by Bob Wonders
Kirk Tsaccounis, managing director of the F1 Superboat Series, admitted there had been 'much speculation’ concerning the future of the series on the Queensland Gold Coast.
Rhys Coles goes through to take out race 1 at the Gold Coast round of the F1 Superboat Series.
'The F1 Superboat Series has an excellent and established relationship with the Gold Coast City Council and with Gold Coast Tourism, both of whom have been very supportive of the event for the past four-years,' he explained.
'Long term relationships have also been formed with many businesses and sponsors in the region as well as tremendous support from both boating and non-boating enthusiasts.
'However, this year’s event has been riddled with unnecessary bureaucracy and expense, created by one person in the Gold Coast Water Police and filtering through to a selected few high ranking police.
Kirk Tsaccounis, Formula 1 Superboat Series director at Southport. - F1 superboats
'This in turn caused much disharmony between relevant government departments and has resulted in our approval process becoming a nightmare and lead to a loss of $80,000 for the series.
'These ‘selected people’ did their utmost to stop and de-rail the event, even after approval had been granted, involving as many people as possible to give the series grief.
'In short a blatant misuse of power driven by ego maniacs who believe they are above everything and anyone else. Basically a vendetta was conducted against an organisation that stood up for its rights.'
Tsaccounis said no similar problems had ever been previously encountered in other areas.
'In the past 10-years conducting F1 events, we have formed many solid working relationships with both State and Local Government bodies and their respective authorities,' he said.
'We have never before struck anything like the Gold Coast situation, where a selected few are eager to destroy a person’s livelihood and a sport that has entertained and showcased the region through television coverage and been embraced by the local community for more than four-years.
'Although these issues are a major concern and would need to be remedied, the F1 Superboat Series has not discounted the Gold Coast as a future round for its national series,' he added.
Tsaccounis said that recent visits to the Gold Coast by promoters of the World F1 and F2 series had been involved in discussions with the F1 Superboat Series management and were eager to see Australia involved as host to a world championship round.
'This would certainly include the possibility of the Gold Coast being a venue with the capability of playing host to competitors from up to 45 nations and more than 20,000 spectators,' he said.
'It’s an arrangement between the world promoters of Formula 1 and the F1 Superboat Series, but it could only occur if the Gold Coast issues are resolved.
Starter sends the field away at the Gold Coast F1 Superboat Series. - F1 Gold Coast
Footnote: The 'one person' in the Gold Coast Water Police mentioned above by Tsaccounis was named last week by an official of the Australian Power Boat Association as Sergeant Mark Kelly.
Powerboat-World also received severe criticism of police behaviour at the event, many spectators claiming Police officers were rude and 'threw their weight around.'