Disappointment as Plymouth left out yet again

Plymouth has been left out of the 2008 Class 1 World Powerboat Championship for the second year running.

Class 1, powerboating’s premier league, announced its 2008 calendar at the Düsseldorf Boat Show.

Plymouth was one of the most popular venues but wrangles over insurance and local sponsorship meant it was left off the calendar last year, and the thousands that crowded onto Plymouth Hoe to catch the action will be disappointed yet again this year.

This despite the fact that Class 1’s most successful ever competitor is Steve Curtis, from Southampton. UK crowds will not have a chance to see him race, nor will they be able to cheer on local hero Plymouth businessman and fellow Class 1 competitor Chris Parsonage.

Instead the series visits a number of new venues including Montenegro, the Ukraine and Romania.

Nevertheless, Class 1 organisers are calling the line-up ‘enthralling’.

Those who follow the team line-ups will be interested to hear of several significant changes in driver-throttleman partnerships, notably concerning Steve Curtis.

Qatar team principal Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani has revealed he will join eight-time world champion Curtis inQatar 96, with Matteo Nicolini partnering Abdullah Al-Sulaiti inQatar 95. Both boats will be powered by Skema V12 units.

This follows the sale of Curtis’ previous team Spirit of Norway to the Qatar team boss last month.

Victory team manager Gianfranco Venturelli has confirmed that the 2007 Class 1 World and European Champions, Arif Saif Al Zafeen and Jean-Marc Sanchez, will compete in different boats, although the new pairings will not be revealed until just before the first race.

Giampaolo Montavoci has confirmed Norwegian, Kolbjorn Selmer as his new wheelman inForesti & Suardiand Ugland Offshore Racing confirmed that throttleman Jorn Tandberg will be joined in the cockpit by newcomers, Inge Brigt Aarbakke and Bjorge Jacobsen sharing the driving duties. Nicola Giorgi is yet to announce who will partner him in 2008 but has confirmed the team have replaced their Cougar with a Michael Peters designed-Victory hull.

Team One will be making its Class 1 debut in 2008 but the driver partnership has yet to be confirmed. One name being mentioned is Frenchman, Jerome Brarda. A second new Team will be headed by Domenico Cirilli.

The only outfit to be fielding an unchanged line-up in 2008 isNegotiator, with Plymouth’s Chris Parsonage and Norwegian Bard Eker staying with the Sterling V8s. They will be out to build on their impressive second half season-showing and double podium success in 2007.

2008 CALENDAR

1 March – QATAR, Doha

25 May – MONTENEGRO, Budva

15 or 22 June – SPAIN, Andalucía (reserve date)

20 July – NORWAY, Arendal

17 August – UKRAINE, Yalta (reserve date)

31 August – ROMANIA, Constanta-Mamaia

18 October – EGYPT, Porto Sokhna

7 November – BAHRAIN (reserve date)

29 November – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Dubai

6 December – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Dubai