Connect with us


Inaugural P1 powerboat Grand Prix set for this weekend at the Pier

Bill DeYoung



This weekend's event will feature approximately around 40 powerboats and 55 AquaX riders. Images provided by P1.

St. Pete’s come a long way since the days of inboard hydroplane racing on Lake Maggiore. A new era of high-velocity watersports begins Saturday at the St. Pete Pier, with the inaugural Powerboat P1 Grand Prix.

Part of the eight-venue American Power Boat Association (APBA) national championship, the two-day event features both professional and amateur P1 AquaX powerboat and jet-ski racing.

It’s free to spectators. The event schedule is here.

The pits for the race boats will be at Vinoy Park, with the AquaX jet-ski pits at Spa Beach, and will be open to the public from 5-10 p.m. Friday and between 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Vendors and live music will be set up at Vinoy Park starting at 5 p.m. Friday.

Powerboat P1 has held races offshore at Sarasota, Fort Myers, St. Pete Beach and other coastal cities, but this is the first time the promoter has brought a racing event into Tampa Bay.

“It’s going to be approximately a six-mile course for the powerboats,” said Tim Ramsberger, CFO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater. “And of course the jet-skis, those things are 350 horsepower – they’ll go 75 miles an hour. They’re wicked cool. And they race on about a 1.6 mile course.”

Although motorized boat racing by the pier goes back to the 1930s, there haven’t been any contemporary powerboat events at the site for around 20 years. According to Ramsberger, “P1 were interested in talking about racing years ago, but with the pier going under renovations, and then the pandemic, it just wasn’t possible.”

This weekend’s races will be broadcast by CBS Sports and by Bally Sports Regional Networks, and will be seen in more than 100 countries.

Although he declined to predict how many visitors the races will bring to St. Petersburg, Ramsberger believes the event will be “iconic,” and its effect on the local economy something o a no-brainer.

“It’s going to bring a lot of economic impact to the pier vendors, which is important, and to make sure all the restaurants and bars are filled up,” he said. “It’s an excuse to come out and watch something pretty cool and unique.”

Continue Reading
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Marian Schultz

    September 5, 2021at8:23 am

    I have been coming to offshore powerboat races since the early 1990s This is the WORST spectators event ever. No Access except for VIPS. Wow! Shame on you, and the city off St. Pete for blocking access to the park the beaches and any good viewing on the Pier.
    We won’t be back!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By posting a comment, I have read, understand and agree to the Posting Guidelines.

The St. Pete Catalyst

The Catalyst honors its name by aggregating & curating the sparks that propel the St Pete engine.  It is a modern news platform, powered by community sourced content and augmented with directed coverage.  Bring your news, your perspective and your spark to the St Pete Catalyst and take your seat at the table.

Email us:

Subscribe for Free

Share with friend

Enter the details of the person you want to share this article with.