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Honda Formula 4-Stroke powerboats will be back 30 June 2005

    The Steam Packet Company Grand Prix of the Isle of Man has been hailed a great success.

    Following the Honda Formula 4-Stroke powerboat championships which took place in Douglas Bay last weekend, race organisers and Honda have said they would like to return to the Island next year. Some 35 boats in total travelled to the Island via the Isle of Man Steam Packet, together with some 200 competitors, officials and support crews.

    The event was filmed for television and will be broadcast on Sky Sports digital 3 on July 18 at midday, 5pm and 6.30pm, and on Channel 4 on October 19.

    Douglas Promenade walkway was transformed into a parc ferme for boats, race control support vehicles and a display of Honda products during the weekend. This enabled spectators to be part of the powerboat atmosphere enabling close inspection of their high tech craft and their 150hp and 225hp engines.

    A hospitality marquee was also erected on the seafront giving a South of France atmosphere to the event, helped by the tropical weather and a reception held for 200 guests on the Saturday evening.

    There was a last minute change to the Round the Island race scheduled to take place on the Sunday which was brought about due to sightings of basking sharks on the west coast of the Island.

    Race competitors and officials had been briefed about this possibility by Dr Fiona Gell from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry during the race briefing. In order to ensure the safety of competitors and basking sharks, organisers and sponsors had no alternative on Sunday morning but to cancel the Round the Island leg and run the event in Douglas Bay. However, race organiser Rory Power was not dismayed at this prospect and said that Douglas Bay was a natural arena for the event and was arguably one of the best venues used during the series.

    Douglas Promenade and the surrounding headlands gave spectators a chance to view the action close up and organisers are hoping to move the course even closer to the promenade next year.

    The event was sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet and the Department of Tourism with the support of many organisations including Department of Transport Harbours Division, Douglas Corporation, Manx National Heritage and Heron and Brearley. In addition, organisers were very appreciative of the support of the RNLI, coastguards, local boat owners acting as officials and many others.

    Hamish Ross, the Steam Packet Managing Director said: ‘The opportunity of providing sponsorship for this prestigious event was too good to miss, especially in this our special year when we celebrate the 175th anniversary of our Company.

    ‘As part of the Sea Isle of Man events, the whole spectacle was superb and exciting and we congratulate Honda, the Department of Tourism and Leisure, the organisers and powerboat teams on a truly thrilling event which was blessed by wonderful weather.

    ‘We wholeheartedly supported the venture and would be delighted to join with Honda in bringing this event back to the Island again next year.’

    Presentation of awards was made by Martyn Quayle MHK, Chairman of the Sea Isle of Man Committee, and Geoff Corkish, Communications Manager of the Steam Packet.

    Tourism Minister David Cretney welcomed the teams and Honda officials to the Island at a reception on the Friday evening. He said: ‘Honda have strong historic links with the Isle of Man through motorcycling and this was yet another natural progression to add to the many events the Isle of Man hosts. I hope that everyone enjoyed the spectacle and I am looking forward to welcoming Honda and the event to the Island again next year.’

    • For the record, Rob Lister and Will Nocker in ‘Fat Boy Racing’ claimed their first ever championship victory in Saturday’s Honda Formula 4-Stroke 225hp race at the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Grand Prix. They also won their class on the Sunday.

    • Meanwhile, in the 150hp round, Vernon Hunt in ‘Extreme Chaos’ took his first win for two seasons alongside 17-year-old rookie navigator James Blake.

    • In the 150hp round on Sunday, Clive Coote and Paul Arthy in ‘X-Pole’ redeemed themselves by claiming first place. They ran out of fuel when leading Saturday’s race.

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