Daisy “Duke” Coleman - Riding the waves
Poweboat racing is fast, exciting and completely unpredictable. With waves swelling as high as five meters and two mile, narrow race courses, its
perfect for the crowds on the shoreline to watch. What is interesting about the format is that everyone is racing with the same boat and same
engine, as Daisy explains “it’s the team that makes 50 less mistakes than the others”. It’s about the teams and their ability to read the waves,
communicate and get something extra out of exactly what everyone else has. Imagine no acceleration because of the drag of the water on the
race course? This means you need to maintain power through the corners, which in essence means going full throttle across unpredictable waves
without crashing. By no means for the faint hearted! Daisy laughed as she explained an alternative way of looking at it “show me a Ferrari
that can drive at 70MPH over a ploughed field and survive”. Having said this safety seems to be a key theme as we talk. From the training that
everyone racing has to do which instils the mantra of safety over speed to jet skis on standby in the water that can get to an accident in
20 seconds to dedicated crash teams it is as safe as it can be.
Daisy “Duke” is not your typical powerboat racer coming to it later in life from a horse riding background and military service, but it has by
no means limited her success. Racing with her brother the pair are making a very effective team winning races against much better funded teams
and this year they are leading the P1 Superstock Series.
Having been throw from the boat at 65mph and the resulting whiplash haven’t dented Daisy’s passion for the sport “if it wasn’t dangerous everyone
would be doing it” Daisy says by way of explanation whilst shrugging her shoulders. The interesting thing is that opposed to risking her life
its seems to have given her a new life and something to aim for. Daisy alludes to darker times during our chat, in contrast to how she talks
about Powerboat racing and what it has done for her. Daisy keeps talking about it being a new life for her, a fresh start and it being life
changing. I didn’t expect to hear this before we met but it’s very clear in how Daisy talks that doing this has come at the right time in life
for her and that it has given her more than a thrill, it has changed her life.
In echoes of what other female “petrol heads” and racers have said that I have interviewed, Daisy is very clear that racing isn’t gender specific.
“When you are in the boat no one knows or cares” she says of how women are viewed in the Powerboating community. More females in the sport
however is something that Daisy is keen to see as she explains “it would be nice to get more women into the sport and to get them to have the
confidence to beat the guys”. This is not only about growing a sport but giving women confidence that Daisy knows comes from racing, having
The racing is only a part of the reality of being a Powerboat racer though. Raising sponsorship, making presentation and the commitments to current
sponsors are a full time job Daisy explains “it’s a second job”. They may cover their costs via sponsorship but as always if they had more
sponsorship then they could do more that would put them in a prime position to win. There is also the small matter of paying the bills as Daisy
explains and this involves working as a consultant. Daisy has to balance racing, working and running the business side of the racing and sponsorship.
It seems like a lot to do especially if you include her and her brother flying to America to race for another sponsor there but somehow she
does. It seems that part of what makes it all work for Daisy and her brother is their desire to go the extra mile for sponsors, giving them
great value for their money. She is very clear that working with them very closely and having regular communication is really important as
these companies and people allow them to do what they love doing.
Daisy may “race for the thrill of it” but it is a lot more than that for her, it’s a life, a passion and a responsibility to those that support
her living their dream. This is a Powerboat racer that is good at what she does, wins races, has a very different approach and…happens
to be a woman in a very male dominated sport proving that women can be good Powerboat racers not just female racers.