Nanaimo’s world championship bathtub race this year was the fastest ever.
Justin Lofstrom set a new all-time record in the sport, finishing the Great International World Championship Bathtub race in a time of one hour, two minutes, 56 seconds. He smashed his own record of 1:07:30, set three years ago, and said at the finish line that the conditions were smooth.
Adding to the challenge this year, tubbers had to navigate some extra traffic around the harbour with a Gabriola fishing derby taking place.
“There’s a lot of flashers in the bottom of the ocean right now,” Lofstrom said. “I wasn’t slowing down for their lines.”
The course wasn’t set up quite the same as past years, but was close enough that there won’t be any asterisk on this year’s times.
“We had to alter the course a little bit, it took about a nautical mile off the course,” said Greg Peacock, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society commodore. “With that being said, I’m pretty sure we’re all going to consider it a record.”
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Winning the women’s division this year was Chantel Nelson in 1:25:01.
“It’s awesome; that’s definitely what my go-to was this year, was to be the first woman,” said Nelson, adding that her heavy tub was set up well for the conditions. “It was a good, fast boat and passed my competition out there.”
One of the noteworthy finishers was Al White, who took off his prosthetic leg at the finish line and used it to ring the bell.
“I knew it was going to be hard. My first time running, I didn’t think I would finish. I just wanted to try it and I didn’t win, but I finished and that’s all I really wanted,” he said. “It’s part of life. Find a way to dig through it. Start something and finish it.”
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Peacock said all of Bathtub Weekend went well, right from the kickoff concert with loud rockers Big Sugar.
“I understand there was people singing halfway across on the Gabriola ferry, because they could sing along,” he said. “The fireworks were phenomenal, the Joe Cocker Experience was incredible, local kid Sirreal knocked it out of the park.”
He said the weekend showed what 53 years of tradition can help build, and he said the society is looking forward to many more.
“It’s a fantastic event,” Nelson said. “Lots of people out to see it and it’s nice to feel all the support of the community.”
Unofficial race results:
1. Justin Lofstrom, super modified, 1:02:56
2. Trevor Short, super modified, 1:03:54
3. Brandon Leigh, super modified, 1:04:02
4. Jaime Garcia, super modified, 1:05:32
5. Nathan Barlow, super modified, 1:08:39
6. Brandon Skipper, super modified, 1:09:06
7. Cooper Rey, super modified, 1:10:22
8. Cody Drzewiecki, super modified, 1:11:04
9. Kurt Henderson, super modified, 1:11:38
10. Cam Bunch, super modified, 1:16:05