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F1 boat racing in Phuket confirmed



PHUKET: Phuket is to host a round of the world’s premier inshore powerboat racing championship, the UIM Formula I Powerboat Grand Prix, it was confirmed this week.

Phuket Chamber of Commerce Chairman Pamuke Archariyachai told Governor Udomsak Usawarangkura on October 5 that championship organisers UIM had selected Phuket Deep Sea Port at Cape Panwa as the venue for one of the races in the 2005 championship.

The event is expected to bring 12 of the world’s top powerboat racing teams to Phuket between March 8 and 14. Hoteliers in Kata and Karon have already pledged to provide 130 rooms for the teams.

Eight months later, in November – if all goes well – the island will host Class 1 powerboat racing, featuring the much larger offshore racing boats.

K. Pamuke, who described the March competition as “enormous and very important”, said F1 officials had approved Phuket as a venue after they came to the island last month to inspect facilities for competitors, support crew and spectators.

He said Gov Udomsak had agreed to ask the government for 30 million baht to promote world-class boat racing in Phuket. As a result, the governor is to submit a funding proposal to the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

“We will ask the government for this money because this event is enormous and very important,” K. Pamuke said.

The Gazette understands that local organizers expect to raise another 90 million baht from the private sector.

“If the first race here is successful,” K. Pamuke added, “the races could become a regular fixture on the calendar for the next 10 years or so. This is the kind of event that gets global coverage.”

He added, “If we are lucky, Phuket will have the two major boat racing events next year, one in March and one in November.”


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