A Need for Speed


Stancombe races on his powerboat “Ella’s Nightmare.” Photo contributed

Walker Millhoff, Staff Writer

The water was a turquoise blue and the power boats were ready to start at the Great Lakes Grand Prix. Freshman Dominic Stancombe was at the helm of his boat, Ella’s Nightmare, when the race began and the boats zipped forward. At the first turn of the race, Stancombe hit a large wave that nearly toppled his boat. Stancombe recovered, however, and has gone on to compete in many powerboat races since.

The Great Lakes Grand Prix is one of many power boat races that Stancombe competes in.

“We race all over the country,” Stancombe said. “This year we have a race in Michigan City. Our first race is coming up soon, but we race all over and if we go to Worlds then we can go across the country somewhere.”

Though power boat racing is certainly uncommon in land-locked Indiana, it is an important tradition in Stancombe’s family. Stancombe’s father participated in power boat races with Stancombe’s grandfather, and Stancombe now carries the mantle.

“I started powerboat racing two years ago,” Stancombe said. “I remember going to a race and my dad showed me this really old boat for sale. We went to it; it was a very nice antique boat and I said we should start racing to carry the family legacy on, so that is what we are doing.”

Stancombe deeply cherishes the opportunity to power boat race, especially as the driver for his team.

“It is really adrenaline rushing,” Stancombe said. “Going sixty miles per hour, you have to make sure you hit the wave right, you take every turn correctly, you have to check behind you and in front of you, all so you don’t crash. A lot can go wrong, but for me, I love racing and it is just really fun to do.”

In Stancombe’s time power boat racing, he has achieved remarkable accomplishments.

“We were racing in the Sarasota Grand Prix and our motor hatch came off, so it was very exposed to water, which is really bad,” said Stancombe. “My dad was racing in another boat, so I was with another racer. I got first place and I was the first fourteen year old to win Sarasota.”

Stancombe has learned much after his years in power boat racing and after making remarkable achievements along the way.

“I have learned that a lot can go wrong very fast,” Stancombe said. “I have learned that it is more of a team sport than anything on the boat. You need to know your throttle or your driver very well. You need to understand how they are going to take every turn and go every straight.”

Ultimately, Stancombe’s biggest takeaway was the relationships he has created with power boat racing.

“You also have to have a good team,” Stancombe said. “You can not just be by yourself. You have to know someone else with you and you can make a lot of great friends there too.”