Jetboat racing has always been a part of my life since I was a kid. My dad has a lot of boats and has always been in the business of selling boats. He had a conversation trust with several boating construction companies, and his job was to help test and sell the boats that are being produced. He taught me everything I knew about piloting boats and many times we would test the boats that he wished to sell. Of all the boats he sold, the jet boat was my favorite.
I loved the way the boat moves very fast on the water, and I always got a thrill from it. It took me several tries before I finally mastered the piloting of the boat.
I became so good at it that I also joined several races and won many of them. Some organizers always organized a boat race through a special channel that was created for the purpose.
The most outstanding race organized there was the Davis Jetboat Racing. There were ten contestants, but only the first three winners were recognized. The overall winner was given a jet boat for free and an additional cash prize of two million dollars. The second position won just a cash prize of five hundred thousand dollars, and the third position got just a hundred thousand dollars.
I had been the third position on some occasions and second position more than I could count but I had never been first. All the people who took the first position instead of me never even got to the first five positions in later races. The race was organized yearly, and in all the five years that I had participated in the game, I was always in the second position.
I was not after the first position for the money or the boat that was given a gift; I already had enough money from working with my dad. Instead, I wanted the prestige that came with being the first position. I never wanted to settle for the second position. Many people, especially the media people were so sure that I would never win the first position in this lifetime. I was not sure if they were trying to challenge to do my best or they were so certain that I would never win.
My dad and fiancée were always encouraging me and telling me never to give up. However, I had determined that this race would be the last I would partake in, no matter the final position I got. This was why I was dead set in making sure that I took the first position and bowed out of the race in a blaze of glory.
On the day of the race, my dad and girlfriend followed me to the venue of the race. People cheered when they saw me, and I tried my best to wave at them. A nosy reporter walked up to me and asked, “Hey, Matt, since this would be your last race, are you sure you would like to settle for the second position for the sixth time?”
“And who says I would be in the second position?” I asked her.
“Oh, are you saying that you are not even sure of being in the second position?” the reporter asked.
“Just watch the race,” I said.
I walked to the point where the other contestants were waiting and greeted all of them by names. Except for one new guy, the rest of them had contested with me at one time of the other. Five of them had been the first position once.
We all dressed and hot to our assigned jetboats. We climbed atop them and waited as the moderator prepared to send us on our way. Behind us, a large crowd cheered and clapped and hailed our names. I heard my name being called several times.
The racecourse was specially designed, and everyone had lanes. The lanes for each racer were wide enough to contain a large ferry. At the end of the lanes was a long finish line that the winner had to pass through. Each lane also had different corners, and if a racer is not too careful, he or she will collide with the walls of the lane. Of course, we all had on protective attires, but the collision could take the participant out of the game, especially if the jetboat got damaged.
“Ready?” the moderator shouted.
I held the controls of my jet boat and readied it. Then when I heard the sound of a gunshot, I sped away; so did the other participants. The noise of the crowd reached a crescendo as they screamed and cheered. The noise covered those of the loud jetboats.
On the other lanes, I could see opponents already in the lead, speeding away. I speeded too. Usually, speedboats were supposed to contain a driver and a navigator, but these boats were built for only one driver. It was not much different from car racing. The difference was that this was done on water.
I raced done the channel and maneuvered my jetboat through the dangerous corners on the lanes. The corners appeared out of nowhere and thanks to my skill, I was able to swerve with quick precision and navigate the waters easily.
I had now reached a speed where only two opponents were leading me. If I didn’t double up, I might end up being in the third position. I sped up and dodged more corners. Before the beginning of the race, we had been informed of the number of corners we should expect on the channels.
However, I wasn’t counting. The only thing on my mind was dodging the corners and moving towards my goal of being in the first position. I soon got in the same position as the racer in the second position. The guy in the first position was not too far away from us.
We got to another curve, and I expertly maneuvered the boat so that by the time the channel became straight, I was already in the second position. I chased after the guy in the first position and I could the finishing line a few meters away and only one more corner to navigate.
I sped up, and when I got to the corner, I realized that it was different from all the other corners I had passed through. With great speed and concentration, I managed to navigate and move past the corner. My opponent was not so lucky as his boat collided with the walls of the channel.
And that was how I finally took the first position. It was really an unforgettable day.