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New! Powerboat racing in Asia

by Suzy Rayment 28 May 2018 21:48 PDT
Fast, close, racing. Think 'go-karts on water'. © Guy Nowell /

Powerboat racing – hugely popular all over the world, and now it’s coming to Asia. “There’s a sporting vacuum here,” says Martin Lai, the world’s only Chinese Powerboat Racing Champion. “We are changing that with the introduction of the Asia Powerboat Championship, a hot new powerboat racing series that is high speed, high octane, speedster racing accessible to absolutely everyone.”

These boats have been specially designed for Asia,” says Lai. “They are small, fast, and easily transported in containers. Along with a workshop container, we can land a fleet of Shakespeare T750 powerboats practically anywhere, and have a pop-up racing event running in no time at all. And because they are all identical, right down to the engine trim angle, it’s the driver that counts, not the size of the chequebook. It’s proper ‘One Design’ racing.”

Lai and his team of professional drivers will be holding the first of the championship events in Hong Kong from 9-11 November in Tolo Harbour, along the Ma On Shan promenade. The three-day festival will see twelve brand new straight-out-of-the-box Shakespeare T750 racing boats with Tohatsu 50hp engines being piloted by top international drivers including Martin Lai, Sarah Donohue and Charlotte Camsey. The race village attractions will feature live entertainment, food stalls and a parade on Saturday 10 November 2018.

High Octane Sport! “This just a beginning,” says Lai, “There’s so much potential in China and Asia for this hugely exciting sport. We are in the process of creating a regional circuit, with championship events being hosted in China, Macau, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Practically anywhere that has a sheltered body of water for this class, and access for spectators, is suitable for powerboat racing.”

Powerboat racing is a unique motor sport, and is often considered to be even more demanding than the car-based motor sports. Asia Powerboat Development Ltd, the brainchild of Jacky Kong, Mark Tribe and Martin Lai, aims to create a power boating community of competitors, spectators and organisers.

“It’s a fast-growing participation sport,” says Jacky Kong, “and participation is the key. Hong Kong is surrounded by water so an exciting sport like this will engage the youth of the Greater Bay Area. The plan is to hold regular club racing throughout the year, supported by leadership and driver training so that the racing can take place in the safest possible environment."

Powerboat Racing in Asia A Press Conference was held on 26 May in the Exhibition Hall at the Shatin Heung Yee Kuk Building to promote the sport of Powerboat Racing in Asia, and the launch of the Hong Kong Powerboat Championship in November 2018. The organisers are grateful for the support of Dr Bernard Chan, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, and Lau Yip Keung, Chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk New Territories Council.

International Powerboat Pilots Martin Lai started his racing career in 2000 and has achieved major successes over recent years. He was the first ever Chinese race pilot, and has roared to several accolades in the UK’s RYA National Powerboat Championships, and scored a National Speed Record in the Open RIB class and has frequently been on the ‘A’ Class podium.

Sarah Donohue has over 25 years in the sport and over 200 races under her belt, she continues to race and is the Ambassador for the Asia Powerboat Series. A former European Powerboat Champion, Sarah orchestrated the famous pre-title chase boat chase scene in the James Bond Movie 'The World is Not Enough' and was 'hero' driver for Angelina Jolie in 'The Tourist'.

Charlotte Camsey is an aerospace engineer who started racing at 22 years of age. She was talented spotted by Ocean Dragon Racing, and is being trained to be a future Champion in the powerboat racing world.

For further information: Cherry Yick Tel: +852 98138344

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