It was all eyes on Milford Waterfront over the weekend as powerboat and jet ski racers battled it out on the Milford Haven Waterway in the P1 Welsh Grand Prix of the Sea.
The event was organised by Powerboat P1, relocating its race event from Cardiff Bay to West Wales for the first time with sponsorship and partner support from Milford Waterfront.
Milford Haven was once a busy fishing port and the P1 pontoon wet pits area was once occupied by a large fleet of fishing boats. The buildings that are now converted into quality restaurants were used by fish traders in days gone by. On the opposite side of the waterway, huge oil and gas tankers unload the precious cargoes while Irish Ferries pass up and down the busy channel plying their trade.
Fishing fleet laid up in Milford Haven 1921
An outstanding performance on Saturday gave Milford Waterfront a resounding event lead after winning all three races on day one and a real chance to take the overall UK SuperStock title. Their nearest rival at the end of Saturday’s racing was reigning champions Pertemps Network after they recorded three second-place finishes. While the local team were jubilant, both Arthur J Gallagher and Spirit of Inverclyde had their day end early following technical issues during the opening race. Arthur J Gallagher travelled to Wales without their usual driver David Taft, and a frustrating Saturday didn’t help their mood, but the man behind the wheel for this weekend, John Donnelly, flew out of the blocks to win the opening race on Sunday.
Pertemps were never threatened in second place and Milford Waterfront claimed third after fighting back from a slow start which saw them round the first corner in fifth. Experience Kissimmee were quick to get going, but were then struck with oil pressure mechanical problems which ended their pursuit; they resiliently went on to notch up fourth and sixth place finishes despite the issues continuing throughout the day.
Kissimmee at P1 Milford Haven
Arthur J Gallagher
The strong performance on Sunday by Arthur J Gallagher showed no signs of slowing when they hit the front early in race five and never looked back.
Sam and Daisy Coleman in the Pertemps boat moved one step closer to taking top spot in the overall standings with another second-place finish while Milford Waterfront rounded off the top three yet again. The last race of the 2017 UK Championship series was a tactical affair with Arthur J Gallagher once again powering into the lead, but this later proved futile as they ran out of fuel with a couple of laps remaining. As a result of the Arthur J Gallagher withdrawal, Milford Waterfront were victorious in the finale to clinch top spot on the podium.
Spirit of Inverclyde rounded off their debut campaign in second place, their highest ever race finish, and although Pertemps finished last in the race they knew they would retain their UK SuperStock title so long as they completed the race. Pertemps duly won the UK Championship, but their final points tally was a lot closer than many anticipated.
A huge crowd gathered around the podium in the race village as the Mayor of Milford Haven presented trophies to the top three teams, the AquaX riders and several local children taking part in organised on-water activity.
The race site was very well laid out with a range of local food and craft stalls on display in the race village and free transport was provided throughout the town for visitors.
Neil Jenkins, Destination Director at the Port of Milford Haven, said, “We’re so pleased that P1 Superstock brought their powerboat and P1 AquaX jet ski racing to Milford Waterfront and to have the two home teams claiming victories was fantastic. In partnering with P1 we are seeking to develop Milford Waterfront’s profile as a great location in Pembrokeshire, where we have on offer a fantastic range of restaurants, cafés, premium fashion and leisure activities both onshore and on the water.
“There is a substantial investment for us, for P1 and for all our partners to get this new event established on the waterway. We will be studying the outputs and listening carefully to work out how the event can be made more successful and to become a new annual event drawing people to Milford Waterfront for years to come. P1 Superstock and AquaX competitors from all over the world travelled to Pembrokeshire for the event and many stayed in local accommodation so it was a great boost for the local economy. It is a series which enthusiasts can and do follow throughout the year, with substantial followings in the USA, India and Europe.”