Top-class powerboat racing set for Bermuda

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  • Full speed ahead: UIM Class 1 powerboats, like this Victory Team racer, could be coming to the island (Photograph supplied)

    Full speed ahead: UIM Class 1 powerboats, like this Victory Team racer, could be coming to the island (Photograph supplied)


Plans to bring UIM-sanctioned offshore powerboat racing to Bermuda’s shores are moving ahead at full throttle.

If all goes accordingly, local promoter Karl Outerbridge intends to launch the Bermuda Triangle Cup, which has been endorsed by powerboating’s world governing body and has garnered the verbal support of the American Powerboat Association.

The Bermuda Triangle Cup will be an annual three-race series involving UIM and North American racing syndicates with the possibility of local racers being involved as well.

The opening race will be held in Bermuda in the spring with the remaining races at two Caribbean venues yet to be determined.

“The idea I had years ago was what can I do to enhance Bermuda as a tourist destination,” Outerbridge said. “Marine sports was the theme I focused on and then I discovered UIM Class 1/V1 racing,” Outerbridge said. “Class 1/V1 racing is the highest level of UIM racing. The UIM is the equivalent of Fifa and they are based in Monaco, but within the Class 1/V1, the main players in it are Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai so there’s a lot of influence there and a lot of wealth that sits behind it.

“I wasn’t looking for a one-time hit but something that’s going to come back to Bermuda annually that’s going to give Bermuda exposure, give Bermudians that participate in that sport an opportunity to grow to become professional and just simply using Bermuda as the backdrop for a professional sport.

“The benefit that Bermuda gives to them is this sport has primarily been in Europe and they are looking for the American connection so Bermuda is being looked at as that bridge point between those two spots.

“As far as the business model is concerned, we are looking for companies that are looking for global exposure so we are being specific in who we are looking at.

“The Bermuda event is not an event where we are looking to charge a gate fee. We are going to be free as possible and really Bermuda is just going to be acting as the backdrop for that major brand.

“The media brand for Class 1/V1 in the past, just to give an example how deep they went in pushing the product out, Lufthansa Airlines flies across Europe and each race was a part of their in-flight entertainment.

“But the one thing I noticed is that did not have any American racing exposure back in 2012, so I approached CNBC and started striking up deals and some of those deals were getting up to 300 million households for under half-a-million dollars, so I was getting some awesome exposure.”

The series will be contested in UIM Class 1 catamarans and UIM V1 monohulls, capable of speeds reaching 200 miles an hour.

“The boats are 44 feet by 9.85 to be exact and have a top speed of around 175 miles per hour,” Outerbridge said.

“Some run Mercury and I believe the Dubai team run two V-12 Lamborghini engines each putting out up to 930bhp, so these are some really, really serious machines.”

The Bermuda leg of the series will see teams compete on a provisional seven-mile looped racecourse located off the island’s East End, with the race village being located either Marginal Wharf or Penno’s Wharf in St George’s Harbour, and will be held during the week of the annual May 24th Bermuda Day holiday.

“The plan has always been that it has to be during the week of 24th of May because of one: the weather, it’s outside of Bermuda’s hurricane season and our winter period. And two: we already have a holiday where there is a parade and with all of these races they have boat parades so why not stick the boats in the parade. Imagine 20 44ft boats on trailers going through the Heritage Day parade.”

Outerbridge is scheduled to meet with sports minister Zane DeSilva and has been invited by Marco Sala, the UIM consultant and former International Offshore Team Association general secretary, to meet with him and other major UIM stakeholders in Florida.

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Published Sep 8, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 7, 2017 at 11:32 pm)

Top-class powerboat racing set for Bermuda

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