The Cowes Classic, Britain's premier offshore powerboat race is to be held over its traditional 220 mile return course to Torquay.

The Cowes Classic, Britain’s premier offshore powerboat race is to be held over its traditional 220 mile return course to Torquay. The event which launched modern offshore racing throughout Europe in 1961, has not run to its West Country turning point for more than a decade.

The welcome move has been introduced by the recently formed British Powerboat Racing Club which has taken over the organisation of the event. Its principals include former racers, The Earl of Normanton, Lord Beaverbrook and Lady Aitken who have led the call to restore the world famous event to its traditional values felt by many to have been the halcyon days of the sport. Lord Beaverbrook comments: “This will be a new era for the race which my father started four decades ago. We have had traffic response to the Club and are committed to bringing back some of the old glory to this historic event. We wish to encourage greater interest and participation in powerboat racing with fresh incentives such as the entry of production monohulls bringing an exciting new dimension to the sport. We are therefore keen to build on what is already a great event and return to the format of racing so enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike.”

John Walker, the new event Director said, “This race began as a passage for motor cruisers between Cowes and Torquay, no mean challenge 41 year ago. It’s therefore our intention to rekindle international interest so that the world’s manufactures will once again use the event as a test-bed to improve the breed still further.”

The challenge of the old course has proved irresistible for the International Endurance fleet who have confirmed that the 2001 Cowes Classic will provide the final round of their World and European Championship title race.

The new Pro-Vee class, promoted by Britain’s former World Class I (16 litre) Champion, Steve Curtis from Hampshire, has also picked up the gauntlet and ten entries are on the cards. “We hope to race from Cowes to Torquay and back,” says Curtis. “Personally I believe the Pro-Vee boats are capable of taking on the best of the large European Endurance fleet and wining. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. To win the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes is to win the greatest race in the world.”

This year’s Cowes Classic will revert to the original racing programme with a rolling start for the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes fleet off the Royal Yacht Squadron on the Saturday, September 1. The traditional ‘Round the Island’ race for all competitors returns on Sunday, September 2. The event will also host rounds of the RYA British National Championship, the RHIB World Cup and the popular Honda Formula Four Stroke and Honda Super series.