I've long said that grand stands and jumbo tron video screens are key to drawing large spectators to boat races. I can't understand why boat races don't use them more often.

Blue Lizard the team to beat this year Mar 11 2004

A FASTER, tougher and more popular Honda Formula Four Stroke powerboat series could deliver Team Blue Lizard the title.

With three new venues - Guernsey, Swansea and the Southampton International Boat Show in September - this season could be one to remember for the Merstham-based team.

Driver Paul Charman is excited about the prospect of going for the title, and the new developments in the sport rushed in since last season.

He said: "This season sees five new teams in a line up of 19 competing in the new 150 horse power class (upgraded from previous season's 130 class) and at least 10 teams in the 225hp class.

"This is another record for the series, firmly establishing itself once more as the largest one-design offshore powerboat series in the world.

"We are keen to rise to this new challenge in the coming season, having finished second in last year's 130hp championships.

"We are already seen as the favourite to win, and have been pitched as the team to beat."

Arguably, one of the most exciting spectator sports, powerboating is growing in all directions and Charman can't wait to stun the fans.

He said: "With a captive audience of tens of thousands, Southampton promises to be a huge event and a fantastic venue for the final races.

"Spectators will be able to view the racing from specially erected stands and video screens.

"This is the first time a power-boat race has been held at a UK boat show and shows how popular the series is becoming."

But the upgrade to 150hp will mean a whole new mindset for Charman and his team.

"The upgrade to the new Honda BF150 outboard engine brings an increase in performance and early testing has shown an increase in top speed," said Charman.

"This will change the handling characteristics of the boats and bring a fresh challenge to all the competitors.

"As with all motor sport our biggest challenge is to gain a principle sponsor.

"Any sponsor investing in us can be assured of extensive television coverage on C4 and Sky, plus local media coverage.

"We believe we can offer one of the best sponsorship packages available that can include corporate hospitality. This is simply an excellent exciting marketing opportunity that will benefit any business large or small."

Anyone left in any doubt can catch Team Blue Lizard competing in the 2003 series to be shown on Sky Sports in April.

With television coverage growing, Charman and his team are set move on to bigger and better things this year.

Visit www.teambluelizard.com for more information.