Duo set national water speed record

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Joe Hancott in action for Pompey Reserves against Southend. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Portsmouth’s Simon Matthews and Martin Jerome have broken a national water speed record after clocking a time of 43.6mph in the Zapcat ZCR 50 series at Coniston Speed Week earlier this month.

The pair beat the previous record of 42.8mph – set by Darren Hook in 2006 – on their 50 brake horsepower racing boat, which has a combined crew weight of under 168.3 kilo grams.

It was a feat made all the more impressible by the fact that Matthews and Jerome broke the record on their first attempt in the Lake District.

The duo are now preparing for a new challenge.

‘We are going into racing next year so this was the start of next season for us,’ said Matthews.

‘We will be racing against other boats in the Zapcat ZCR 50 category and then we will try and defend and break the speed record at the end of the season.’

The event, which has been running since 1970, attracts thrillseekers from all over the country who are looking to break and set new speed records over a kilometre stretch of the famous water.

It brings together all categories of boats, from hydroplanes to the largest offshore racing boats, for the final event of the season.

The national event has eight races based all over the UK, from St. Ives to Liverpool and up to Newcastle.

‘We will be looking to win races and the overall competition but we will see how we get on at first,’ said Matthews.

‘Starting the beginning of our career together as record holders should keep the opposition thinking over the winter training sessions!’

Even though racing is a new challenge, Matthews has a clear understanding of what is ahead.

‘I have been involved in racing as part of the safety team, before deciding to 
have a go at racing myself,’ he said.

‘It is a dangerous sport because the boats can flip over, but being part of the safety team has made me want to give it a go.’

In preparation for next season, Matthews has ordered a new boat from South Africa and is looking to secure further sponsorship.

He said: ‘We are also in the process of getting more sponsorship to help cover the cost of the boat and the new engine.’