Codsall girl becomes powerboat champion aged just 12
She has been taking to the water for years – and now Aga Czartolomna is a national powerboat champion at the tender age of just 12.
The schoolgirl from Codsall is still five years off taking her driving test, but loves nothing more than to open up the throttle in this high octane water sport.
She learned her craft at South Staffs Sailing Club and has been a regular fixture in the Express & Star sport pages as she has worked her way through the ranks.
And now the Codsall Middle School pupil has won her biggest title to date, ending up triumphant at the Honda Royal Yachting Association Youth RIB Championship final at the Yachtmarket.com Southampton Boat Show.
And the club had double cause for celebration as Aga’s older sister Kamila, a two-time national champion, became the first person to ever win the perpetual Champion of Clubs Trophy twice and lift four Honda RYA Youth RIB trophies in total.
The 16-year-old, who has won the chance to attend Dunlop MSA British Touring Cars Championship or MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship next year, now hopes to train as a powerboat instructor.
But for Aga it is the start of a youth career in powerboating as she looks ahead to competing in the 13-16 years category next year. She is also aiming for her RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualification.
She has only powerboated for four years, training at South Staffordshire Sailing Club on Gailey Reservoir off the M6 Junction 12. She joined the club after visiting an open day.
She said: “It feels fantastic to have finally won. I really didn’t know until my name was called out and when I found out I had the fastest overall time I was truly shocked and surprised
“Driving on the sea is so different to at my sailing club.
"There are more waves from passing ships and other boats and stronger winds.
"But my previous finals’ experience helped because I knew what to expect. I have built up my confidence from powerboat driving and this has transferred to other activities and my schoolwork.”
The final in Southampton tested Aga's manoeuvring with a high-speed slalom, stop exercise and a sprint finish.
She qualified for the final of the 8-12 year category after getting the second fastest time from all the other UK Area winners in her age-group.
She then showed more gears to win the title with a time faster than anyone in the age category above.
She won a powerboat - a Honwave T40 RIB.
Her career on the water began when she learned how to sail, before following sister Kamila onto powerboats.
Kamila, who has been powerboating for six years, won the 2016 Champion of Clubs trophy last year before defending the title this year with a head-to-head.
The pupil at Sixth Form at Wolgarston High School in Penkridge said: “Aga’s becoming an excellent and very skilled powerboat driver, already beating my times on the water. At only 12 years of age she has already achieved more than some would in a lifetime.
“The Championships have been a big part of my life.
" They helped me realise if you work hard enough you can achieve anything, and dedication and patience are the key to success. Even on cold, miserable days, when being on a boat is the last thing you'd want, I’d still go and practice as I knew it would be beneficial long term.”
The sisters have been trained at South Staffs SC by powerboat instructors, Steve Troke and Robin Harper.
Kamila added: “The support from the club has been absolutely incredible. Steve and Robin have put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into organising training sessions and putting their faith in me. I couldn’t have done it without them.”