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Race Preview from Tampa

P1 Championships gear up for Tampa Bay race action

All roads lead to Tampa for P1’s powerboat racers and jet ski riders as the countdown gets underway to this weekend’s Grand Prix of the Sea (July 12/13). This will be P1’s first visit to Tampa Bay, where Davis Island will be the location for the third round of the SuperStock and AquaX national championships.

A fleet of nine identical P1 Panther race boats, built in central Florida, and more than thirty jet ski riders will take to the water in a double bill of top class sport and entertainment over two days. The P1 race season serves up a feast of fast, furious and free to watch action at a total of 12 events in the USA and UK, attracting 300,000 live spectators and TV viewers in more than 50 countries.

Speaking at its USA head office in Orlando, P1 championship director Azam Rangoonwala said: “It’s great to have Tampa on our race calendar for the first time and, with the continued support of city officials and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, we hope to make it a regular stop on our USA tour. Everyone in the city has been extremely welcoming, but I must single out Rob Higgins and his team at the Sports Commission for their tremendous support. Wherever we race, our aim is to deliver significant local economic impact and provide international exposure.”

Media and broadcast relationships play a key role in building P1’s international presence and in delivering exposure for host venues such as Tampa as well as commercial partners. In the USA all the P1 race action is broadcast in 24 half-hourly weekly TV programmes through to October on MavTV and Fox Sports Florida, reaching over 40 million homes. The Tampa Grand Prix of the Sea is scheduled to be screened on August 5 (SuperStock Championship) and August 10 (AquaX series).

“We’re excited to have the P1 race series making its first appearance in our community” said Rob Higgins, Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. “In addition to being a thrilling event, it acts as an ideal opportunity to showcase our beautiful waterfront to a television audience.” The racing starts at 11.00am on Saturday and an hour earlier on Sunday, and the ideal way to watch the action will be on the water off Davis Island. P1 has chartered the 180 ft. yachtStarship on Saturday, boarding from 10.30am at the Convention Center) for spectators to enjoy the racing close up.

Local interest will focus on the Lycamobile Racing team and AquaX rider Sean Hagen. The husband and wife pairing of Craig and Cynthia Belfatto from Apollo Beach will be aiming to achieve a place on the podium in the Lycamobile boat and Cynthia commented: “It’s exciting to have a SuperStock event in Tampa and we are looking forward to racing in our own backyard. We are sure it will be a successful venue and look forward to it becoming an annual event in the Bay.” In the AquaX Championship, 22-year-old Sean Hagen will be hoping to give the local supporters something to cheer about: “Tampa is home for myself and many other racers and we have been waiting patiently for an event to be staged here. The race location just south of Davis Island is a great location and one that I ride frequently, so I’m hoping this local knowledge will give me an edge over the competition.”

The 5-event P1 race series moves on from Tampa to Cocoa Beach next month, with St. Cloud hosting the season finale in September.

Timetable of events is as follows:
Saturday 12th July
11.00am - 11.30am SuperStock Practice
11.30am - 12.00pm SuperStock Race 1
12:30pm - 13:30pm AquaX Race 1
13:30pm - 14:00pm SuperStock Race 2
14:30pm - 21:00pm Meet the Racers at the Convention Center
Sunday 13th July
10:00am - 11:30pm AquaX Race 2
11:00am - 11:30am SuperStock Race 3
13:00pm - 14:00pm AquaX Race 3
14:00pm - 14:30pm SuperStock Race 4
15:00pm - 16:00pm Prize Giving at the Convention Center