In St. Petersburg, on the Neva River, the third round of Class Pro Aquabike World Championship will begin on June 21 to continue through June 23. The preceding rounds, Grand Prix Cuba and Grand Prix Europe, took place on March 24 and May 26 this year, respectively. In St. Petersburg, water bikers will compete in SKI DIVISION (785 cubic cm), FREESTYLE and RUNABOUT 1200 classes.
About 60 participants represent Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Croatia, and Hungary. They include such former world champs as Mark Sikerling (Germany), Alberto Monti (Italy), Jimmy Bosio (Italy) and Didier Navarro (France). Russia will be represented by two Vladimirs, Sinitsyn and Osokon. After Grand Prix Europe, in the Runabout category, the Russian racers are 15th and 16th respectively.
Evgeny Finkelstein, General Director of the Planet Plus company, the promoter of the competition, said, 'We count on about 2 million people to be able to see this racing because it will be televised by the TRK, St. Petersburg and NTV channels. Not all of them will be able to see live competition. However, we count on the majority of the residents and visitors of St. Petersburg to stop by and have a look at this truly beautiful event'.
The main event will be supplemented by an air show featuring figure sky diving; an extreme-show; a sand sculpture exhibit at the Peter and Paul Fortress' beach; a gala-concert on the point of Vasilievsky Island in the commemoration of WW2 veterans from St. Petersburg, featuring such well-known actors as Alexander Rosenbaum and Mikhail Boyarsky; and a blips and balloons show.
The first international aquabike competition was organised by the Union Internationale Motonautique and held in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1996. Just one year later, the tree rounds of the Aquabike European Championship were held in Spain, Switzerland, and Greece. In 1998, for the first time, St. Petersburg hosted one of the rounds of European championship and has continued likewise for the following 5 years.