Top powerboat race descends on Eastbourne

THE WATERS off Eastbourne are set to play host to one of the UK’s biggest powerboat races after the town was added to the roster of venues for the country’s top championship.

This year’s Powerboat P1 roadshow rolls into town on July 14 and 15 when it coincides with Eastbourne’s annual Extreme festival.

The town joins Plymouth, Hull, Cowes and Liverpool on the expanded five stop series which is already fast recruiting its seated drivers for the year.

While being fairly new to the motorsport scene, Powerboat P1 is considered one of the more cost-effective high speed pursuits.

Compared to the vast fortunes spent on fine-tuning racing cars, the outlay is small. Last year’s title winning team spent just £12,500 on its total campaign – with the cost shared between the driver and a navigator.

And, according to the people behind the event, that relative affordability makes it ideal for newcomers looking to dip their toe in the world of powerboating.

Although not yet confirmed, the Eastbourne meet is being earmarked for coverage on Sky Sports and the event is expected to attract thousands of people to Eastbourne.

That will no doubt be music to the ears of Eastbourne Borough Council and local businesses, who already benefit from large scale events like Airborne or the International Tennis Tournament.

Eastbourne rakes in tens of millions of pounds from its flagship events each year and the addition of the powerboat contest is likely to swell those coffers even further, with adrenaline junkies and speed freaks likely to head to the town’s seafront from all over the south east.

The next nearest similar event is in Cowes – on the Isle of Wight and a drive and ferry trip away.

Eastbourne Extreme has already established itself one of the town’s best weekends, with skateboarding, BMX’ing, windsurfing, rollerblading and scootering all helping the area shed its blue rinse reputation.

The race will now be on to try and earmark ways in which to cash in on the latest, high speed and drama-filled acquisition to the annual event.