Need for speed sees Jerome make record-breaking return

Simon Matthews and Martin Jerome
Simon Matthews and Martin Jerome
Ben Close's delight at Pompey pair's stay

Midfielder joy as Close Pompey pals stay

  • Southsea-based Team 26 set new speed mark on Coniston Water
  • Jory-Leigh makes triumphant return to the driving seat
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Martin Jerome put a ‘tough season’ behind him with another speed record.

Co-pilot Jerome and pilot Simon Matthews clocked more than 50mph in their P750 Thundercat during the 45th annual Coniston Speed Records Week.

The Southsea-based duo then increased that mark to 54.62mph – a world’s best – as they narrowly avoided flipping their Team 26 boat.

And for Jerome, it was a memorable return to action following injury.

He suffered a broken tibia, fibula and dislocated ankle earlier in the campaign and was cleared to race in the Lake District just days before the season-ending event.

‘You need to race on the edge, right on the line between in control and out of control,’ he said.

‘It’s the only way to go at Coniston.

‘It has been a tough season for both Simon and myself.

‘Our stand in co-pilot, Phil Adams, from Portsmouth, did an amazing job for the team, while I was recovering.’

Team 26 finished fifth in the UIM P750 Stock class at the World Championships in Malta.

With a best finish across the event of third, they battled teams from all over the world in a mixture of surf, circuit and long-haul events.

Matthews said: ‘Without the support of Portsmouth businesses Fry & Kent and P&I Generators we would not have been able to represent our country.

‘It was a dream come true to race against the best teams from around the world and show we have what it takes to perform on a world level.’

Ashley Benfield, spokesman for P&I Generators, added: ‘Portsmouth has had a great summer of water-based events, including a round of the Thundercat P750 National Championship, and of course the America’s Cup. ‘We have such amazing home-grown talent here in the UK and especially here in Portsmouth.

‘We want to support this talent wherever possible.’

Jerome and Matthews 
will now focus on winter training ahead of the 2016 Thundercat P750 National Championship which begins in the spring.

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Meanwhile, Sarisbury-based powerboat star Shelley Jory-Leigh grabbed a record of her own on Coniston Water.

In her Vector Martini marathon powerboat, she clocked 114.6mph to demolish the previous best of 107.94mph set in 2011.

Jory-Leigh, who was forced to virtually retire from the sport following a crash in 2010, also carried off the Lady of the Lake title and a K7 Gold Star.

The Hampshire race, who teamed up with powerboater Peter Dredge for the record, said: ‘I was pretty apprehensive about driving at high speed again.

‘While I have been back in boats I have not driven at theses speeds and I really wanted to prove to myself I could do it again.

‘When the call came asking me to join the Vector Martini team there was a lot I had to do in a short time to prepare, including one of my dreaded “dunk tests” to prove I can still escape from a canopied boat.

‘I also had to have a medical to get my international licence back.

‘I am glad I made the effort and would like to thank Peter and the team for giving me the chance and Andy at Andark diving for dunking me.

‘I feel I have really put the crash behind me now.’