It has been a roller coaster introduction to international powerboat racing for International Sea Racing (ISR), the organisers of the UIM Ocean Grand Prix World Endurance Championship, whose successful debut event in Malta was followed by the cancellation of its Dutch GP, planned for this weekend in Den Helder, Holland.
Now ISR is focussing its energies on its next two events, a Sicilian double-bill with the first event taking place in Syracuse over the weekend of 3/4 September, followed two weeks later by races in Milazzo, another historic and stunning location situated further north on a narrow peninsula within the Tyrrhenian coastline.
“We are very excited to be heading for Sicily and have reached a long term arrangement for the UIM Ocean Grand Prix to return for at least the next three years,” confirms Dr Pio Valletta, Chairman, International Sea Racing. “It is important that we establish a consistency in our annual race programme in much the same way that Formula One does, returning to high quality venues year on year. Sicily has recognised the potential of our sport as a spectacle and a global marketing platform. We are guaranteed a warm welcome, excellent facilities and the ongoing and enthusiastic support of the local government and its tourism department.”
“Sicily is already a popular venue for teams and has demonstrated its ability to host major sporting events,” continues Valletta. “By introducing a second event on this beautiful Island we ensure that transportation and logistics costs are minimised whilst guaranteeing competitors a climate and environment that will whet their appetites for adventure on and off the water. This is a much needed boost for ourselves and our teams after the disappointment of the recent cancellation so early in our tenure. Unfortunately, we had no option when it became apparent that our Dutch promoter could not fulfil his obligations and certain permissions remained unsecured.”
Syracuse was founded by the Ancient Greek Corinthians and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The dramatic architecture of the ancient citadel will provide an evocative backdrop to races 3, 4 & 5 in the 2011 UIM Ocean Grand Prix World Endurance Championship, taking place on 3rd and 4th September.