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Stampede quiet favourite in the 120mph B class
Brothers Lee and Jason Pollonais will team up among a field of giants when the Carib Great Race takes off on August 23. Joined by navigator Grant Chew, they will board the 42” Fountain Stampede against two-time champion Fire One (41”) for honours in the 120 mph B Class while simultaneously keeping an eye on the bigger guns of the 130 mph A Class, Monster (46”), Mr Solo (41”) and Paramount (50”).
According to driver Lee, his synergy with his throttleman brother had been honed through years of racing side by side since childhood.
“We grew up on the water down-the-islands and can anticipate each other really well,” he said “We just know what we’re going to do. Adding to that Grant’s knowledge of the boat and his ability to fix issues along the way, we’re a very strong team.”
After winning its class on debut in 2011, Stampede did not finish in either 2012 or 2013. Pollonais admitted that they had perhaps been too ambitious during last year’s campaign.
“The water was terrible,” he remembered. “We were gaining on the big guns but had to pull out when a pump failed on us. We were pushing too hard to catch them.”
Having ironed out the boat’s plumbing issues, he said, their approach would be different this time around.
“I think we’re ready more so than the last couple of years… We want to have a better game plan this year. Our goal is to race our class with the main competitor being Fire One… They’re a fantastic team and everybody has a chance. It’s just a matter of who’s willing to take it. Once our equipment holds together we should do well but it’s hard to call since it can really go either way.”
Pollonais said that while the weeks leading up to the event could be a source of anxiety, it would dissolve into pure bliss once the race began.
“The anticipation can be nerve-racking but once the flag drops the butterflies are gone. It’s just the sheer thrill of the big show. The feeling when you cross that line is hard to beat. In 2011, we never even got off boat to collect our prize. Just crossing the line was enough.”
Carib Great Race 2014 Contenders
A Class (130 mph)
Monster, Mr Solo, Paramount
B Class (120 mph)
Fire One, Stampede
C Class (110 mph)
D Class (95 mph)
Sheriff Lobo, Rush, Chris Gone Wilder
E Class (80 mph)
Hero III, White Heat, Elixir, Energiza
F Class (70 mph)
Rite Formulal, Energiza, Extreme Measures, Cynisca
G Class (60 mph)
Matrix Reloaded, Chris Gone Wild, Infusion IV, Wethead, Outcast