Bathtub racer Brandon Leigh is first to reach the beach at Maffeo Sutton Park at Sunday’s Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

VIDEO: Harris Auto Group bathtub wins Nanaimo’s great race

Brandon Leigh won Nanaimo’s Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday

The outcome at this year’s great race couldn’t have been more appropriate.

Brandon Leigh, skipper of the Harris Auto Group tub, won the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday, the day after a celebration of the life of Tom Harris.

“It means a lot, especially with Tom passing away and us being the Harris Auto Group tubbing team and my family being close to theirs,” Leigh said.

Leigh is a past winner of the great race, so he knew he could win, and he allowed himself to envision that sort of outcome.

“I was thinking about it the whole time…” said Leigh. “I told Tom’s son Tony yesterday at the ceremony for Tom that I was going to win and he said, ‘Yeah, you’d better.’”

The race became a battle of wills and endurance as the rough waters sunk most of the tubs early on.

“Coming around Entrance [Island], it literally looked like a wall of water,” said Leigh. “Every time you went into the swell you couldn’t see the mountains in the distance; it was totally blocked out … I’d say probably about 15-20 times during the race I thought I was toast.”

He was behind Nathan Barlow on the way out to Maude Island, but passed the former multiple-time champ and knew he was in the top three. At a Nanoose Bay checkpoint, Leigh got the signal he was leading, and was able to bring it home, finishing at Maffeo Sutton Park with an unofficial time of two hours, 24 minutes, six seconds in the super-modified division.

Shawn Nadeau was the winner of the stock class and runner-up overall with a time of 2:42:36.

Tyler Lucente finished third and Kyle Boyd was fourth. Both were after the three-hour planned cutoff time, but organizers decided to allow the results to stand.

Bill McGuire, commodore of the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, called this year’s race an epic saga.

“These tubbers, they won’t give up and that’s great,” he said. “Even those that didn’t finish said, ‘hey, it was great.’”

He was happy with the weekend as a whole, saying he saw nothing but smiles downtown these past few days.

“We could have used a little better weather for our kickoff on Friday and Saturday, but all in all, I think we’re pretty happy with what’s transpired, and today certainly culminates a good marine festival,” said McGuire.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Departure Bay terminal

B.C. Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Dump truck crash causes power outage in Nanaimo’s south end

No reports of injuries after crash Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

City of Nanaimo to hold invasive plant ‘drop zone’ event

Public invited to bring invasive plants to Bowen Park’s upper picnic shelter Saturday, May 30

International students ‘biggest unknown’ in Nanaimo school district’s budget planning

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board will look at preliminary 2020-21 budget this week

Car cruise in Nanaimo lifts seniors’ spirits during pandemic

Cars 4 COVID includes Nanaimo Seniors Village in its route

Dump truck crash causes power outage in Nanaimo’s south end

No reports of injuries after crash Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

UPDATE: Woman airlifted with serious injuries, baby OK after crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened on Jingle Pot Road in East Wellington on Saturday afternoon

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read