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Powerboat Racer Rose Lores talks to WSR

1. With your phobia of going under water, how did you question yourself to how you were going to get over it?


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It’s something I tried, and failed, many times to overcome. Although I wanted to lose the fear, there had been no strong reason why I absolutely had to, and I realised it was a totally irrational fear and one I could not overcome by rational means. By the time the powerboating opportunity came around I had already reached the conclusion that NLP was the only possibility. I don’t know what I would have done if it didn’t work – I needed to believe it would work otherwise I wouldn’t be able to race. That belief was probably a major factor in the success.

2. You must be a very determined lady to overcome such a fear, to most people it is something you don’t even think about. How long did it take you to accomplish and did you ever along the way think of turning back.

The determination was getting onto the race team at Honda and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of that. Overcoming my fear was just one obstacle I had to overcome – and when I turned to NLP it was easy. It took a few hours with a trained therapist to change my subconscious belief that I could not put my head in water!


3. Do your family support you in the quest to be involved in a very much male dominated sport?

My family consists of my two teenage children. My son is totally unimpressed – he thinks I’m going through some kind of mid-life crisis. But my daughter really admires me for following my dreams. She, like me feels that being female shouldn’t dictate what you do or don’t do – we’re both the kind of people to ignore the boundaries and just go for it.


4. What reception do you receive from the men in your sport?

They’re all really great. They probably didn’t take me too seriously to start with, but they’ve seen my skills grow and seem to have a great deal of respect and admiration for me. They do laugh at me when I struggle with manoeuvring the trailer, or trying to fix something, but then I just turn on the charm and get them to help!


5. Would you recommend other women trying powerboat racing?

Absolutely! We already have a number of female navigators in the series and there are other female drivers in other race classes such as Shelley Jory and Jackie Hunt. You don’t need male muscles to race a boat – just a lot of bottle!

6. What do you think caught your eye in the summer of 2005 to throw yourself into something that you partly had such a fear of?

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I’ve always loved being on the water – just not in it! When I watched the racing in Plymouth that year, I got to meet Shelley Jory and Libby Kier who were racing in the 225 class, and Stella Charman who navigated her husband to victory in the 150 class the year before. I figured if they could do it, then why couldn’t I – but as a driver rather than a navigator. I’ve always been a bit of a petrol head and love driving anything apart from motorbikes which I’ve never got to grips with (next challenge maybe?). I’m motivated by challenge and once I decide to do something there’s no stopping me!


7. What is your training schedule?


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Basically, it’s about getting out on the water as often as possible in all sorts of conditions. Even getting involved in Corporate or Charity days is valuable in terms of more and more experience handling the boat.

The best training sessions I find are the ones with trainer Neil Holmes. We start by discussing techniques and concerns. Then he will come out in the boat with me and put me through my paces on race lines and boat handling. Or we’ll do pursuit training with my navigator and me together in the boat being chased around a training course by Neil in a very fast RIB. He puts us into real race situations where we have to use all our tactical skills.

Without Neil, we practice mostly around his favoured training course (four buoys on Southampton water) with each turn at a different angle. We go round and round at full pelt perfecting our lines and trying to improve our times – whilst also being careful to avoid other boats which can get quite interesting!

8. Take us through a typical day when you’re out on the boat?

Up early and I try to eat a decent breakfast to keep me going all day. I load up the car with all the kit – prop, VHF radio, lifejackets, helmets, tools, etc plus some spare clothes and a towel (just in case!) and a snack for later. It’s about an hours drive from where I live to Southampton where I keep the boat. I’ll meet up with Andy, my navigator, down there and we’ll fill the boat up with fuel (BP Ultimate every time), load in the kit, fit the prop and then crane the boat into the water. We have a long slow run up the River Itchen to Southampton Water – with a speed limit of 6knots (that’s about 8mph) it takes a good twenty minutes so plenty of time to discuss what we’re going to do.

When we get up to Southampton Water we might go for a quick blast down the Water and back again – top speed in both directions to see how the boat’s performing. The boat is capable of up to 55mph depending on conditions which is very fast on water and can be pretty bumpy if the sea isn’t really calm. In Southampton Water we have to watch out for big washes from ferries and other ships which can make things interesting – we ‘don’t back off’ but embrace every wash as another opportunity to hone our skills, which include reading the water so we are ready for whatever comes our way. We have a waterproof communications system built into our helmets so no matter how fast we go or how the wind howls past us, we can carry on chatting!

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We will then head back to our training area at the top of Southampton Water and use a stopwatch to time circuits around the course. If there is too much going on in that area we have to get inventive and work out an alternative course. Once we’re on the course, Andy switches to navigator mode and I pushes me round and round the course, foot to the floor (the boat has a foot throttle just like a car), guiding me around other traffic and on the correct lines to get round the turns with minimal loss of speed. In a race Andy has to watch for all the boats around us and guide me tactically to keep ahead of them and on the fastest line whilst ensuring we avoid any contact with other boats and try to get past anyone ahead just by taking a better line. I have my eyes fixed on the water ahead of me and have no concept of what is beside me or behind me other than what Andy tells me. Nothing on Southampton Water can quite prepare us for that – there’s nobody hot on our tail or alongside fighting us to gain the next turn, but the boats that are around us are heading in all different directions and at different speeds introducing a different set of problems altogether.

We’ll stop every so often to check our times and discuss our performance and areas we need to work on. We have to remember to check fuel too – we have a big tank, but at full pelt it will only last around 2 hours so we have to be careful not to get too carried away!

Coming up to a race weekend, I’ll tow the boat back to my home in Addlestone (another skill I’ve had to learn!) where my team of mechanics will help me prepare it for racing. Everything gets checked, oils get changed, repairs and maintenance carried out, paintwork and livery touched up, and finally the boat is polished until it gleams. As much time seems to be needed working on the boat as is spent out on the water in it – but that’s racing!


9. Selling your house to fund your passion is a brave thing to do, one hopefully that payed off and you don’t regret doing?

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No regrets at all. I do still have a nice house – just a bit smaller and more manageable than the previous one (just as well since I don’t have much time for housework and gardening!)

10. Do your children enjoy the water with you?

Sadly not. My son Matt is not interested, and my daughter Clare gets seasick!

11. Do the men see you as a real threat and how do they take it when you beat them?

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I didn’t have such a great season last year, but after winning 3 times the year before I think I’m seen as someone to watch out for. I’m definitely out to beat them this year – their egos won’t like it much, but they’ll be fine. Everyone in our series is really friendly and always ready to congratulate anyone who does well. I think some men can feel quite threatened by competitive woman but the men who race are not easily intimidated!

12. What are your goals for the future in regards to powerboat racing?

For the moment I’m just focussed on this season. I am so determined to come out on top this year, and from there – well..Watch this space.


13. If other girls/women are interested in the sport, where do they find out the right information?

The Honda Formula Four Stroke series is a great place to start – visit www.f4sa.co.uk for more information. Also visit www.rya.org.uk for info on training and a wide range of race classes including youth racing.


14. If there were two points that you would give people that were interested in Powerboating, what would they be?

Be prepared for it to take over you life! And be prepared for a lot of hard work and expense along the way!


Rose Lores’ success is fuelled by BP Ultimate. For more detail on BP Ultimate’s range of advanced performance fuels, go to: www.bpultimate.co.uk.

 

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