The man who promoted Class 1 offshore powerboating dies following serious car accident in Cuba

Italian Mauro Ravenna died in Cuba on May 27 after a serious car accident, never leaving intensive care. He was in his mid-70s.

Ravenna will be remembered for his efforts in the 1980s to elevate top league offshore powerboat racing to a professional level.

With agreement of the Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), the world governing body for powerboat sport, he set about rewriting the world championship requirements.

His first move was to convert the racing format from genuine offshore courses into short multi-lap contests off the shoreline; his aim was to encourage spectator and media interest to gain financial support from race venue towns.

It was this, and his high fixture fee, that left the world famous Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race high and dry. Without Ravenna’s fixture fee and cooperation, what until then had been leading international events were refused world championship status.

This resulted in the big names staying away, leaving events such as Cowes relying on lesser known teams.

When the economic decline began to bite, financial support of the required level also declined leaving the world Class 1 series dependent on Middle Eastern support, from the UAE in particular.

When his UIM contract expired Ravenna switched his interest to Aquabike racing.

Today the international Class 1 racing fleet has shrunk from some 20 boats to eight with only six starting in the second of the two-race opening championship round in Brazil in March.