This year the UIM Aquabike World Championship embarks on its 17th season, with the world’s best and most exciting riders battling it out for eight World titles at seven events in Qatar, Italy, France, China and Guadeloupe.
In the multi-discipline Aquabike Championship, seven titles are up for grabs, with the titles for the categories Runabout F1, Freestyle and Ski F1 for both men and women fought out over six events.
A single-event Championship shoot-out will see the titles decided for Runabout F1 Slalom and Ski F1 Slalom for both men and women, with arguably one of the most spectacular and demanding events on water, the ‘Karujet’ Rally Jet World Championship, an endurance race around the ‘butterfly’ island of Guadeloupe, run over four days.
For all competitors it will be a case of trying to unseat the stars of 2010 with French riders dominating, winning six out of eight titles, the other two – in Freestyle and women’s Slalom Ski F1 – going to riders from Russia and Portugal.
In Ski F1 it was very much a family affair, with Frenchman Mickael Poret grabbing a win in China and two third-place finishes in France and Italy to take the title ahead of his brother, Jeremy, beating his other brother Morgan in the final shoot-out of Slalom Ski F1.
His fellow countryman, the ‘young veteran’ Cyrille Lemoine, was another double championship-winner last season, lifting both titles in Liuzhou, China, taking two wins and third place to add the Runabout F1 title to his Slalom Runabout F1 title.
Not to be outdone by her French ‘brothers’, Julie Bulteau produced three standout performances to win in France, Italy and China, as she did in 2009, to take the Ski F1 Women’s crown, with Portugal’s Stafania Balzer winning the women’s Slalom Ski F1.
Another French success in 2010 saw Jean-Bruno Pastorello claim the Karujet, whilst in freestyle, there was only ever going to be one winner, with Russia’s Ivan Potanin taking a hat-trick of wins and the title.
The first of three days of action kicks-off on Doha Bay on Thursday afternoon with free practice. Pole Position qualifying takes place on Friday morning followed by Heat 1 of Ski F1 for women and men, Freestyle and Runabout F1.
On Friday evening the top eight riders from the morning’s qualifying session from each category will compete in a special show, held under lights on Doha Bay, in Parallel Slalom in F1 Ski and Runabout and Freestyle.
The second and final heats of all categories take place on Saturday afternoon.