Can an ambitious plan to bring the powerboat racing series to Hong Kong succeed?

The city is being lined up to host a leg of the world’s premier one-design powerboat racing series

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 April, 2017, 2:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 April, 2017, 2:14pm

Hong Kong is being lined up to host a leg of the world’s premier one-design powerboat racing series, with promoters eyeing a course in the waters directly off Tamar Park and a date this October.

“We’ve got the best harbour in the world and we’ve never had boats smashing through the water at 70 miles an hour,” said Alex Brazendale, managing director of event management company TCOB Media.

“The P1 [SuperStock] series is a globally televised sport and with this amazing skyline as a backdrop, it’s just waiting to happen.”

Brazendale said his company – behind such events as this week’s Hong Kong Beach 5s – had approached series organisers Powerboat P1 with the proposal and was now awaiting the response from various government departments.

Tentatively labelled “Harbour Rocks’’, the event would be spread over two days – Brazendale has suggested October 7 and 8 – and as well as the main leg of the P1 series, there would be a AquaX jetski series race, as well as ancillary entertainment attractions such as live music and a food and beverage village.

Known as the Grand Prix of the Seas, the P1 SuperStock series features up to six 30-45-minutes races between 8.7 metre P1 Panther boats boasting a 250-plus horse-powered engine. The current series travels to destinations in the United States, Britain and India, and as far afield as Mumbai and Scarborough.

“These boats are super quick and the races are spectacular,” said Brazendale. “Hong Kong has been on P1’s radar, they’ve always said ‘This is the place to do it.’ We think we’re in a position to help them do it and now we are just lining up the sponsors and ticking all the boxes with the government. The dates are on reserve and it’s a case of permission pending.”

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One sticking point looks to be the fact the proposed course sits right off the PLA dock on the waterfront – officially designated Chinese territory – which would affect prime viewing space.

Brazendale said the PLA had been approached and asked about what options might be available.

“We’re not sure yet,” Brazendale said. “We’re asking – and we’re waiting. We don’t need it, but it would be a brilliant space to have. We are working with the government and that’s all we can do.”

In response to queries about how the proposal was being viewed, a spokesman for the Tourism Commission said the government supports the development of “a great variety of events of different nature and scale, with a view to enriching and diversifying Hong Kong’s tourism products and attracting more visitors to our city.”

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“The government notes that an event organiser proposes to stage a powerboat event in Hong Kong, and relevant government departments have provided the necessary information and facilitation to the organiser. Subject to the provision of concrete details by the event proponent, including those about marine safety, the departments will assess the event proposal,’’ the spokesman said.