FERRY operator Caledonian MacBrayne has committed to supporting the Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea when the free, two-day event returns to Greenock this summer.
The countdown is on to the second P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea, a weekend festival of marine motorsport on the River Clyde at the end of June, and Inverclyde businesses have again been quick to sign up as sponsors and partners.
Co-hosted by Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council with support from EventScotland, the event in Greenock on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 June will be the second round of the P1 UK race series and has attracted backing from a variety of local firms as well as national companies based in the area.
And renewing its sponsorship is the UK’s largest ferry network operator (in terms of ships and destinations served) and one of the largest companies headquartered in Scotland – at neighbouring Gourock: Caledonian MacBrayne.
P1 managing director, Robert Wicks, said: “CalMac has a long history of supporting community events and is the perfect partner to again help us make a significant economic and social impact in the region through the continued development of Scottish marine tourism.
“Partnerships are at the heart of the P1 business model and we work with sponsors and local businesses to attract visitors to the area, boost the economy and activate our race event to support Inverclyde’s successful reimaging and regeneration programme.
“Our aim is to maximise the benefits for each sponsor and, on a wider front, to build business in the area on the back of the P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea and raise the profile of Inverclyde at the other events in our UK championship in England, Wales and Denmark.”
The 2017 P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea will once again see the return of the CalMac Buoy, the infamous first corner of the P1 SuperStock race sponsored and branded by CalMac.
The entire fleet will charge towards the CalMac buoy from the start line in the hope of getting round it first in order to take advantage of the clean water and space. Some racers deem this first corner the place where winners are separated from the losers.
To compliment ‘CalMac Corner’, Caledonian MacBrayne will also be producing a children’s activity booklet dedicated to the P1 event where kids can design their own raceboat, try their hand at a quiz and record their best parts of the day. This activity booklet can be picked up from the CalMac tent that will be situated on The Esplanade near to Rosneath Street.
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In an additional new twist for the 2017 event, CalMac will be providing a ferry driver to compete against 11 year-old Oban Duncan in the ‘Oban Challenge’.
Oban has previously been Honda RYA Youth RIB champion and uses her 4.8m highfield rib (rigid inflatable boat) with 50hp engine to compete against three adults from a variety of different walks of life.
Graeme McFarlan, director of Customer Sales and Marketing at CalMac, said: “As a major local employer with deep roots in Inverclyde we are delighted to be supporting this event for the second year in a row.
“Last year, we received lots of positive feedback for our involvement as well as excellent profile in the media so this year provides a great opportunity to build on that success.”
The CalMac sponsorship has been followed by support from a number of local businesses including River Clyde Homes, Synergy Lifting Solutions, Ogilvie Homes, Cardwell Garden Centre, James Watt Dock Marina and Peel Port Clydeport.
Taking place on June 24th and 25th, the free-to-watch Greenock event will deliver a weekend of high-speed sport and family entertainment, with a fleet of P1 Panther race boats and jet skis competing in the P1 SuperStock and AquaX championships.
The two-mile race course will be close-to-shore at Greenock’s Esplanade, which will be transformed into the Esplanade Showcase with exhibition stands and marquees linked to VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology.
This year, Musselburgh father and daughter duo, Davie and Ashleigh Finlayson, will fly the flag for Scotland in the P1 SuperStock powerboat series competing in the ‘Spirit of Inverclyde’ race boat.
In addition to the tens of thousands of spectators expected over the two days (June 24 and 25), the race action will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK and internationally in more than 150 countries.