Uckfield teenager Samantha Clark finished sixth in the Junior Girls category in the World Water Ski Racing Championships held in Tenerife.
Samantha’s father Gary said this was better than could have been hoped for because the 15-year-old was competing against very strong teams, especially from Australia and Belgium.
Samantha attends Uckfield Community Technology College and lives in Hunters Way. Her mother Julie also skied for Britain many times in the 1990s.
Here’s a breakdown of her performance:
After a very poor start in rough conditions, Sam had a good race with the Spanish Champion Angela Montanez. Finally passing her to finish seventh at the end of the 30 minute plus one lap race.
Two days later and again in 30 plus degree heat Sam had her second race. Water conditions were also very similar but this time Sam finished one place higher in sixth. place and scored slightly higher points after her GB teammate 17-year-old Marissa Alongi from Musselborough in Scotland fell in the tricky conditions.
With the high cost of shipping to the Canaries most of the boats and crews were being used in multiple races and by the third race some teams were starting to show signs of fatigue. Sam was able to pick up another place finishing fifth. and again improve her points when Belgian Champion Demi Maeckelberg fell. Sadly Marissa was unable to finish the race and would take no further part in the championships when she fell heavily badly injuring her knee. This was the third major injury to a British Team member underlining the dangers of this high speed sport. Reserves are not allowed in the Junior category and so Sam, now fifth overall, would ski without a teammate in the final race.
After a two day break Sam skied well in the last race. Finishing sixth on the day and giving her the same overall ranking in the World standings.
The weeks racing was not without its problems but Sam and her family team of driver/father Gary Clark and observer/uncle Robert Waite raced tactically, scoring good points in every round. Twelve of the seventeen boats in Sam’s races were the more powerful, faster and heavier Formula 1 boats, these give a much better wake and are to be banned from the Juniors races at the next World Championships tipped to be in New Zealand. This should ensure better competition should Sam manage to qualify for the British Team next time.