AFTER six years, the Powerboat National Championships returns to East London, where more than 50 boats will compete for a chance to take part in the World Championships in October.
Originating in South Africa in the late 1980s, powerboat racing has grown over the years locally and on an international level.
“It’s an exciting sport – and you get to spend the whole day on the beach. Racing can get technical, but it is definitely a lot of fun,” Border inflatable boat club chairman Chad Romans said.
The sport requires two members – a pilot and a co-pilot – to steer the boat to the finish line. Three classes of boats, namely the Standard, Blue print and Modified classes, race in two different disciplines, the Surf race and the Longhaul.
Taking place at Gonubie Beach, the Surf race will see competitors race in and out of the surf line.
The Longhaul, at the Orient Beach, will see competitors race 12 laps, a total of 120km, without stopping along the Esplanade, down to Nahoon reef and back.
The top boat in each class will earn a shot at bagging the World Championship title in France later this year.
Set to be televised on Super Sport, the national event will also see past and present World Champions battle it out to the finish line.
The likes of 2017 World Champions in the Modified class Johan Lodewyk (pilot), Flippie Schoeman (co-pilot) as well as 2017 World Champions in the Blue print class Eben de Bod (pilot) and Gerhard Ferhout (co-pilot) will be taking part.
Powerboat legends such as Zane Schomkmecht and Mike Hatting will be competing for a shot at the national title.
“Zane and Mike both started out in the late 80’s, early 90’s just as the sport was starting up and they are still racing today,” said Romans.
The event will be held over the weekend of February 3-4 and promises to an exciting and adrenaline filled weekend.