Families watch the Grand Prix of the sea in Gosport

Just a few of the thousands of people who enjoyed the racing at Stokes Bay Pictures: Allan Hutchings (142629-583 & 610 & 681)
Just a few of the thousands of people who enjoyed the racing at Stokes Bay Pictures: Allan Hutchings (142629-583 & 610 & 681)

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BOATS roaring past at top speed wowed huge crowds at Stokes Bay.

The Powerboat P1 event was in Gosport for the first time and drew thousands of people to watch 10 boats and more than 35 jetskis race through the water.

142629_JETSKI_6/9/14''(l-r) Val Pentland, Pat Seymour and Malcolm Seymour watch the racing at Stokes Bay. ''AquaX ski racing at Stokes Bay, Gosport.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142629-610) PPP-140609-220128003

142629_JETSKI_6/9/14''(l-r) Val Pentland, Pat Seymour and Malcolm Seymour watch the racing at Stokes Bay. ''AquaX ski racing at Stokes Bay, Gosport.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142629-610) PPP-140609-220128003

Visitors to the beach enjoyed watching the practise runs on Saturday afternoon and there was excitement when the race started.

The P1 Panthers can reach up to 65mph and these speeds were on display as the racers battled for the Grand Prix title.

But the two-day event also had fun on-land with a funfair, stalls, barbecue and other activities.

David Candler, of Jellicoe Avenue, in Gosport, said the event was good for the area.

142629_JETSKI_6/9/14''AquaX ski racing at Stokes Bay, Gosport.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142629-681) PPP-140609-220140003

142629_JETSKI_6/9/14''AquaX ski racing at Stokes Bay, Gosport.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142629-681) PPP-140609-220140003

‘We come down to Stokes Bay quite a lot because we live nearby,’ said the 60-year-old.

‘So it is great to have an event like this in Gosport. Although it would be nice to have more of this scale here.’

He added: ‘We enjoyed watching the speedboats – they really did go quick.’

A lot of families descended to the shoreline to watch the grand finale which saw James Norvill and Christian Parsons-Young named as the champions.

Michael Heppenstall was at Stokes Bay with his two children, Cameron, aged five and Katie, aged six.

He said the youngsters enjoyed the race and all the on-land activities too.

Michael, from Gosport, said: ‘We had a good day.

‘The boats were good to watch and the kids loved it.

‘It was good to see a lot of people coming down to Stokes Bay to show their support.’

The Grand Prix started six months ago in Bournemouth and has so far been in Hull, Torquay and Cardiff.

Robert Wicks, chief operating officer of Powerboat P1, said: ‘The weekend was tremendous. We got great crowds down on both days and it was great to see the 10 powerboats on the water.

‘The conditions on the water weren’t perhaps as rough as we wanted but it still made for a great race.

‘It was great to have the championship decided on the final leg.

He added: ‘The council, the harbour officer and everyone in Gosport has made us feel really welcome.’