22 year old Becky Catchpole from Lowestoft has grown up with Circuit Racing. She has written about her experiences in the sport for Powerboat Racing World.
I don’t remember a moment of my life where Powerboat Racing hasn’t been a part of it.
My father, Mark Catchpole has always spectated and filmed the racing when not pit crewing for various teams over the years and I’ve been determined to follow in his footsteps (or do one better).
I remember sitting in Brian Shulver and Jerry Peachment’s F2 boats and being completely hooked.
Not only have I helped out on the organising side, I’ve also been doing drawings of raceboats, (left) this started to give me a place in the racing community with my local club of Oulton Broad and abroad with people from Norway, Sweden and Germany requesting pictures.
I have also pit crewed for my friend Craig Jude in juniors before becoming a part of James Bowman’s OSY400 team, this was the moment I really found my niche, travelling around the country on the National circuit, helping with the boats however I could – Even polishing the gearbox gave me a buzz!
We became British national champions and I felt so much pride in what we as a team achieved and knowing that whatever small part I played was appreciated and helped contribute to our achievements.
With this I knew that no matter what I wanted to help out with Powerboat Racing in whatever way I possibly could which leads me to what I’m doing today.
Most ‘normal’ people would think that dry land is the place to be, however as I’ve proven on many occasions, I am happiest when I am waist deep in the water helping to launch and recover the boats!
Even before I was given a pair of waders, I would run into the slipway after an accident to try and help get the boat out in one piece. I then decided I could also help get the boats off and on the trailers to make life easier for all the teams.
I am now named ‘Wader Girl / Water Nymph‘!
I was asked to help launch the boats at the UIM European Event at Stewartby lake in September this year, I was so excited and mildly nervous because of how big an event it was.
After almost 7 hours in the water each day, a lot of laughs and unfortunately a few crashes, I had the best weekend.
The thanks and praise everybody had shown me for doing a small job that I voluntarily chose to do because I love the sport was overwhelming.
The racing to me isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.
I’ve learnt that I can be myself at race meetings, feel like I have a place, surrounded by the best people who enjoy the sport as much as I do.
The racing community is my family; stemming from my local club, and now across the world, as my dad always says, ‘boat racers are the nicest people you could ever meet’, and it’s true.
The kindness I’ve been shown over the years is unbelievable and I can’t thank everyone enough.
I hope to continue helping out for many years to come – and perhaps one day maybe even get in a boat myself!