Shock horror: the BBC acknowledges our sport!
Powerboat P1 World Champions James Sheppard and Craig Wilson have received invitations to attend this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards.
The news is a fillip for powerboating, which has been steadfastly ignored by the BBC awards, even when Britain’s Steve Curtis won his eighth world title in Class One, the sport’s equivalent of Formula One.
James (pictured right) and Craig, who won P1’s Evolution Class, will take their places along some of world’s sporting heroes at the NEC, Birmingham, on Sunday 9 December.
The event has an estimated live TV audience of 18 million.
P1 say: “Receiving such recognition from the BBC reflects the level of achievement by Craig and James and the growing stature of the Powerboat P1 World Championship.”
However, with bookies favourites Lewis Hamilton, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe to contend with, the two powerboat racers probably won’t have a chance at the overall award.
Craig Wilson (Throttleman)
Craig moved to Switzerland at the age of nine where he excelled at basketball and soccer, playing for the Swiss under 16’s as striker. At 16, he became the youngest ever player to get into the Swiss division 1 basketball team. When his father’s job changed, he moved to USA at 18 and has lived in Florida ever since. He started powerboat racing in 2001 at the SBI World Championships in New Orleans with his father and elder sister, where he finished third in a Fountain 42. In 2002 Craig ran a new boat, again with Yanmar engines, with Bill Mazzoni and won his first race in Sarasota. He raced with Mazzoni in 2003 in P4 then upgraded to Supervee in 2005. Craig is the President of Fountain Worldwide, the worldwide distributor for Fountain Powerboats.
James Sheppard (Driver)
James started racing powerboats at the age of 12. In his early teens he built and raced 197cc 2 Stroke Villiers Powered go-karts; following this he looked at motorsports but chose boats instead. He drove an 8.9 HP Yamaha-Powered Dart on club and national circuits for two years. He then returned to race in 2001 and won 130HP Honda title in his 1st year and in 2002. He stepped up into Honda 225 class and won the title in 2003 and 2004. In 2005 James raced Pro-vee Euro cup and Super-vee in Key West. Aside from powerboat racing, James is the Managing Director of Millers Foods, a frozen food importers based in Surrey and is also a commercial property developer. His latest powerboating achievement is winning Supervee World Championship in Key West last November.