Young powerboat champion from Lowestoft is aiming for more titles
PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 August 2015
Many people may think that a 13-year-old boy from Carlton Colville would be interested in computer games or sports such as football and rugby.
But for Pakefield High School student Thomas Mantripp, his passion is for speed - more specifically, competing in worldwide powerboat racing events.
Remarkably, Thomas is the two-time British champion and has been the club champion at his home course of Oulton Broad for the past four years.
He recently returned from Imatra, in Finland, with a silver medal after competing against the world’s best in the 2015 UIM GT15 World Championship - a competition he had previously achieved a runners up medal in.
Thomas has been racing since he was nine years old. He describes himself a lifelong “petrol head” who after riding quad bikes and go-karts, decided to follow in his father’s successful footsteps to become a powerboat driver.
He and his father Peter Mantripp - who himself was a sprint champion himself in 1999 - regularly travel to venues across Europe.
He races in the GT15 class and described how wining the prestigious British title twice was “unbelievable”.
“I think you need to have a lot of confidence and grasp every opportunity you get,” Thomas said.
“When I came second in the world championships I could have been fifth or sixth, because I am sure at the start two boats from Estonia tried to squeeze me out. I just kept going and had the confidence and motivation and that is what did it for me.”
Thomas also described what is like when he is competing at the highest level, but ultimately didn’t think he would be as successful.
“As soon as the race starts you have a complete adrenaline rush and I am trying my absolute hardest.
“I never thought I would be as successful and I never thought I would get a silver medal. I am so proud myself and all that I have achieved.”
Thomas’ father Peter Mantripp, 42, works for an offshore company. He decided to stop competing in 2011 to concentrate on Thomas’ career.
“When Thomas first started, he had a cheap low budget boat and it has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to see him progress.
“I have spent a lot of money, but ultimately I want to see Thomas doing well.
“I think he made the right choice and my wife and I are really proud of him.
“Considering Thomas actually couldn’t swim when he first started and the fact the sport is very hard to get to grips with, his achievement is remarkable.”
The family are also encouraging new competitors, who may be inspired by Thomas’ story, to attend the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club or visit www.lobmbc.org.uk
Do you know a youngster from Lowestoft who has achieved success? Email firstname.lastname@example.org