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Schoolgirl makes powerboat racing history after crash

Oban Duncan, 13, became the first Scot to take the title just two months after a boat collision.

Racing: Oban has become a star in powerboat racing. SWNS

A daredevil schoolgirl has made history in the adrenaline charged world of powerboat racing – just two months after a serious crash.

Oban Duncan, 13, has become the first female and first Scottish GT15 British powerboat champion.

She swept to victory after winning three of the four heats at Stewartby Powerboat Club in Bedfordshire in a GT15 – a 15 horsepower engine boat which has a top speed of 40mph.

The youngster took to the water just two months after a bad crash while she was competing in Latvia which left her with a concussion.

Oban’s boat was turning at a buoy when another boat, going about 20mph, couldn’t slow down in time and collided with hers – mounting the back of the schoolgirl’s craft.

But the accident didn’t deter determined Oban, from Balloch, West Dunbartonshire, who continued with the competition despite a knock in confidence.

Oban has become the first female and Scot to take the title. SWNS

She won the British Sprint Championship and RYA Honda Youth Rib Championship last year, after only taking up the fast-paced sport two years ago.

Oban, who is making rapid progress in the male-dominated world of powerboat racing, is a member of Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club in St Helens near Liverpool.

But instead of travelling 230 miles down to Merseyside to practice, she takes her powerboat for a high-speed spin on Loch Lomond.

Oban, a pupil at the High School of Glasgow, said: “It was amazing to win the nationals against great competition.

“We will be training and preparing hard for the world’s next year.”

Her mother Karen said: “Nationals are supposed to be the best of the best, with people from the top of the club events going.

“She’s a go-getter and wants to do more and more and learn as much as she can.

“Obviously we’ve taught her the need for speed from an early age.

“A boat went over the back of her during heat two in Latvia.

“She was a bit concussed and her confidence was knocked.

“We worked on the boat all night to get it ready and the next day she raced her heart out.

“There were 28 boats there and she could’ve done a lot better but her confidence was gone.”

Despite being concussed and dizzy, Oban didn’t go to hospital after the incident and although being aware of how dangerous the sport can be, was desperate to get back on the water.

“There’s been four fatalities in our sport this year,” adds Karen.

“Of course everything’s a risk and you assess it.

“As a parent I won’t say we’re not scared but she wants to do it and we’ll support her.”

Oban trains on Loch Lomond at 6am. SWNS

Oban regularly trains at around 6am in Loch Lomond, taking two boats out as she is under 16 and has to have a rescue boat nearby.

“It’s not like it’s completely safe, it can be a dangerous sport,” said Karen.

“Many weekends rain, hail or snow we’re out there.”

Oban and her team are now looking forward with optimism to the World Championship which will take place at Oulton Broad in Suffolk next year.

Karen added: “It’s in her, she’s got a great attitude.

“She misses out on parties and things because of her sport, but she’s happy to follow her dream.”


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