Drinkstone power-boater ready to compete

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A Bury St Edmunds man is set to take to the water this week to race in his twin brother’s memory.

Power-boater Michael Toleman, from Drinkstone, is expected to clock speeds of more than 100 miles-an-hour when he joins the 19-race series at Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club.

Fourteen years after his brother Gary’s death, Toleman said: “I feel it is time to put the ghosts to bed and to race again.

“I will be competing in my twin brother’s memory and I feel that racing in-shore will bring me closer to him.

“We spent a lot of time racing together and built up such a strong bond in that time.

“This season will be a learning curve for me, but next year I want to show that I have the skills to be successful and win it for Gary.

“I’m apprehensive, of course I am, and those who say that they don’t have any nerves are the ones who normally end up having accidents.

“Peter Mantripp, the commodore at Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Club, is looking forward to me competing.”

His brother Gary was tragically killed in South Africa and the pair of them used to race in off-shore competitions.

They were the first winners of the Guernsey Gold Cup, National British Champions and hold the record of one hour and one minute for travelling around the Isle of Man.

In 1984, Michael and Gary were third in the Round-Britain race.

“I’ve done a lot of off-shore racing in the past but this is completely different. You are almost sitting at the front of the boat,” said Toleman.

“The main difference between racing off-shore and in-shore is the size of the boat.

“An off-shore boat is 34-foot long, while an in-shore boat is just 18-foot, a lot lighter and has a two-litre engine.

“I’ve tested at speeds of more than 100 miles-an-hour and if I was to race this boat on the sea it would be destroyed.

The family’s name is steeped in sporting history.

Michael and Gary’s dad, Ted, introduced Ayrton Senna to Formula One when racing under the banner of Toleman Motorsport during the early 1980s, as well as a failed attempt to cross the Atlantic with Richard Branson.

Never shy of a sporting challenge, the family have also been involved in Le Mans, rallying, banger racing and bobsleighing.

Toleman’s power-boating dream is being sponsored by Thetford and Ipswich-based Go Tankers, as well as Coastline Graphics from Bury St Edmunds.