Wotton House in the Surrey countryside was the venue last night for the P1 UK Annual Awards Dinner, attended by more than 100 competitors, sponsors, venue partners and suppliers to see the 2016 P1 AquaX champions crowned, as well as the presentation of several special awards.
The evening began with P1 Chief Executive James Durbin expressing his delight at Powerboat P1’s global expansion ahead of what promises to be the organisation’s biggest year to date in 2017.
“Six years ago, P1 set up the framework to build a sporting and commercial structure to expedite the global expansion of professionally promoted marine motorsport events. This is now a reality. In 2017 we will announce a 30-city event calendar that will cross 12 country borders on three continents, broadcasting 40 hours of race footage to 150 countries on major sporting networks globally.
“Following P1’s acquisition of Jetcross earlier this year and the launch of the RIB championship alongside the established SuperStock and AquaX series, P1 now boasts four major racing brands in its stable and can confidently claim to be the world’s largest marine motorsport brand.”
Chief Operating Office Robert Wicks then reviewed the 2016 season by saying “It’s been another successful season of P1 SuperStock and P1 AquaX racing across the UK. The bumper crowds we saw in both Scotland and Wales demonstrated powerboat racing’s appeal and ability to attract a significant audience.
“Our inaugural event in Scotland was a particular highlight and the overwhelming support from across the sporting, marine, commercial, national and local government sectors was what made the event such a success.
“My thanks go to the race teams for putting on a spectacular show, the P1 team in London who delivered five great events, our sponsors and partners, the RYA and particularly our team of officials and volunteers who manage and support our race events.”
It was yet another glorious season in the AquaX Enduro 300 class for Phil Pope as he retained his title, the third of his career, ahead of young challenger Joe Harvey and third placed Khris Leach. Pope won all but three races during the 2016 season to establish himself as an outstanding AquaX champion.
In the 250 class, Welsh rider Richard Rowe dominated the 2016 championship battle and came out on top ahead of David Coe and Ryan O’Connor. The 200 class was narrowly won by popular Scotsman Duncan Johnstone, chased home by P1 AquaX Rookie of the Year Paul Handley. Third in the 200 class was Carl Lofthouse, who finished runner-up in the Rookie of the Year award, ahead of David Coe.
The AquaX Sprint series saw Simon Gill lift the 2016 title despite having missed the opening round of the season in Scarborough, with 2015 champion Cameron Green and young star Harrison Malin in second and third. The new champion of the Amateur Sprint class was Aaron Rowe, making it a clean sweep for the Rowe family at this year’s awards, beating Rich Davey and Steven Combstock to the title. Eleven year old Lucy Gadsby made history by winning the first AquaX Junior Sprint title ahead of 13 year old Dylan Green and 12 year old Rohan Malin,
Lisa Barsby, Head of P1 AquaX, was particularly pleased with the introduction of the Junior Sprint class this season.
“One of the highlights of the year was the addition of the Junior class to the AquaX race programme in Scotland and Wales, with 11-year-old Lucy Gadsby winning both races. My happiest moment was seeing Richard Rowe’s hard work and determination finally rewarded when he was crowned 250 class champion. Wales should be proud of him.”
The 2016 race season will be remembered for a number of things: a typically British summer with severe sea conditions at times, welcoming new venues and partners on-board and some superb racing in front of bumper crowds.
If 2017 proves half as exciting as 2016 then we are in for yet another cracking year of P1 AquaX racing around the UK.