The new Lycamobile crew
Powerboat P1 staged an impressive two-day exhibition event in London’s Royal Victoria Dock at the end of March. Home to some of the capital’s most historic water, the venue played host to the season launch of the P1 SuperStock and P1 AquaX UK Championships.
Situated at the western end of the dock, the futuristic Crystal building hosted a major press conference at which executives from the world’s largest one-design powerboat racing championship announced that the Lycamobile Group would become the official mobile partner to Powerboat P1. The deal features flagship brand Lycamobile and associated travel management business LycaFly and forms part of a broader business partnership between the two companies. A Lycamobile-branded boat will race in both the UK and USA SuperStock Championships. This is one of the most significant commercial deals in the sport for some time and demonstrates that powerboat racing is capable of attracting major international brands.
P1 also announced a record race season this year, with 70 races scheduled at 12 leading venues on both sides of the Atlantic. A five-venue UK season and expansion of P1’s race programme in the USA has attracted more than 20 SuperStock teams and some 100 AquaX riders. P1’s double bill of AquaX and SuperStock racing will feature a number of new, marquee locations this season, including Cardiff and Bournemouth in the UK and Tampa and Jacksonville in the USA. Bournemouth, recently named ‘Best UK Coastal Resort’ at the British Travel Awards, will host the first UK race weekend at the end of May, with Cardiff as the flagship event in late July.
In addition to the on-water action, P1 and the RYA hosted a free-to-attend Media, Marketing & Sponsorship Workshop. The first of its kind, the event was open to racers, teams, clubs and event organisers affiliated to the RYA and attracted more than 50 people. The workshop looked at the challenges of securing sponsorship in powerboat racing, delivering outstanding events and value to host cities, exploiting media coverage and developing creative marketing strategies for the sport.
On the water, eight P1 Panther race boats entertained fans with closely-fought match racing down the length of the dock with London-based IFX Racing taking first place in the final heat. The team of Nick Williams and Martin Robinson took the overall win, followed by P1's brand new partner boat Lycamobile in second, Pertemps in third and Typhoo in fourth place. Winning pilot Nick Williams commented "We have spent a lot of time on the water since buying the new boat a few months ago, so we were well prepared for today. We're looking good for the start of the season, and we are going for the win. But there are still a couple of months to go and time for the other teams to catch up!"
With more than 30 racers taking part in fast and furious AquaX racing, it was Richard Cable who clocked up enough points in the 300 class to secure the inaugural Royal Victoria Cup. In the 250 class Steve Hockney took his first overall win while Mat Shipley took line honours in the 200 class.
Teams spent the rest of the day providing more than 200 experience rides, giving sponsors, fans and the media a taste of boat and jet-ski racing.
“The P1 event in London was a tremendous advertisement for the sport. Not only was the on-water event very professionally run, but the workshop was also very successful and the remarkable amount of experience rides provided by P1 team over the weekend has taken the sport to a much broader audience in the heart of the capital,” said RYA powerboat racing manager, Jeni Jelf.