ALL powerboat racing off the Isle of Wight has been cancelled this year because of coronavirus and the risk it could pose to Cowes residents. 

Organisers of the international offshore race, the British Powerboat Racing Club (BPRC), had already postponed the 60th anniversary event until next year, but had still held out hope to run a 'basic' race over the August bank holiday weekend.

Isle of Wight County Press:

However, despite the encouraging progress being made towards the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, it became apparent running such an event would attract many visitors to Cowes.

"Running an event of this nature, that will bring many visitors to the small town of Cowes, will not be possible whilst adequately protecting those involved and the
people of Cowes," said a BPRC spokesman.

Isle of Wight County Press: Isle of Wight powerboat sensation, Frankie Rose, piloting Vintage Torque.Isle of Wight powerboat sensation, Frankie Rose, piloting Vintage Torque.

"The safety of the public, competitors, the support crews, the team of volunteers who help organise the event, the volunteers who provide safety cover and the volunteers who officiate the weekend, is paramount — and with social distancing still very much in force, we feel they could not continue with their plans in any realistic form.

"The directors are aware this will be a huge disappointment to many, as indeed it is to the club.

Isle of Wight County Press: The start of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race in 2018.The start of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race in 2018.

"The decision to cancel racing in 2020 was strongly influenced by the recent cancellation of the two largest and most prestigious events in the Cowes sailing calendar — the Cowes Classic and Cowes Week regattas, scheduled for late July and early August respectively, coupled with the overwhelming feeling of many Isle of Wight residents who are understandably uncomfortable with large numbers of visitors travelling to the Island at this time and in the foreseeable future.

"The club appreciates the patience its members have shown through this difficult decision-making process. 

Isle of Wight County Press:

"Whilst accompanied with a strong sense of regret, we are sure we have reached a
responsible conclusion to cancel, in light of no viable alternative.

"The team at the BPRC will now focus on exciting plans for the 60th anniversary celebrations in 2021, which will take place between August 27 and 29, and we are very much look forward to welcoming back competitors, sponsors and supporters for this historic and much-loved race."