Despite some bad weather this past Saturday, the Powerboat 1 (P1) Aqua Cross (AquaX) Bahamas World Championship carried on and organizers of the event are looking forward to next year’s edition.
The event that began on Friday, November 8 and wrapped up on Sunday, November 10 was held at Nassau Harbour.
It saw some 30-plus jet ski riders from some eight countries battle for two world championship titles – Enduro and Sprint.
In the end, it was American Eric Francis, racing for Broward Motorsport, who emerged as the winner in the Enduro race. He was perfect in all three of his races, winning them comfortably.
On the Sprint side, it was the United Kingdom’s Simon Gill who was the first world champion in that race. He rides for Twothree Motorsport.
Azam Rangoonwala, chief executive officer for P1 AquaX, said he enjoyed the experience.
“The experience has been incredible here from start to finish. Coming here about a year ago and planning this event, sending our operations team and working with the Atlantis staff has been incredible. The logistics has been a lot easier than we had expected – coming to a different country,” Rangoonwala said.
He continued: “From a racing perspective, this race course is incredible. We knew from when we first saw the location that it will be just like a stadium. The conditions were great today. Obviously, the winds had picked up a little bit (Saturday) and we had to call it off in the afternoon, but the morning race was excellent.”
Rangoonwala was impressed at the high level of competition.
Ed Fields, senior vice-president of public affairs at Atlantis resort, said they will see how to grow the event for next year and possibly years to come.
“It has been a great weekend and as you can see from the set-up perspective, everything is perfect. What we are going to do now is focus on how to grow it, how to get more folks to come out and enjoy it, although we have a fairly decent crowd today. We are just going to focus on how we can improve and grow it over the next couple years,” Fields said.
Lisa Barsby, global head of P1 AquaX, was impressed with the event and looks forward to planning next year’s.
“We now know what we are dealing with. It has very much been a work in progress. We had to be very fluid and the Atlantis team has been absolutely superb in working with us and nailing down the details. From the P1 side, we’re very happy with it. We know where we can improve and we have a year to plan the next one,” Barsby said.
She was grateful to Atlantis, the Ministry of Tourism, Port Department and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for controlling traffic at the harbor.
With Atlantis hosting other sports such as golf, basketball, gymnastics and now jet ski races, Fields said the resort is focused on bringing persons to the destination.
“We are focused on bringing events to the destination that brings people to the destination, whatever that might be. Since we were approached by P1 and working with the Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB), we were able to get this event off the ground. I am very pleased with the work that our teams have done – Atlantis, along with the Ministry of Tourism and NPIPB, because what you want to do is have a successful event that you can build on. I think we have surpassed our expectations in terms of staging the event,” Fields stated.
After next year’s event and depending on how they see the growth of it, Fields added that he hopes they can keep hosting it for many years to come.
The P1 AquaX chief executive officer is looking to have more riders for next year now that the buzz has been created.
“We want to keep consistent. We are coming back around the same time of the year and we have 32 riders here this year and we are looking at having a 40-rider fleet next year. I think having this event in place now, going into next season, the U.S. series, as I have mentioned before, is the race to The Bahamas, so we are going to be promoting all year long how to get here and the qualifying route to get here,” Rangoonwala said.
Barsby said that P1 brought in about 45 of their race crew over the weekend inclusive of television production, race officials, safety, hospitality and administration.
According to Rangoonwala, they have a global following who were tuned in via Facebook live. There will also be a post-show on CBS Network on December 1 at noon, as well as Fox Sports Florida and other Fox regional channels. In the UK, it will air on Sky Sports. Their television partner Greenlight TV will also broadcast last weekend around the world.
This was the second P1 AquaX. The first edition was in 2017. Brian Baldwin was the winner that year.