Southsea gearing up for return of Thundercat racing championships

ThunderCat speedboat racing off Southsea last year
ThunderCat speedboat racing off Southsea last year
Traffic gridlock around City Hospital hours before Royal visit. ENGEMN00120121128102456

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THOUSANDS of spectators are expected at a high-octane speedboat racing festival off Southsea.

High-speed Thundercat Racing heads back to the Solent from July 9 to 10, less than two weeks before Sir Ben Ainslie and his Portsmouth side prepare to compete in the America’s Cup World Series.

These boats really shift and jump out of the water, so it’s exciting for the children to watch.

Steve Pitt

Twenty-one four-metre inflatable boats will reach speeds of 60mph as they compete in the RYA ThunderCat National Championships.

And spectators will be treated to a family festival on Castle Field – complete with live music stages featuring local bands, children’s rides and an Formula One-style pit lane where they can meet teams and find out more about the boats.

The spectacle is sponsored by Portsmouth ocean racing legend Alan Priddy and his round-the-world powerboat side Team Britannia.

And music lovers will be treated to an evening concert on the Saturday night ahead of another day of water action.

Mr Priddy, who recently relaunched a multimillion-pound world record bid to circumnavigate the globe, said: ‘ThunderCat racing is high-octane, high-adrenaline, high-drama speedboat racing at its best – and we have some of the best teams in the country heading to Portsmouth.

‘What most people love is that the boats are launched from the beach and race close to the shore so you can see everything – the ups, downs and spills as the boats hit speeds of 60mph.’

Event partner Steve Pitt, who is arranging the on-shore activities said: ‘It’s great we have a family event to go alongside the Portsmouth Rural and Seaside Show, which the council puts on.

‘It’s free and we want families to come down and see some world-class racing.

‘These boats really shift and jump out of the water, so it’s exciting for the children to watch.

‘It’s a great opportunity to do some stuff for the children.

‘It’s really important to offer a great day out on the seafront and it’s great for families who haven’t got a big budget.

‘We want to provide them with a nice weekend.’

Mr Pitt added: ‘The music acts will be from the local area.

‘This is very much focusing on the best of Portsmouth.

‘It’s also about showcasing local traders.’