost power steering on lap 18, securing a 14th place finish despite losing a propeller blade in the race as well.

The team realized they still had a lot of work to do ahead of the Middle East Grand Prix and quickly got back to work.

Starting 14th, Jelf quickly took charge of the boat and the conditions. And in a race that saw the three championship leaders push their boats to the limit – with two falling out and the other forced to retire – Jelf took the checkered flag in seventh, putting up some all-important championship points on the table.

Ben Jelf alongside his F1 teammate Atlantic Duarte Benavente
Ben Jelf alongside his F1 teammate Atlantic Duarte Benavente

Jelf said: “There are so many people to thank. I’m afraid of forgetting someone!

“To have this opportunity was absolutely fantastic and I can’t believe I made it and securing a top 10 finish is beyond expectation.

“I have to thank the F1 Atlantic team and Duarte for giving me this opportunity, but also my crew and my team for all their hard work and confidence in me to get me on the water.

“The biggest thank you to mom and dad for their unwavering support and for helping me achieve my dreams!

“Also, I have received a lot of support and messages from all over the world and it really means the world to me! We now turn our attention to the 2023 season.”

Team manager Colin Jelf – Ben’s father – said: “We are all immensely proud of him and for him to finish seventh in his first event we couldn’t have asked for more.

“He’s learning something every race and pushing himself to be the best he can be, so we’ll see what comes next.”

Jelf will travel with the F1 Atlantic team to Indonesia in February for the opening round of the 2023 F1H2O World Championships before the start of the British F2 and World Championship seasons.

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