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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Powerboat racing in Cornwall

THE opening races of the Zapcat powerboat season will take place in Cornwall this year, when the Blue Chip Newquay Zapcat Grand Prix race weekend kicks off the season at Fistral Beach on the weekend of 24 and 25 April.

Blue Chip Newquay, which has over 170 high-end self-catering properties in Newquay, has played a key role in securing the race for the town as the season’s curtain opener, working closely with Tourism Newquay, Bare Feet Promotions and the Zapcat Grand Prix race organisers, ZCR Ltd.

The Blue Chip Newquay Grand Prix weekend is the first major event for Newquay, which has become known as the UK’s experience capital, and will play a significant role in attracting early season tourists, generating valuable income for the town. Early estimates suggest that as much as £750,000+ could be brought into the local economy as a direct result of the race weekend.

On the evening of St George’s Day (Friday 23rd), a grand Zapcats Parade will take place through the town featuring competitors and boats, raising awareness of the Grand Prix, and attracting visitors to come to the event over the weekend.

Viewing will be free and a range of entertainment and freshly prepared food and drink will be available for spectators. Opportunities to meet the race teams and see the powerboats up close will also be laid on to encourage a growing following for the championship, which already has international status.

Practice sessions will take place on the Friday, followed by spectacular races on the Saturday and Sunday at the north end of the beach featuring around 40 teams; the southern end of Fistral Beach will remain open for public use. Up to 16 heats of racing will take place culminating in two divisional finals each day. Each daily round will earn the competitors vital points towards the prestigious National Championships, the Services, Rookie, and Team, Mixed, Home Nations and Surf titles, all of which will come to their tense finales in October.

Teams, including local Royal Marines from RAF St Mawgan, will cut through the surf, performing daring and spectacular aerial leaps as they propel themselves through the sea at speeds of up to 50 mph. The Course will take the Zapcats out to the Fistral Headland before turning south and then returning parallel to the beach giving spectators an excellent view from every vantage point.

Commenting on the race, Alan Taylor, Managing Director of Blue Chip Vacations and Blue Chip Newquay, said: “2010 is the tenth anniversary for both Blue Chip Vacations and Zapcat racing in the UK. As soon as we realised that there was a possibility of bringing this awesome event to Newquay, we jumped at the opportunity. We realise just how important it is to support events that grab the attention of visitors and inspire them to stay during weeks that they might not normally consider.

“Over the last three years, late April has been a belter for warm weather and we’re confident that, combined with low off-season rates available through www.bluechipnewquay.com the Blue Chip Newquay Zapcats Grand Prix weekend will be a draw for many thousands of visitors and spectators from across the South West and the UK.”

Blue Chip Newquay has properties in some of Newquay’s most iconic buildings, many of which are set overlooking the sea, the town or the golf-course. Properties that are particularly close to Fistral Beach, which will host the Zapcats event, include Zinc, Bredon Court, Ocean 1, Pentire Mews, The Vista, Pearl, Trehellan Heights and Headland Point.

Other properties within a 15 minute walk include Rocklands, Glendorgal, Golden Bay, Harbour View, Seapoint and The Old Edwardian.

Martin Jupp, Managing Director of ZCR and Race coordinator for the Zapcat Championship added: “This is the first time a Zapcat Racing event has been held at Fistral Beach and we are expecting a fantastic turnout of race teams, supporters and spectators alike. Zapcats in the surf is always great entertainment with plenty of thrills and spills!”

Richard Wilcox, Business Development Manager for Tourism Newquay said: “The Grand Prix is a fantastic spectacle and will help kick-start what we hope will be a great season for Newquay. This event is the perfect platform to show off all that is exciting, innovative and fun about Newquay, appealing to people of all ages from across the globe. And importantly, by engaging with Newquay businesses and organisations, we can ensure that the Zapcats weekend works for them and has a positive economic impact that is felt across the town."

Guy Thomas, Cornwall Council Newquay Town Centre Manager, says: "The Zap Cat event is a great addition to Newquay's events calendar and offers an exciting spectacle for everyone to go and see. The boats are great fun to watch and an event of this calibre helps to showcase the town as a venue for top quality sporting events of all natures. I hope this will become a regular event in Newquay and it is a very positive step for the town".

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