The tubs were going at almost a record pace at this year’s Great Race.
Nanaimo’s Nathan Barlow posted the second-fastest winning time in history at the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday afternoon.
Barlow reached the finish-line bell in one hour, 11 minutes, 54 seconds to win the race for a second time.
“It was one of the best races I’ve ever run. It just went flawless for me,” he said.
Barlow and runner-up Shawn Lamoureux were close the entire race. The two super-modified tubs were side-by-side leaving Nanaimo harbour and traded the lead twice.
“It was perfect conditions for Shawn and me,” Barlow said. “Anytime there’s been a race – whether it be a circuit race or the big race – when conditions are like this, that’s when Shawn and I just run away from everyone. That’s what we did today.”
The two finished one minute, 32 seconds apart and reached the beach more than 12 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Lamoureux said his tub ran better in the rougher waters, but Barlow’s was better in calmer seas.
Lamoureux, also a two-time champion, knew during the race that the finish times would be fast.
“I was wide open the whole way…” he said. “I was going after the win more than the record, but I knew it was a quick run.”
Barlow said he had a feeling that his time would be a few minutes slower than Chris Glenn’s all-time record of 1:09:20.
“If it’s anything more than this ripple on the bay,” Barlow said, gesturing at the waters off Departure Bay Beach, “That’s what it took to set the record and that’s what it’ll take to break it.”
Thirty of the forty tubbers who started the race managed to reach the finish line thanks to the relatively calm seas, but certainly the Great Race is never easy.
“You still have to hang on and you still have to focus,” said Marian Stewart, first lady to finish.
Surrey’s David McHardy won the modified class in 1:25:49 while Nanaimo’s Cooper Rey was the stock winner in 1:30:43. Stewart reached the beach in 1:32:49. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Martin was youngest tubber to finish in 2:25:36.