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Hay River helps power jet boat team to world title

The Hay River team holds up their first place World Jet Boat Championship trophies. Photo: 2019 World Jet Boat Championship.
The Hay River team hold up their first place World Jet Boat Championship trophies. Photo: 2019 World Jet Boat Championship

A team with Hay River roots placed first in its class at the 2019 World Jet Boat Championship, beating out three other teams in a 160-km/h (100-mph) race.

Derek Mundy, the team’s navigator, was joined by behind-the-scenes mechanics Clayton Jameson, Bryce Maher, and Alex McMeekin. Their driver was Tanner Froehlich, who now lives in Edmonton.

The team met up in Alberta on July 6 to spend a week testing their boat and navigating the rivers before the races started.

Mundy said racing started in Whitecourt, Alberta, on July 12, then moved across the province – including Peace River and Grande Prairie – before finishing near Fort St John, British Columbia.



“It’s awesome. You’ll never meet another bunch of guys so dedicated to helping everybody else out,” he told Cabin Radio. “It’s all about keeping everyone running.”

There are five classes in the championship. Mundy’s team was racing in the lowest class, the FX class, using a 350 Chevy motor.

The Unlimited class uses helicopter engines and hits speeds of 250 km/h (155 mph). This year, a boat in this class from New Zealand caught fire on the river.

Over eight days, 40 teams raced 12 legs of 48 to 105 km each. The team with the best total time in each class won.



Mundy said the team only got their new motor on the boat a week before the race started, so they are feeling “very good” about their win at their first world championship.

He said the team was inspired by Spencer King, also of Hay River.

“[He’s] kind-of the godfather of jet boat racing. He’s won the most consecutive titles out of anybody,” said Mundy.

The team may take part in the Canadian circuit next year, but not the next world championship – which rotates between Canada, United States, New Zealand, and Mexico.

A new motor is on order so the team can compete in the CX class, which provides “an extra hundred horsepower” and the ability to hit speeds of 177 km/h (110 mph).