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Sarah Donohue joins Phoenix TV Powerboat Racing Team


Sarah has been racing for 15 years in total now and has just joined the Phoenix TV team a short while ago. After just having finished their first race the weekend of the 12/13/14th September, Sarah promised us an interview with womensportreport.com.

Please read what she had to say:

- Sarah, how did it go in Spain last weekend at the P1 race?

It was fantastic to be there, a great experience...Unfortunately we didn't finish either race due to engine problems. The engine was completely submersed in water on the first day, hence it provided us with complications in the 2nd race. But the race itself was a great experience and racing with Team owner Martin Lai was fantastic.



- How do you work as a team, without having previous driving experience together?

This question is actually very hard to answer and explain unless you’ve raced a powerboat before…Martin has 8 years of racing experience and I’ve done it for 15 years…you just intuitively understand how the other one works and can gel after just the first lap…it’s almost like you know what the other one will do before he actually does it…

And the nice thing about the Phoenix TV team is, the management is exceptional, they are all very comfortable with each other and have also made me feel comfortable around them. They all gel well and know exactly what they’re doing.

- Why did you decide to race with Phoenix TV team after your spout with team “Big Sergio”?

When they initially asked me to join them, they were a very new team and I was not just going to race with them but also commit to a bit of mentoring because of my experience. However they had some major issues with the management and safety rules. Their attitude was way too relaxed regarding health and safety. I’d been trying to alert them to their ways and that they had to change in order to keep themselves safe, but it just seemed as though my advice fell on death ears. The reason I will not compromise on safety at all is not just the fact, that I don’t want to put myself in danger, but a lot of my friends race and I wouldn’t want to put them in danger either. I’ve just seen too many gruesome accidents and hospitalizations over the years, so I will not take unnecessary risks. That’s why there are safety rules and regulations around in the first place. Powerboat racing is a very dangerous sport!


Eventually I just gave up and informed the management of the Italian team - I’d have to remove myself from the team. I recall that conversation in particular when we were talking about my leaving. In asking them, whether they would be willing and happy to look into their safety issues, they answered with a blunt “NO”. I couldn’t believe it…So my response was: “Well, I will have to leave the team then” – the worst bit was the answer I received back: “But that means we’ll have to work so much harder, and get up earlier to do the paperwork and so on”. Well that is what you have to do if you want to be successful and safe in this sport! I don’t know what they were expecting, but it’s certainly not an easy ride.


Every team manager is required to attend the management meetings for new events…team Big Sergio never showed up to any of them…


- How about penalty cards? Have you ever had any in your longstanding career?

Well, that’s another point I wasn’t too happy with in my previous team. I didn’t have any yellow or red cards in my whole career and I’ve been in the game for 15 years. With team Sergio I received my first yellow card (with a team) and I wasn’t even on the boat. And that was on a test run. I was fuming! They had ignored four of the rules they were supposed to abide by and obviously received a card for it.


- So how does the card system work in powerboat racing?

It’s just like football…you get yellow and red cards in the game and after two yellow you would get a red, and then be disqualified from the next event if you receive a red. That track record stays with you… So I was always very proud of never having received a yellow card. However, at least the card is with the team and since I’ve changed teams now, it didn’t transfer with me.


- How long are you going to stay with Phoenix TV?

At the moment we’re going to work together until the end of the season and then we shall see what the future will bring. But I enjoy working with the team – they are so professional! Especially after my experience with Big Sergio, working with Team Owner Martin Lai is like a breath of fresh air. They are very precise and scrutinize all of the safety and rules before sending out the boat …and because the tests are done at such a professional level, we can get in the boat and not worry about things that should have been done but weren’t for example.


- Do you think that Team Big Sergio is going to change their ways?

I think they’ve improved already and in retrospect, they’re probably accepting some of the advice they’ve been given not only by me but also the officials. Even though I’d prefer not to start next to them on the starting line, I do hope they do well and wish them all the best.


- What are your final comments on the past few months Sarah?

I’m very glad to have been asked to join the team I’m racing with at the moment. Phoenix TV make racing easy!

There are rumours that Sarah is starting an “all girl, all green” racing team in the future and if it’s true I’m sure they’re still looking for funding. Please direct all enquiries to Sarah personally, since we don’t know too much about it! Email: [email protected]

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