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F-1 Powerboat drivers use skill, speed to succeed

10-04-2010 14:39 BJT

Some of the world's fastest powerboat racers showed their skills on the Yihe River in Shandong Province on Sunday. Sports Scene's Tony Perkins was in Linyi, to find out firsthand about the dangers competitors face in the Championship series.

CCTV correspondent Tony Perkins said, "It is race day, Sunday in Linyi, and time for the F-1 Powerboat world championship. This is described as Formula 1 racing on the water. Like F-1 racing cars, it draws a lot of excitement, with a lot of color and big crowds. But unlike the cars, the river is actually the racing surface."

F-1 Powerboat is an 8-round, globetrotting series broadcast to 20 countries worldwide. The single-seat boats and their drivers skim the water’s edge at 150 miles an hour. They’re designed as tunnel hull catamarans, each about 20 feet long, made of kelvar and carbon fiber. A top of the line championship craft is propelled by a 350 horsepower V-6 engine revving up to 10,500 r.p.m.

He said, "The idea to build the present series around these machines began more than 30 years ago. The boats were not as sleek and definitely not as safe. The drivers strapped themselves in using a single seat belt, instead of a complete safety harness system."

American Jay Price remembers those days. He's from New Orleans , a veteran driver, the 2008 series champion, and second in this season's points chase coming to China.

Imagine driving a race car in an off-road rally over terrain that changes every minute. That's what you've got in the racing powerboats. Top speed creates a dangerous cushion of air beneath the boat. Only a few inches of the hull surface actually touches the water.

Crashes are part of the mix. Each boat is equipped with an air bag to keep it from sinking, just in case. The combination of speed and skill results in a dramatic show.

Powerboat fan Linyi said, "F1 Powerboat is very fast on the water and the action is very smooth and graceful."

“This is the first time for Linyi to hold such a big International event, so I came here to experience the competition atmosphere and the fascinating speed.”

Price spent the 45 minute race looking for a top five finish in his number 16 Team Qatar ride. But to win takes more than split-second timing and endurance, it takes top equipment, and good luck, too. All the factors of big time motorsport come into play in the F-1 Powerboat world championship.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV

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