Race favourite goes out a mile down the course

Race favourite Fabio Buzzi did well to keep his cool as spectator boats surrounded his damaged craft, minutes after the start of the Round Britain Powerboat Race this morning.

The Italian, perhaps the biggest name in powerboating and a clear favourite to take overall honours, hit a submarine barrage off Portsmouth moments before the race started.

His boat’s rudder was damaged and the craft, Red FPT, only made it around a mile up the Solent before Buzzi was forced to stop.

One of his crew jumped into the Solent to inspect the damage as Buzzi looked on, outwardly calm but presumably deeply disappointed.

Buzzi won the Round Britain Powerboat Race the last time it was held, in 1984, and has gone to some lengths to retain the title.

His boat Red FPT is better known as Cesa, one of the most successful race boats and record breakers the sport has ever seen and one of Buzzi’s own designs.

After a wildly successful career, however, the craft disappeared and was found a few years ago deserted and somewhat unloved in the USA.

British racers Miles Jennings and Drew Langdon brought the boat back to life, before Buzzi took the project on himself at his Lake Como base in Italy.

He has recently installed four Fiat Powertrain Technologies engines in a clear bid to keep hold of the coveted Round Britain trophy.

Now that dream is in tatters, but hopes are high he will return to the race in Plymouth or Milford Haven.

Boats are allowed to miss legs of the race; they simply drop down a classification from Gold Finisher to Silver Finisher or Bronze Finisher.

Red FPT’s high profile exit leaves the battle for overall honours wide open, with a number of serious contenders.

Among them are certainly Racing Silverline, who won the first leg today and whose star-studded team is made up of Drew Langdon, Miles Jennings and Jan Falkowski.

MBY’s Derek Wynans is hoping to join them later in the race.