|Edworthy’s win is a highlight of Maritime Festival
By Chris Ogryski
The name Jay Edworthy has become synonymous with success in the 1200 Runabout class and this past Saturday he proved why he is one of the best riders in the world with a come-from-behind win over Jo-Jo Mannise in the Budweiser/ Novi Can-Am Cup. This was the third straight victory for Edworthy in that class at the Maritime Festival.
But the three-peat didn’t come easy for Edworthy who trailed for over half of the 20 lap race. “This was one of the more difficult years,” the Cambridge, Ontario resident said. “There was a lot of good competition this year.”
Edworthy knew as the race went on, his chances for victory were diminishing and he had to do
something. “There were a few decent opportunities in the race. Usually you only get one good one and a couple of times I got close to Joe (Jo-Jo) Mannise (but couldn’t pass him),” Edworthy said.
“There were a couple of times I seemed to get close to him, but I always seemed to bounce in a corner or not get a good line,” Edworthy added. “I came off the corner hard there and (I knew) it was the time to pass or I probably wouldn’t get him. (I figured) I might as well take the chance and it was the right thing to do at the time.”
The slick move resulted in an Edworthy win, which he celebrated with a victory lap while carrying his native flag high (which is a Can-Am Cup tradition for winners). In fact, Jay was so caught up in the moment that he climbed up to the part of the pier where the event was being broadcast from, to participate in the post race interview.
Once the Can-Am Cup ended, Edworthy was able to enjoy his win and reflect on what makes Harbor Beach such a unique event. “The racers that come out always come to win, but also come for a good time. A lot of guys that come to this race… still…have to go to work on Monday,” Edworthy said.
“As much as everyone wants to win, no one wants to get hurt, so it’s a safe race. But (today), it was a close race,” Edworthy added, pointing out that he got as close as he wanted to at certain points in the competition (right beside another rider and just touching them).
Near misses aside, Edworthy enjoyed his trek to Harbor Beach for more than just the opportunity to compete. “I grew up on a dairy farm and coming up here and seeing the granary in a small town atmosphere is almost like being at home for me,” Edworthy said.
While Edworthy’s “home” doesn’t produce as many racers as it once did, he believes they are still a competitive bunch. “We have limited numbers, because we don’t have racing in our area of Canada,” he said. “(However) the Canadians can come and run with some of the best in this Region and I think this Region can run with the best in the world.”
Perhaps the Canadians will finally get a chance to prove that with a Can-Am Cup victory in 2006.