With the first Powerboat (P1) Aqua Cross (AquaX) Bahamas World Championships in the books, the organizers are looking forward to seeing a Bahamian on the water competing with the professionals one day in front of their home fans.
This past weekend was their second world championships, but the first one to be held in The Bahamas.
Azam Rangoonwala, chief executive officer of P1 AquaX, said he is looking forward to seeing a Bahamian rider in the sport.
“We had a lot of feedback from the local Bahamians that we have local riders that can come out and can compete with these guys. We are looking forward to it,” Rangoonwala said. “This is the building of a sport and we are in the early stages of that and what we want to do is to give accessibility to the country here in order to get involved in our sport, so we are looking forward to coming back next year and building on what we have started here and getting the Bahamians well-involved in the sport too.”
Lisa Barsby, global head for P1 AquaX, said they would like to set up a series here with the proper training.
“We would happily come here, set up a series and train the local people to do the safety and the race officials and bring in the riders, train them to ride, set up a national series and when we come back, they can qualify to race with us in the world championship,” Barsby said.
Barsby, who helped to set up AquaX nearly 10 years ago, stated it was started from scratch and targeted recreational riders. According to her, the format involved purchasing stock ski and being trained by P1 on their courses. They ensure that riders wear the proper safety helmets.
There are three main professional circuits in AquaX – United States, Europe and the United Kingdom. Underlying those pro-circuits are amateur series where the amateur riders race to build their confidence before stepping up to the pro-series where they have to qualify.
Ed Fields, senior vice-president of public affairs at Atlantis, said he also hopes to see Bahamians on the circuit.
“One of the things that we will focus on is we are going to get with the local association and see if we can do some kind of a preliminaries scenario. As you notice this is a very organized, certified and safety conscious. What we are going to do is to get folks introduced into P1 and they can qualify and certified under P1 and depending on how that works out maybe they can do some amateur tournaments in the states because there’s a lot going on in Florida. If they can do that and get into the P1 circuit there’s nothing that will hold you back,” Fields said.
Barsby said she has seen a lot of local jet ski riders while she was here and mentioned how AquaX have set up set up a series in Malaysia
“We went to Malaysia and set up a novice series. We took all the local safety personnel and we trained them into the way of AquaX and they now run that series,” Barsby said. “If we ever have races there, we pull out all of their locals. It is a lot of opportunities not just for the racers here or the jet ski riders but also for anybody that is involved in the safety side.”
Two world champions were crowned on Sunday. The Enduro category was won by American Eric Francis and the Sprint was won by Simon Gill from the United Kingdom.
The 2020 edition of the world championship, the final year of the contract, will be held in The Bahamas.