After last-minute mechanical problems forced potential 2020 Great Race debutants Knot in Slow Motion (KISM) Racing Team out of their first-ever official inter-island race, the three-man team defied odds and sped to a second place finish at the TT Powerboat Association’s (TTPBA) first official regatta one week ago.
KISM comprises of Reynaldo Motilal (driver), Kern Cobles (throttleman) and Ellison Garraway (navigator). The speedboat competes in the 60 miles per hour category.
On February 10, the TTPBA’s opening regatta also served as KISM’s debut as a team on the local competitive circuit.
According to fraternity rules, KISM had to undergo a ‘rookie start’ – beginning the race 100 feet behind the other competitors – since the driver and throttleman never competed together before.
Since the discovery of engine issues one day prior to last year’s Great Race forced them out of contention, KISM scrambled to prepare for first leg of the 2021 national championship regatta.
Their original engine was not yet repaired but the persistent team was able to source a smaller, less powerful engine, in December, for the February 10 event. Already at a competitive disadvantage, KISM burnt the midnight oil trying to ensure the engine remained in top shape ahead of their debut regatta.
After placing a surprising second, the first-time entrants were soon dubbed ‘the little engine that could’.
“After the disappointment at Great Race, we didn’t get a chance to rebuild the engine, which we’re presently working on. Even when we put in the engine we didn’t get the performance we wanted.
“The whole team was pumping hard to get any additional mileage out of the engine. We entered the race knowing that we didn’t have the power to run up there with the ‘big boys’. But the team tried everything to facilitate and better the situation,” said Motilal.
Among the 60 mph boats Infusion IV, with Anthony Scott and Vedish Beecham, took top spot on the day. KISM was trailed by third placed Timeless, owned and throttled by Gilson Smith, and fourth finisher Devil’s Advocate.
The two circuit and two sprint routes at the first regatta were a bit unfamiliar but the debut team adapted nicely to their environment.
Motilal, however, said that their team’s success would not have been possible if it weren’t for the support of the TTPBA racing committee, fellow competitors and other ‘down-d-islands’ boatmen, who played crucial roles in ensuring KISM could participate.
“I was grateful for the TTPBA and boating community because a lot of people came up last minute to help when they realised I was in trouble. I had to run a smaller propeller that I didn’t have. A competitor lent me the prop and he ended up finishing fourth overall.
“Getting into speedboat racing is difficult and it comes with its challenges. But once you get to know everyone (in the fraternity) it really a good bunch of people. Where do you go and competitors lend rivals equipment that may better their performance,” he added.
Looking ahead, the KISM team is still working on repairing their original engine before the national championships second leg speeds off on March 14. The remaining regattas for this competition jump off on April 18, May 23, June 13 and July 4. The season climaxes with the annual Great Race on August 21, with the parade of boats one week prior.
For their heroics on the water, KISM thanked their sponsors Onboard Freight and Logistics, Seaboard Trinidad, Hott 93, Toppers Restaurant, Trinidad Freight Solutions, TOPS Office Supplies, Rhum Runners, Bunny’s Imports and Liquid Adrenaline.
They also credited 70mph class speedboat Xtreme Measures who helps the team source equipment and mechanical parts for their vessel.
Motilal concluded, “Not being able to participate in Great Race was like a spirit blow. I recently opened by business in August and cash-in-hand was a bit tough to come by for repairs.
“For this regatta, it was my first time racing. I just wanted to get the experience to learn how a mill works, the flags and just to get that racing experience. When I get my bigger engine these things would already be out of the way and it would be all about racing.
“Now more than ever we understand that the race is not for the swift but for those who can endure it.”