By Melissa Sheil
AT 22-years-old, High Wycombe resident Tomika McCormick is breaking barriers in speed boat racing, being the youngest person and first female to win the state title – for two years in a row.
Ms McCormick recently competed at the state championships in Burswood, winning the Formula 2 2000cc and Unlimited Outboard class state titles, the latter of which has never been won by a woman in the race’s 36-year history.
“I feel very honoured and accomplished to be the first female winner,” she said,
“It’s a very motivating feeling.
“It inspires myself, and hopefully other women, to conquer anything in life.”
Ms McCormick started speed boat racing at the age of 11, joining the West Australian Speed Boat Club (WASBC) in the 15 horse-power class after watching her brother compete.
From there, she moved up the ranks to race in the 25 horse-power class, then Formula 3 Tunnel Boat class until deciding to aim for the Formula 2 Tunnel Boat class, driving an enclosed boat that reaches speeds of 160km/hour.
Within the first twelve months of competing in this class, she became the first female to win the Lake Towerinning gold cup and later that year won the state title for the first time.
A speed boat race begins with the driver gearing up in personal protective equipment and getting the boat on the water to the starting line, with each boat positioned in its own lane.
Drivers then perform three to four laps of a circuit, making sure they go around the marker buoys and racing back to the starting line.
Ms McCormick said the thing she enjoys most about the sport is the competition and adrenaline, though the sense of community instilled in the WASBC is invaluable.
“The club’s volunteers, crew members, committee and my Dad have supported my entire journey in speed boat racing,” she said.
“I really couldn’t have done it without them.
“I have access to our boat club to be able to train as often as I can depending on my work schedule which is great and we have plenty of group fundraising events and monthly races.”
Wayne McCormick, treasurer of the WASBC and Ms McCormick’s father, said he wasn’t expecting his daughter to take up the high adrenaline sport as a child.
“I was quite surprised when Tomika said she wanted to compete in speed boat racing, but it was very clear, even at that young age, that she had what it took,” he said.
“She has always been competitive in her sports and this has been no different in speed boat racing and I am very proud of what she has been able to achieve in it.
“When she was young, she was always saying ‘Dad I want to go faster,’ so we did – and here she is now as a state champion.”
Soon, Ms McCormick hopes to achieve her dream of competing in the Adelaide speed boat racing competition, being the first woman from Western Australia to compete interstate.
“It’s a huge goal for me to compete in that competition, though to do so, I need sponsors,” she said.
“If any local businesses want to sponsor me to compete in South Australia, please do!”