A few local residents are returning home as world champions in jet boat racing.

Fort St. John resident Gord Humphrey placed first in the Outlaw Eagle World Title of Jet Boat Racing, which began on July 1.


He competed against around 50 other racers.

Humphrey, who was participating in his ninth world title race, competed against teams from New Zealand, Mexico, the United States, as well as Canada, in a 10-day race, which covered 966 kilometres of Canadian rivers.

Humphrey says his speed boat contained a turbine engine from a Chinook helicopter, which allowed him to reach consistent speeds of 222 km per hour.

The race began in Hay River, NWT, went down to the Peace River in Grande Prairie and finished in Whitecourt Alta.

Humphrey says how he and his teammate were in second place, 17 seconds behind first place, after completing the Hay River portion of the event. During the Peace River portion, Humphrey and his navigator, Chris Zapesocki, overtook first place, which resulted in a constant battle between the two positions for the remainder of the race.

Humphrey would eventually cross the finish line first, finishing four minutes faster then his second place competitor.

It was a special victory for Humphrey and Zapesocki, a Gibbons, Alta. resident, as Canada only holds the world championship every four years. The two placed first overall in the event’s unlimited class.

Two other Fort St. John residents earned high honours at the races as well. Local jet boat racer Bob Clark and navigator Brandon Thiessen placed third in the World Championship’s CX class.

Humphrey will have the opportunity to enjoy his first place win for roughly one month, then it is back to the races, as he will be competing at the Whitewater Jet Boat Races, scheduled to take place in Lewiston, Idaho.