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Macau’s First Powerboat Championship

by Suzy Rayment 7 May 12:23 UTC 3-5 May 2019
Macau APA Championship 2019. Plenty of on-water action. © Lowell M

Britain’s Andy Wilby has won the Inaugural Macau Asia Powerboat Championships held at Fisherman’s Wharf this weekend (3-5 May, 2019). The highly competitive fleet of 12 one-design racing powerboats saw top seed Miles Jennings (GBR) finishing in second place, and Erko Aabrhams (EST) in 3rd. Organised by the Hong Kong-based Asia Powerboat Association (APA) and sponsored by the Macau Legend Development Group, the three-day event was the first of its kind in this motor and race mad city. With positive support from the local authorities and the community the Asia Powerboat Championship will no doubt become a permanent fixture on the Macau sporting calendar.

Saturday was the first day of racing, and drivers faced challenging conditions with a combination of wind and chop that saw numerous boats soaring through the air as drivers crossed wakes and sped around marks. The tough racing conditions took their toll, with one race being abandoned, and then - during the third race - a racing incident between Maurizio Carando (ITA), who was leading at the time, and Campbell Jenkins (AUS) that resulted in significant damage to both boats, and put both drivers out of action for the rest of the competition.

Sunday’s racing began with the pole positions reversed, and this, combined with milder conditions, meant that some of the younger and less experienced racers in the fleet had an opportunity to shine. Charlotte Camsey (GBR), who replaced Mette Brandt Bjerknæs (NOR) withdrawing as a result of an recurring injury, was the only female driver in the 12- pilot line up. Camsey came third in the final race of the day, showed that her driving skills were highly competitive against the veteran line up that included the well known names of David Sheldon, Barry Culver, Ricky Hill, Glynn Norvall and local driver Siu Chun Kit from Hong Kong.

Alan Ng, the youngest and only Macanese driver in the event, admitted that was his first experience of powerboat racing. “It’s challenging and demanding, both physically and mentally. However, the speed and excitement that you experience on the water is fantastic and very addictive. I am sure that I will be back, along with many of my friends who will definitely want to be competing against me.”

Race Director Rory Power was delighted with the success of the event and believes that Macau has a lot to offer the future development of this sport. “It is never easy running a race for the first time in a new city, but Macau’s rich history of motorsports makes it the perfect venue to host this event. We as an Association are committed to promoting and developing these competitions around Asia, and we look forward to returning to this amazing city, which never sleeps and brings such a wealth of cultural experiences to the occasion.” Jean-Marie Van Lancker, a board member of Union International Motonautique (UIM), which is the governing body for the sport, was in Macau on an unofficial visit to see first hand how racing is being developed in Asia. Lancker said, “The sport needs to engage with a new and younger audience going forward, and Asia provides an exciting opportunity in this respect.”

The competition finished on a high note with a grand Gala Dinner held at the Fisherman’s Wharf Convention and Exhibition centre. Local dignitaries, members of the APA, and sponsors all joined together to celebrate the inaugural Macau Powerboat Racing Championship and to toast to the future of powerboat racing in Asia.

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