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Full commitment on water and on land: Linde employee David Borton maintains powerboat engines in his spare time

As a technician at Linde MH UK, David Borton repairs and maintains forklift trucks on a daily basis. And his enthusiasm for engines continues in his spare time: As a mechanic for the British powerboat racing team JRM Racing, he helps the drivers to the winner's podium at European and World Championships.


The racing boats literally fly over the water at breathtaking speed, and the spectators hold their breath. Who will prevail in the head-to-head race and cross the finish line first? At the subsequent award ceremony, all eyes are on the rider who receives the trophy with a huge smile on his face. He has undeniably earned the victory. With his sporting talent, he gave everything on the race course to get every hundredth of a second out of his boat. But this would not have been possible without the dedicated team of a handful of people who keep the boats running in the background - such as mechanic David Borton. By profession, he is a field engineer at Linde MH in the UK, and in his spare time he maintains the engines of the impressive watercraft as a team member at JDM Racing.

Teamwork and communication are essential to succeed, says Linde MH employee David Borton about his powerboat team.

Formula 2 powerboats are lightweight catamarans made of carbon fiber. They are just under five meters long and weigh over 550 kilograms. They glide over the water surface on a cushion of air, often with only the propeller in the water. They accelerate to 100 km/h faster than a Mercedes SLR McLaren and, thanks to their specially designed tunnel hulls, are able to turn almost instantly or make 90-degree turns. The drivers sit in a completely enclosed tiny capsule with very limited visibility, yet they compete against each other, often just a few centimeters apart - at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour.

Successful as a team: "We give 110 per cent on the water and on land," says David Borton (far right), who, together with his colleagues at JRM Racing, maintains and repairs the powerboats.

David Borton comes from Hednesford Staffordshire, half an hour's drive north of Birmingham, and got into the sport as a teenager. "I was introduced to powerboats in 1993," he says. "My neighbor was the reigning British champion in OSY-400, a junior class in hydroplane powerboat racing. I have already been very interested in engines even back then and watched her mechanic very closely how the engines were built and maintained. When he quit, I was asked to take over his job. In 1996, we were invited to join the JDS Racing team and move to Formula 4. There I continued to build the engines for my neighbor for two more years until she decided to retire from racing. At that time I was asked by team owner Jamey Stallard, who was also a driver for JDS Racing, to work for him as a mechanic. We went on to become European champions, British champions and runners-up in F4."

As a teenager, David Borton got into powerboat racing through his neighbor. He was the reigning British champion in OSY-400, a junior class in hydroplane powerboat racing.

In 2019, two-boat racing team JRM Racing was formed around Norwegian Mette Bjerknæs and American driver Brent Dillard in preparation for the 2020 F2 Powerboat World Championship. The team is based in Cheltenham and its members are experts in boat building and engine technology. Borton is one of them and as Mette's lead technical engineer is responsible for engine maintenance, development and troubleshooting at and between races.

Norwegian Mette Bjerknæs holds her team in high regard: "JRM Racing's strong, dedicated and well-organized team is a guarantee for success."

Borton has worked at Linde MH for six years. As a field service engineer, he works with all types of forklifts, from small hand pallet trucks to automated counterbalance trucks. His job is to find, diagnose and rectify faults and carry out preventive maintenance on Linde customers' forklift trucks. This requires a high degree of accuracy and a lot of attention to detail. It's not just about that on the job, but also at JRM. "It's crucial to give 110 per cent on the water and on land," the 43-year-old is convinced. "Teamwork and communication are also essential, planning and preparation definitely help the team to succeed. Knowing that the boat is absolutely safe to race at speeds around 160 kilometers per hour helps me sleep at night. I believe that our pilot should never think about whether we did everything right - her job is to drive. To see all our hard work succeed is the greatest reward."

World or European championships are being held in more and more racing boat classes. Instead of the normal class designation, the term "formula" is then used. The only difference between Formula 2 and Formula 1 boats is the engine power: in Formula 1, the boats are equipped with engines that can produce up to 400 hp and reach a speed of 240 kilometers per hour.

In Formula 2 European championships, four races take place and points are awarded for each race. The three best scores of each driver are added together and the driver with the highest number of points becomes European Champion. The world championship series in Formula 2 has been taking place since 2002. About two dozen drivers from different countries compete against each other. They drive up to 40 laps in about 30 minutes in four to six races.

Successful indeed is David Borton's team, even internationally. Last season alone he travelled with them to Poland, Lithuania and twice to Portugal. Their biggest successes include Mette Bjerknæs' World Endurance Championship title, Jamey Stallard's F3 World Championship win and Brent Dillard becoming NGKF1 Series Champion in the USA. These drivers earned the top spots with their driving talent and a lot of skill. And with their strong, dedicated and well-organized team. Next season, JRM will compete with Edward Stallard in the British Five Nations Rallycross. Let's keep our fingers crossed that Borton and his teammates help him to victory again.