There is a new name on the P1 race calendar this year with the international marine motorsport promoter having announced earlier this year that Pensacola, the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, will host the final round of its AquaX Pro Enduro personal watercraft national championship this weekend.
In January, P1 unveiled an extensive 2019 race programme that has seen it stage more than twenty pwc and powerboat racing events on three continents since April.
This will be the first visit by P1 AquaX to the city, where around 70 professional and amateur riders from around the world will compete at speeds of up to 80mph in the two-day, free-to-watch event at Pensacola Beach.
Michelle Petro, P1 USA’s Championship Manager, explained: “We will be partnering with Pensacola Sports, the sports tourism arm of Visit Pensacola, to deliver a memorable weekend of sport and entertainment that will generate revenue for the local economy. When we launched P1 AquaX in the USA in 2013 just seven riders competed in the opening races and now our events here in Florida often attract over 100 – that’s testament to the growth of AquaX as a sport and the impact it brings to the local area.”
Pensacola offers outstanding natural beauty – including crystal blue waters and its famous white-sand beaches – together with more than 450 years of history, diverse culture and superb coastal cuisine.
It is the home of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum, and has a variety of nicknames including “Western Gate to the Sunshine State.”
Ray Palmer, President & CEO of Pensacola Sports, said:
“Escambia County and ourselves will be very happy to welcome the P1 AquaX Grand Prix racing to Pensacola Beach. We look forward to having the competitors, crews, their families and fans experience all the wonderful attributes of our community.
The open waters of the Gulf of Mexico will challenge their skills and equipment to the fullest extent and we wish them all the best of luck for the season ahead.”
P1 AquaX attracts some of the best professional riders in the world as well as leading amateurs to its race series in the USA, Europe and UK.
Brian Baldwin from North Carolina, who was crowned first ever P1 AquaX world champion in 2017 and is currently No. 1 in the Lucas Oil AquaX world rankings, can’t wait to take on the testing waters at Pensacola Beach:
“The Panhandle has the most beautiful beaches in Florida and I would rate Pensacola among the best.
The surf is always pretty awesome and I’m super pumped up to see that AquaX will be racing there.”
Baldwin will be aiming to hold on to his 21-point lead in the championship standings to claim the national title for the first time in his long career before he prepares to head to the Atlantis Resort near Nassau for the P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship in November.
The 13-event AquaX international calendar includes six race weekends in the USA, with Florida hosting five rounds and the riders having headed north to Michigan City last month before competing in Pensacola on September 7/8.
“It’s been six months of fast, furious and highly competitive sporting action” added Petro.
“There will be almost 30 professional riders on the water at Pensacola Beach competing in four races over the weekend and the schedule will also include Sprint racing.”
Roy Mantle has more than 25 years experience in sales, marketing, PR, sponsorship, events and sports management both in-house with blue-chip companies and as a consultant.
He founded and ran two successful sports marketing agencies in the 1980s before becoming head of PR & sponsorship for Guinness in 1992, where he first became interested in environmental issues.
He negotiated and helped to plan the activation programme for the Guinness sponsorship of the 1999 Rugby World Cup and managed the Guinness sponsorship of London Irish for nearly a decade.
He has worked on projects for the Department of Education since 2002, handled the Guinness sponsorship at Cheltenham Racecourse for more than 15 years and is currently Company Secretary & In-House PR for Powerboat P1.