Man and Machine against the Sea
For the first time in Spain’s history, the World Championship Powerboats circuit of Class-1, The premium category of outboard powerboats, racing across the ocean at impressively high speeds, will put Ibiza on the front line of the international sports scene.
Together with IWC (Ibiza World Championship) and H20, local and international promoters, Ibiza will host from 5th to 7th September 2014, the Ibiza Mediterranean Grand Prix 2014, the Class-1 World Championship of Powerboats and Aquabikes.
The events will involve several locations including Marina Ibiza which will be the base of the paddock and the Class-1 boxes, and will be the area for the starts and finishes of the boat races, as well. The facilities will also allow the attendees to witness the Freestyle night show.
The race field will be located in Platja d’en Bossa, a unique spot that will allow every spectator to see the spectacular races. In addition, Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, are located in the middle of the Ibiza Mediterranean Grand Prix 2014. Their exclusive facilities and outdoor stages will host excellent leisure activities and music that will add even more entertaining content to this top-notch event.
History of speed
Thirty three titles have been won by Americans, 19 by Italians, 15 by competitors from the UAE, eight by a Briton, six by Norwegians, two by competitors from Monaco and Puerto Rico and one each by representatives from Brazil, Finland and Saudi Arabia. Five champions have taken their titles as novices in their first season in Class I racing and only four driver/throttleman partnerships have managed back-to-back titles, Bonomi/Powers in 1973/4, S Al Tayer/Serralles in 1995/6, Gjelsten/Curtis in 2002/3 and Al Zafeen/Bin Hendi in 2009/2010.
The last year 30-years have not only witnessed an evolution in the technical side of the sport, but a major overhaul to the overall make-up of the championship, becoming a far more international affair. In the early years, it was commonplace for teams to field two boat entries, competing in as many as 18 races at venues across America, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, France, Italy and the UK.
In 1992 the Championship reverted to a multi-event competition and more importantly in the following years the diversity of nationalities claiming the World Drivers’ Championship swelled in numbers including America, Great Britain, Italy, Monaco, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Speeds have altered beyond all recognition. In the early 1960’s, races were regularly won at averages of below 30mph (48km/h) but it was the advent of catamarans in the 1980’s that allowed the magic barrier of 100mph (160km/h) to be regularly exceeded and now, winning averages of 125mph (200km/h) or more are not unusual.
This quest for speed has produced boats, engines and transmission systems which are inevitably more sophisticated and the use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) with advanced composites using Kevlar and carbon fibre has made them safer.
The crews of yester year stood up to the elements as they struggled with navigation, throttles and the wheel, taking a battering from the elements with little protection. Today’s drivers and throttle-men enjoy the advantages of being strapped securely into body-hugging seats within safety cells beneath lexan canopies borrowed from the aerospace industry, whilst monitoring their progress on equally advanced global positioning systems (GPS).
These and all the other factors have shaped Class 1 powerboat racing into what it is today. But one aspect hasn’t changed in the past forty-odd years of action – the sea. And for all the progress made, and the highly professional sport that it has become, Class 1 still shares the same ingenuity and ethos of its founders – man and machine against the sea.