Boat racers from UK happy to be at regatta

Daniel Drake takes practice runs on the Susquehanna River on Friday afternoon.

LOCK HAVEN — They said the British were coming.

And they’re here.

Two handsome young men from Lowestoft, England, have made a long trip to Lock Haven to participate in the annual Lock Haven Area Jaycees Labor Day Regatta.

And they’re having the time of their life.

Wayne Moyse, 40, and Daniel Drake, 31, who have traveled around the world racing, had never been to the United States to race.

Wayne Moyse takes practice runs on the Susquehanna River on Friday afternoon.

They left their desire to race in America known to fellow boater and three-time Dash for Cash winner at the local regatta, Billy Allen, who they met at the world championships in Poland and Germany.

“Billy told us the only place to come is Lock Haven,” Wayne said.

“And here we are,” Dan added, a huge smile on his face as the two prepared to test the West Branch of the Susquehanna River for the first time in their lives on Friday afternoon.

“We wanted to race with them here and they invited us over,” Wayne said of Billy’s racing team.

“It’s just amazing. We are having so much fun … just laughing it up. The people here are absolutely great. We are loving America … Lock Haven,'” Wayne continued.

SARAH SMELTZ/THE EXPRESS Daniel Drake, left, and Wayne Moyse of Lowestoft, England, are participating in the Lock Haven Area Jaycees Labor Day Regatta this weekend. The two are racing for the first time in the United States and are guests of Billy Allen, a racer from Boston, Mass., who is a regular at the local regatta.

“Yes, everyone wants to meet us. Everyone wants to give us something or do something for us. It’s great.” Dan added.

The two flew over from London, a seven-hour flight.

“We’re racing Billy’s boats. He’s just a great guy. We met him at the World Championships. He’s just one of those guys you talk to right away. He’s so easy going. We became friends quickly,” Wayne said.

And Billy is just as excited about Dan and Wayne being in Lock Haven as they are.

He was quick to gather them up and introduce them to Express staff as they sought them out, but Billy refused to get in a photo with them.

“This is about them,” he said, proud to have them here for this experience.

But Dan and Wayne didn’t let him get away without putting Billy in the spotlight just a little bit.

They were quick to spout out some statistics on Billy’s racing career.

“He’s been racing since 1974. And he comes here every year. He won the Dash for Cash here three times,” they said, smirking at Billy, who stood nearby as they shared some of what they knew about the guy.

The Dash for Cash is a money race at the Lock Haven regatta and the winnings are between $1,000 and $1,500 a year, depending on the amount of money brought in through selling of T-shirts, pins, hats and other racing memorabilia, Billy explained.

Actually, Billy’s entire family from near Boston, Mass., are boat racers.

His sister, Laurie Allen, made the trip to Lock Haven with Billy, and another brother, Dave.

“Billy’s racing, but Dave said he’s pittin’ for Brittin’ this year,” Laurie joked.

She said her dad didn’t make the trip to Lock Haven this year, but is a longtime racer himself and has been here many times.

“We all are. We’re just one big family of boat racers. But this is my favorite race. I don’t go to all of the races, but I come here to Lock Haven every year. I just love Lock Haven,” she continued.

Now back to the boys from Britain …

“Danny’s been racing for 14 years. I just started a year and a half ago,” Wayne said.

How did they meet?

Danny could hardly contain himself as Wayne told the story.

“He ran over the back of me … while racing. We had a few words … and then we became friends,” Wayne said.

Danny said it took over six months for Wayne to get over it.

“Well, you didn’t have to pay for the damage,” Wayne said.

The two are members of the LOBMBC (Lowestoft Oulton Broads Motor Boat Club,) and they race every Thursday night in their hometown.

Asked if they are married or single, Danny quickly replied, “I’m single,” then laughed …. “I’m a vagabond.”

Wayne said “no,” when asked if he was married, but asked if he was single, he pronounced himself “taken.”

And then they were off.

They put on their helmets, climbed into Billy’s boats and hit the water, not wanting to waste any time standing along the shoreline talking when they could be out on the water.

These boats might be owned by an American, but this weekend they are the pride of England, bearing decals of the British flag as they race for the first time in the United States of America.