Two weeks ago in Windsor, Colo., Florida racer Ashton Rinker earned his second straight NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship Formula One-class title after finishing the season with victories in all five of the 2019 series events. In winning five out of five races, Rinker became just the second F1 tunnel boat driver to finish a season undefeated. Since his father, Terry, one of sport’s all-time best drivers, is the only other person to accomplish that feat, you could say that Ashton Rinker had some big shoes to fill, and managed to do just that.
Ashton Rinker completed just the second perfect season in F1 tunnel-boat racing history after winning the fifth and final race of the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship in Windsor, Colo., on Sept. 1. Photos by Kevin Pyles/MOTO Marketing Group
“It was certainly a proud moment for me to see him pull off something that I know is extremely difficult to do—and it’s really neat to keep it in the family, we’re the only two drivers to accomplish the goal of winning every race,” said Terry Rinker, a third-generation boat racer who passed the competition gene along to his sons, Ashton and Rob. “It was enjoyable to watch Ashton this season. He has been racing for quite a few years, and in the past couple of years his driving has matured. He understands a lot of things I’ve been explaining to him to help his driving. He gets it now—I guess you could say—as far as being able to handle the boat and everything he needs to do around him while he’s racing.
“Winning every race is difficult to accomplish, not just because of the racers you have to compete with on the course, but trying to keep everything together and functioning toward the end of the race is a monumental task that the guys behind the scenes have to work hard to make sure happens,” continued Rinker, who won all seven races in 2006 to claim the ChampBoat series national championship. “Fortunately Ashton has a great support system around him. His crew chief was my crew chief for many years. Yeah we won two more races than Ashton’s five this year, but it’s hard enough to win two in a row, let alone five or seven. I went for many years not winning any, so I know how difficult it can be.”
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