Powerboat racing set to return to Bristol Docks

25 years on and Bristol’s Floating Harbour is once again set to become a scene of high-speed powerboat racing, reports former British Champion racer Richard Carr.

Fans flock to the harbour

Back in the 1980s, Bristol’s harbourside was awash with fans being entertained by hugely powerful and expensive power boats, as they sped around the narrow turns of the docks.

The Bristol Post believes that if it wasn’t for the powerboat racing, which sadly stopped in 1990, that the harbourside wouldn’t be what it is today.

25 years have passed since the chequered flag went down on the final race and this weekend some of the racers who participated on that day and many more, will return to the area to make the occasion.

Drivers from around the world

Drivers from across the globe, champions, sponsors, organisers, rescue crews and safety personnel will return to the area to celebrate those that put their lives on the line to entertain crowds during the 19 years of racing.

From across the Atlantic, American Billy Seebold will make a hugely popular appearance. Billy is a multi-winner of Bristol races and also lifted the famous Duke of York trophy.

Also, the man who holds the record for the fastest average speed ever achieved in the race (100.06 mph) – Steve Kerton – is one of those behind organising the celebratory event.

Speaking to the Bristol Post, he said: “It was such an important event for so many people, it meant so much to all the racers that we thought we couldn’t let this occasion pass without doing something to mark it,” Steve said.

“At first we were planing on returning to Bristol for a dinner, but as more and more people heard about it, they wanted to come. We have people coming from America, Asia, and all over Europe.”


Racers from all over the world headed to Bristol between 1972 and 1990 to compete annually and at its peak around 250,000 people turned out to witness speeds in excess of 125mph. Drivers raced for World Series Championship points and the world famous Duke of York Trophy.

This weekend’s celebrations will be officially launched with a welcome reception from the Lord Mayor at 2.30pm at the ss Great Britain.

About Richard Carr

Richard Carr, of Poole, is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.

He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.

He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.

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