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Racing into 2020 Reality

With the vast majority of the planet currently struggling to get to grips with COVID-19 and how to stop the spread and eventually find a cure for COVID-19, it’s fair to say that what’s happening in the sporting world is not high on many people’s agendas right now.

Several major sporting events, set to take place this year have already either been cancelled or rescheduled, examples being the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games and the UEFA EURO 2020, now both moved to 2021.

Although not at that level, powerboat racing has also been affected with the opening two rounds of the F1H2O season being ‘postponed’ and the 24 H Motonautiques of Rouen 2020 moved to the opening weekend of October, and the Cork300 International Powerboat Festival, which was due to take place over the weekend 11-12 July now cancelled.

In a recent email, the UIM F2 Race Director, Pelle Larson asked the question of what will happen with our powerboating sport, especially with F2 & F4?

For those two classes, he said that the National Authorities organise the races together with the local clubs.

It means that the National Authorities in each country are the only ones who can actually cancel a race, not the UIM.

For the moment, the UIM has not received any cancellation of F2 & F4 titled events.

He went on to say that he hoped the wait wouldn’t be too long, but his feeling was that we may well have to wait until at least August before anything will happen.

Before then the UIM will hold its normal midterm meeting.

This time though it will be via a Video Conference taking place at the end of April. One question many competitor will want an answer will be how can a season’s worth of racing be condensed into the last four months of the year without too many dates clashing?

We have already seen that the 2020 American Power Boat Association offshore racing opener, ‘Thunder on Cocoa Beach’, which was due to be held over May 14-17, has now been moved to August 27-30 and will clash with the 60th running of the Cowes-Torquay International Powerboat Race depriving many of the racers the opportunity of competing at two of the best organised events on the calendar.

UIM F2 World Championship start grid back in 2000

For those competing in the UIM F2 Championship one solution that could be applied for this season only would mean reverting back to how the World Championship was competed for twenty years ago.

Back then eighteen racers gathered on the banks at Epinay-sur-Seine in France.

They included the likes of Fabio Comparato, Bruno Corsin, Thani Al Quenzy and Jerry Peachment.

Comparato was the obvious favourite for the title and by Saturday evening he held a one-point lead over the Swede Sven Jansson.

All that though was about to change in the fourth and final heat when Comparato and Jansson both crashed out on the opening lap.

Britain’s Jerry Peachman collects the UIM F2 World Championship title in 2000.

That allowed Peachment to snatch the twenty points he needed to secure the world title and finish just ahead of his fellow countryman Ted Walsh.

The ideal choice of a venue and date of this ‘one off winner takes all’ event is already slated into the UIM calendar and that would be Abu Dhabi in December.

Last season they showed that they are more than capable hosts and that it’s race course could easily accommodate 24 race boats on the start line if required.

Those racers who regularly attend the UIM F2 European Championship would already be familiar with the four-heat race weekend format.

Plus, if there were more than 24 entries attending the event it would give the race organiser the option of adding drivers who hadn’t originally made it through from Qualifying.

With the UIM F2 World Championship title up for grabs it might tempt more overseas competitors to get involved possibly shipping in boats from the USA and Australia to compete.

It could also be slightly more straight forward getting a race crew to spend a week away in December rather than them taking time off each month to help out at races.

There are many more questions that need answers and hopefully these might be answered in late April.

Until racing resumes let’s hope that we all stay safe and healthy plus respect the measures issued by governments to overcome the COVID-19 epidemic.

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