The Malta Independent 8 March 2021, Monday

50 Shades of Greats: ‘We have the potential to grow at a fast pace’ - Aaron Ciantar

Simon Farrugia Sunday, 24 January 2021, 11:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Malta Independent on Sunday meets Aaron Ciantar, Malta’s number one Powerboat racer. He speaks about his five world titles, Chaudron and Voomquest, his local achievements and his future dreams

Aaron Ciantar was born on the 3rd March, 1980 and he hails from Marsa.  ‘Back to the Eighties’, he recalls when speaking about his early days on this planet.  “When I was still very young my father had a farm and also some fields and together with my sisters we grew up there.  So I used to be a lot with my father and from the tender age of eight we started making boats.’

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Being already hands on regarding the building of boats and all that makes this happen Aaron limited his schooling days as he clearly describes. “I only went to Primary and Secondary school and on finishing I decided not to further my studies. The only reason that I stopped was to go and help my father build boats.”

Apart from Powerboats he also practised Drag Racing. But how did this love for speed and adventure start? “My interest in Powerboats began from when I was still 8 years old. From that time we started building fast boats and during the years I took more interest in Powerboating. Yes as you also mentioned quite rightly I also like Racing and also for about 10 years or more I participated in Drag Racing.

Training, dedication, perseverance and more are amongst the requisited to reach certain heights in sport. Is this the same in Powerboats? The most important thing to reach certain levels in powerboat racing is that you need to be determined and passionate about the sport. My opinion for success is that you need to know what you are exactly doing when Racing. The reason is because I race the boats that I build and therefore I know the engine inside out.

But what are Aaron’s local achievements? I have five World Championship titles under my belt but locally I have achieved the prestigious “Gieh ir-Repubblika”. Other than that I have won twice the team of the year award, won several races when one of the events during the racing season was held in Malta amongst them the  Malta Grand Prix in 2008 and in 2009.

Ciantar had  a lot to describe regarding his participation and honours abroad. In fact he gave us a detailed account of his ventures. ‘We raced in a lot of places around the World like Sicily, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Abu Dhabi and even the United States. Going into more detail  in 2004 it was a wildcard entry for the World Championship with a Chaudron 33ft boat. A year later we entered the World Championship and placed 3rd place with a Chaudron 33ft boat.’

In 2006 we made a new boat, Chaudron 33ft boat with inbord engines and we won several races and finished 4th in the World Championship. In 2007 we raced with the same boat that we raced in 2006 and placed once again 4th in the World Championship and during that year we built a new Chaudron 41ft boat for an Italian team and this italian team took the World Championship for that year. So in 2007 the Chaudron won their first World Championship title as a company.

It was my turn in 2008 to win the WorldChampionship title with the Chaudron 41ft and this was the first World Championship title for me. And a year later we built a new 41ft boat with different engine and I repeated the success of the previous year.

We kept going building new boats and in 2010 we manufactured the Chaudron Canopy 41ft and during this year we changed the class that we compete in to a bigger one. A year in which we won several races.

In 2011 it was time for me to go the USA, Key West to race with the Chaudron Canopy 41ft and we won the World Championship over there. That was one of the best moments in my life because I had the chance to race against the best boats around the world. Between 2012 and 2013 we did not participate in any races cause the Championship had stopped.

But back with a bang in 2014 when I won the World Championship once again and the last race that we had in that year was in Abu Dhabi and it was one of the best experiences to race there. Luck was not on our side in 2015 when we almost won the World Championship but we had an engine failure in the last race.’

And in 2017 we won the World Championship again and I am still the reigning World Champion in my class because from 2017 the category stopped.

Being a dominant force in his sport it sometimes tends in becoming a bit complacent. Especially when you practically know that you are the number one in your field. ‘Yes, I think I am a dominant figure in this sport because I have a lot of experience in this sector. I always try to be the number one both  on and off the  field and many times I succeeded but I am still always focused as all other competitors are strong and there is  always a tough competition.’

In 2006 Aaron tried to become the fastest person to ever circumnavigate Malta by boat  trying to break the world record Mario Invernizzi had set back in 2006. “Yes, in 2006 Mario Invernizzi set a record around our island, Malta, and I wanted to break that record but I tried twice and unluckily we had mechanical failures both times we tried. I know I have the potential to break this record and we will for sure try to break it again sometime in the near future.”

Apart from participating  as a driver Aaron, as mentioned earlier is a boat builder through Chaudron. Is this more rewarding for him? For me as a driver it is easier because I understand the boat as I built it. Also, the achievments that I got during the years are good publicity for our company, Chaudron Powerboats and by this we lift the company’s name to the highest levels.

Acquiring the sole shareholding of VOOMQUEST is another feather in the cap for Ciantar. The sole share holding in Voomquest means that I put 100% of my knowledge that I have learned during the years from my experience in powerboat championships to make the best world powerboat championship without any problems.

For his efforts and sacrifices along the years Aaron was also honoured locally by journalists thanks to the Ghazliet Sportivi Nazzjonali. For me this means a lot because I do a lot for our country, Malta. I fly the flag on the highest level in this sport everywhere I go around the world and I really appreciate the feedback from all the Maltese people and journalists during my career.

But is the future bright for this sport to flourish on our shores? Is there interest from the young generation? Yes, that’s why I built and created Voomquest because I know that we have the potential for the sport in the future. One has to note that in 2018 and 2019 the powerboating sport grew very fast in Malta and is still growing but of course because of the pandemic it is a little difficult for everything. But hopefully when we come back to normal we will start again to continue to make Malta on top of the map for powerboat racing.

And when talking about such a distinguished career one has to surely find particular moments that are engraved in Aaron’s mind. The good and also the bad. Yes, there are many good moments in my career which I still cherish. Like each title I won and I also think everyday to do it again.  But I also kept my feet on the ground and I am still the same Aaron Ciantar that I was before I won the first title. Turning onto bad moments in life one has to pass through certain rough patches.  But you have to use them only to learn from them, because I am a positive person and I believe that triumphs know their beginning from difficult and bad moments.

Turning onto a lighter tone, what importance does family have in his life? “My family is very important for me.  We are also a family run business and also in each race my family always come to support me. All throughout my carrier my father, my mum, my wife, my sisters and my kids were always there for me and that makes me stronger.”

Aaron also explained which are his favourite travel destinations and why. “My favourite travelling spot is Sicily because I can go easily by car, but the best destination to travel for me is USA. The reason being that I like extreme things and in the States one can find an abundance of these.’

In his free time Aaron loves to eat out in a good restaurant and maybe go for a drink with all the family. And talking about food what does he like most? My favourite food is meat. I simply love it. As regards free time I also love to stay home and have some time with my family. And in summer I like to go swimming and chilling in water with Chaudron boats and of course go on holidays though these past months have been a nightmare cause of the pandemic.’

And any particular hobbies? “My hobbies are cars and boats and honestly sometimes I even consider my job as a hobby.”

Before ending this interesting interview I asked for one final message that Aaron would like to pass on to the young generation about this sport. “I would like to open a powerboating school for the young generation to help them grow in powerboating with good discipline in this sport because our country is in the middle of the sea and this kind of sport is the best way to go.”

 

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