Date: Mon 27 Jul 2015

Robert Wicks tells us about P1 racing at Hull

As the P1 powerboat teams and jet ski riders prepare to head north for the third round of the UK SuperStock and AquaX race series, P1 chief operating officer Robert Wicks talks about next month’s Hull Grand Prix of the Sea – August 8th and 9th, which will be P1’s fifth visit to Humberside.

What were the key factors in your decision some 5 years ago to race in Hull?


Hull already had a great reputation for staging quality marine sport events and there was a very good natural fit to extend this into powerboat racing.

Furthermore, P1 events have historically been based along the south coast of the UK so it was a welcome opportunity to take the sport to a new destination in a different part of the country.

Right from the word go P1 was made to feel very welcome on Humberside and the city has the perfect mix of infrastructure and services needed for staging a P1 event.

Today the Hull Grand Prix of the Sea has become a regular fixture on the P1 calendar and the series has developed a really strong following.
During 2015 we added a further race in Yorkshire with a round in Scarborough so racing in the north east of the country is becoming a firm favourite for teams and spectators alike.

What’s new this year that spectators should look out for?

There will be plenty to get involved in at the Hull race. One of our key sponsors, Lycamobile, is hosting its ‘Lycamobile Lounge’ where visitors can go to enjoy a number of perks! Not only can they enter to win a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday to Florida, there will be the opportunity to purchase a Lycamobile SIM card and take advantage of its £12 summer bundle. Offering 1,000 free minutes, unlimited texts, 2GB of data and unlimited Lyca to Lyca calls and texts, spectators can keep everyone up to date with the latest race news right from the heart of the action. They can also visit the charging station, ensuring phone batteries are fully charged for capturing photos and videos of the adrenaline-packed race!

How would you assess the Hull race events that have been held over the last 4 years?

Previous events have generated some of our biggest crowds, which makes it very special for the competitors and very rewarding for P1 as a promoter to see the interest and enthusiasm.

The success achieved has been helped enormously by a local team carrying the hopes of the city as they competed in the race series for two seasons.

Tell us about the Hull Speed Ahead boat and any other local interest?

Hull Speed Ahead was the name for the local team which campaigned last year and in 2013 as ‘One Hull of a Boat’.

The team of Dave Taft and Gavin Feldt did a great job for the city and they are both still racing in the SuperStock Championship, now competing against each other in different teams and in their respective roles as driver and navigator.

Racing in front of their home fans will undoubtedly give them a lift as they strive for a podium finish.

What makes Hull special?

The race location in Hull offers some of the best viewing for fans and with the backdrop of the Humber Bridge – together with great on-shore facilities, an easily accessible top-class marina and outstanding local support – it’s a venue that P1 and all of the racers enjoy visiting each year.

The strong current in the Humber always brings an extra challenge to the racing.

Where will the race course be and where are the best viewing places for spectators?

The race course is in a similar location to last year and much of the action takes place right in front of the marina, which itself is perfectly located in the heart of the city.

Anyone coming down should make the marina their first port of call to see the race boats and jet skis being prepared for battle on the Humber.

Prior to racing, teams are required to complete a mandatory practice session and orientation laps on the course.

The start chute runs in a north easterly direction up the Humber.

Each race is based on time (20 minutes plus one lap) rather than a set number of laps.

The course direction is anti-clockwise and includes both a long lap of 1.8nm in length and a short lap of 1.4nm.

Most of the racing takes place over the longer of the two courses but each team is required to complete one short lap during the race.

This ‘pit lap’ cannot be taken on the first or last lap, making it a challenging decision for each team as to when there may be an advantage to leave the pack.

The race course itself will be in full view from the promenade at the marina.

What is the schedule of racing over the weekend?

Our activities start on Friday with the teams arriving and technical checks taking place on the boats and skis.

We’re looking forward to meeting the Lord Mayor on Friday evening at a welcome ceremony at the P1 Race Centre.

And then it’s time to race, with the on-the-water action getting underway around midday on both days to serve up a feast of P1 AquaX and P1 SuperStock racing all afternoon, culminating in the podium ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

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