The rebuilding process continues for Class 1 offshore powerboat racing in the United States as the 222 Offshore Australia team announced plans today to return to competition in the United States next year. As they did for all international offshore teams, pandemic travel restrictions kept the 222 outfit in its homeland in 2020, which saw the cancellation of the entire American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series, where the team finished second in 2019 behind the Dubai-based Victory team.
An instant hit with stateside fans in 2019, the 222 Offshore Australia team is planning to return to the Class 1 ranks with new graphics next year. Photos courtesy/copyright EMB Photographics.
“Putting racing aside, it’s been a difficult time in general over the last two years,” said Darren Nicholson, the driver of 222 Offshore Australia, in a press release from Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore this morning, “It’s great to be making firm plans to return to the U.S. and go racing again, and we’ll be looking to go one better than when we finished second behind Victory team in 2019.
Planning to return in 2020, the 222 Offshore Australia team stored the Mercury Racing 1100 Competition engines for its 49-foot Victory catamaran after the 2019 season. The team plans to return well in advance of the May season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., to prepare.
“Our gear is always well-looked-after and before the crew flew back to Australia in 2019 the engines were put to bed and stored for the off-season,” said Nicholson. “We were expecting that to last three months, not two years, so I suspect there will be plenty of work ahead of us.”
Added Skye Gregory, the team’s marketing manager, “With the team planning to spend a significant amount of time in the U.S. next year, we are looking to expand into our own race shop on the Gulf Coast of Florida, We have the advantage of being familiar with the race sites and we’ve gained a solid supporter base over there, so we really want to come back in 2022 with a new look and some exciting marketing initiatives.”
Said 222 Offshore driver Darren Nicholson, “It’s great to be making firm plans to return to the U.S. and go racing again.”
The official announcement of the 222 Offshore Australia team’s plans is more good news for Class 1 and the sport in general. Earlier this month, Sweden-based Huski Chocolate and Husky Wear announced it had purchased the former Miss GEICO raceboat and plans to campaign it in Class next year.
“The decision by 222 Offshore Australia to return to Class 1 next year is superb news in respect of our aim to grow the class in the United States and at the same time develop plans to globalize the series over the coming years with a strong line-up of international teams and TV coverage, plus livestreaming,” said Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of the United Kingdom-based Powerboat P1 organization, which holds the international rights to Class 1 offshore racing for the next 10 years. “We want to return Class 1 to the summit of offshore racing by attracting more teams and building the worldwide television audience.”