In a joint press release this morning, London-based Powerboat P1 and the Union Internationale Motonautique, which is headquartered in Monaco, announced that the P1 group headed by Azam Rangoonwala has “been assigned the exclusive international rights to Class 1 offshore powerboat racing.” The 10-year deal includes promotional and organizational rights to the U.I.M. Class 1 World Championship, which was last held in 2016.
In 2019, three Class 1 teams competed in the six-race APBA series. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Dormant since then, Class 1 competition reappeared with three teams—222 Offshore of Australia, Dubai’s Victory outfit and Miss GEICO of the United States—in 2019 as part of the inaugural six-race American Powerboat Association Offshore Championship Series. The series was produced through a collaboration between the Offshore Powerboat Association, which is not involved in the new Class 1 promotion agreement, and the P1 group.
“We are extremely pleased to have found a strong promotion partner for the U.I.M Class 1 World Championship, who laid open the hidden potential of this supreme offshore racing class last year in the United States,” said Dr. Raffaele Chiulli, the president of the U.I.M., in the release “We look very much forward to taking the UIM Class 1 World Championship back where it belongs—to the pinnacle of offshore racing.”
Since its founding in 2002, the P1 organization has staged more than 600 races in 18 countries.
“Our relationship with the UIM spans almost two decades,” said Rangoonwala in the release. “We now have the exciting opportunity to grow the Class 1 championship in the United States and at the same time develop plans to globalize the series over the coming years.
“We are currently working with key stakeholders for the return of a six-venue series in 2021 with a strong line-up of international teams and TV coverage plus livestreaming,” he added.
Reached by phone, Rangoonwala said that Class 1 teams will have six races in the United States—COVID-19 pandemic allowing—in 2021. Most, though not all, will dovetail with the 2021 APBA series schedule released earlier this year. Rangoonwala declined to name the specific venues where Class 1 teams will compete.
“We’re not ready to do that yet,” he said. “But all six races next year will be in the U.S. And all six races where Class 1 is present will have livestream coverage and our full complement of media support.”
On its way to an APBA series title, the Victory team fielded two Class 1 boats against 222 Offshore and Miss GEICO at the 2019 season finale in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.
In the event that COVID-19 disrupts the 2021 season, the 10-year deal will carry forward to 2022, Rangoonwala added.
Steve Curtis, the veteran throttleman for the Miss GEICO team, represented the Class 1 group during the 2019 season. He applauded the announcement.
“The U.I.M.’s decision to appoint P1 as the new Class 1 promoter will come as very good news in the offshore racing world after the success of its operations in the APBA Championship last year,” he said in the release. “P1 will have our full co-operation and support in taking the U.I.M. Class 1 World Championship back to the summit where it belongs.”
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