There will be new blood in the Hydroplane Racing League next season and driver changes will make the HRL circuit more competitive than ever in 2018.
A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Ryan Slate, for example, has succumbed to the attraction of driving a boat on racecourses after excelling in another discipline on the water. This teacher from the Limestone District School Board purchased the 2.5-liter “S-316” hydroplane that Jim Benson rented to the Tremblay family last summer.
A member of the Canadian Rowing Team at the turn of the millennium, the 40-year-old Ontarian has been thinking for several years about making the leap into the motorboat-racing scene. Last summer, Ryan Slate met Bert Henderson at the Brockville Regatta and then at Gananoque at the end of the season. On January 19, the former Canadian Armed Forces soldier took possession of the boat purchased from Jim Benson and the next day he went to Salaberry-de-Valleyfield to put in his van an engine acquired from Campivallensian Guillaume Charette. .
“I always wanted to own a hydroplane. I find that there are a lot of similarities with rowing, even if the speeds are far from the same. The attention to detail, preparation and “set up” of a boat are comparable in both sports. As in rowing, I want to study this discipline and Bert Henderson will be my mentor, “Ryan Slate told the” Journal Saint-François “during a telephone conversation.
The interest in hydroplane racing came when his father bought Peter Duff’s flat-bottomed boat in the ’90s, but did not race it. “The timing was not good in the following years and it’s not really good now because I have young children, but I could not help but give it a try”, said the father of two daughters, Madelyn, 6, and Anna, 5 years old.
The boat that will become the “Lone Ranger” S-49 was delivered by Jim Benson. The latter rented the “S-316” to the Tremblay family last season. (Photo taken from Facebook)
Ryan Slate is a competitor at heart and he believes that his rowing career will be a springboard for his start in hydroplane racing. Having won gold for Canada at the 2002 World University Championships and World Championships, both singles and 8, he also finished 4th at the 2005 World Championships in Japan in a 4-man boat. His strength being the solo events, Ryan christened his boat “The Lone Ranger” and he selected the “S-49” as number.
A student at the Royal Military College in Kingston he teaches law and physical education at the same educational institution. And now he will surely want to make an impression in the fastest sport on the water.
In order to spark discussion on social media, Ryan Slate has created a new Facebook page, RS Watersports. The independent owner will have the support of his family, his main sponsor being Slate Marine Construction owned by his cousin Tyler while Ryan’s brother, Adam, his sister, Alanna de Haan and his nephew, TJ, will be part of the family team whose crew chief will be Alex MacLellan.