Thousands of jet-ski fans will flock to Doncaster when an star-studded international tournament comes to Lakeside in July.
The International Jetsport Grand Prix, which takes place on the weekend of July 24 to July 26, will feature competitors Brad Rickaby, from Hatfield, and Emily Tucker, from Bessacarr, as well as teams from Thailand, Australia, USA and South Africa among many others.
Officials representing the tournament visited Doncaster yesterday to launch the event.
Doncaster Council’s business development tourism and visitor economy officer Richard Young said the event, which is free for spectators to attend, should bring up to 15,000 fans out over the course of the weekend. This year it includes heats as well as the final.
“Last year we estimated we had over 10,00 visitors,” said Mr Young.
“With this amount of coverage, the number of teams that are coming and the spread of proceedings, I think we expect at least that number, maybe 10,000 to 15,000.”
Jet Sport Racing Association’s event organiser Steve Bushell said the event would provide a boost to Doncaster’s economy.
“We’ve got 140 riders plus all their pit crews as well, so it cold be worth up to two million pounds to the local economy,” said Mr Bushell.
“With the hotels, the food they’re buying, the restaurants and all the resources you’ve got in this area.
“All we need is the weather, because the last round last year on the Sunday we didn’t get many spectators, but there’s barriers around so it’s completely safe for everybody.”
When similar events have been held at the venue in the past, concerns have been raised about the safety of water birds.
Mr Bushell said: “The wildlife is our priority as well, if anybody has any concerns about that, it is a foremost priority.
“When the skis are lined up, you see a load of ducks lined up, floating past, almost giving us a wave.
“We stop the racing then, and they look and seem to want to join in. So they’re not that frightened of it all.”
Julien Bastien, another event organiser, from JX Sport Jet Cross World Tour said the event will be broadcast in 67 countries around the world, and live streamed online.
“For the first time, the live streaming crew are coming which means all the races will be shown live on the internet,” said Mr Bastien.
“Thank you to Doncaster Council, because everything is professional, and the venue is perfect to welcome the riders from all over the world. It’s a very nice place.”