THOUSANDS of people are expected to flock to Gosport for a powerboat race finale.
Organisers of the P1 Grand Prix of the sea series chose the town to host the final races in a move they say could draw in around 20,000 spectators.
The two-day event at Stokes Bay will see 10 powerboats and around 40 AquaX jet skis race off the coast.
Councillor Mark Hook is the leader of Gosport Borough Council.
He said the event will show off Stokes Bay’s use as a ‘natural amphitheatre’.
‘It’s two runs of a national event coming to Gosport,’ he said.
‘It will certainly be welcome. Hopefully it will be an exciting end to the season. We’ve always had a good marine sector. It’s right that we use our waterfront more.’
Roy Mantle, from P1, said the town was chosen for its location and that the crowds will boost the local economy.
He said: ‘It’s a good location for us.
‘We’ve had very productive conversations over a period of months. They seem to want to put Gosport on the map.
‘We bring quite an army with us. We ourselves bring 10 teams and all their support crews and probably 40 AquaX racers.’
The series starts in Bournemouth and goes to Dorset, Hull, Cardiff and Torquay before arriving in Gosport.
Mr Mantle added: ‘It’s free to watch, that’s the great thing, you just find a spot. We try and race as close to the shore as we can.
‘That’s our aim to be near – it’s very much about free entertainment.’
The announcement has been welcomed by people in the marine industry in Gosport.
Peter Cardy is from Gosport Marine Scene, which is working to promote the borough’s marine sector.
He said: ‘This is the Formula 1 of the sea. I am sure it will be a big draw if Formula 1 is anything to go by.
‘It’s excellent for Gosport to have high-profile events.
‘What we hope it will do is connect the name of Gosport with major marine events. We’re keen to see it take place – it’s just spectacular.
‘It should bring a lot of people in. The more people are coming here and spending money the better it is for everybody.’
The P1 season is due to open this weekend with races at Bournemouth.
P1 also has a repair workshop on Hayling Island. The finale events are on September 6 and 7.