01 March 2024

An exciting new race venue at Quy Nhon in the province of Bình Định on the coastline of south-central Vietnam will host the opening round of the UIM-ABP World Aquabike Championship on March 22nd-24th.


In advance of the Vietnamese race weekend, Aquabike Promotion had received, until now, 55 entries from 25 countries across the Runabout GP1, Ski Division and Ski Ladies GP1 and Freestyle categories.


Many of those racers featured across the leader boards at both the Regione Sardegna Grand Prix of Italy and the Grand Prix of Lake Toba-Indonesia in 2023, although new names are set to join the fray in 2024. Lake Toba also hosted the three-day Endurance World Championship last November.


The opening round of the 2023 series in Sardinia catered for several of the minor categories, in addition to the main four racing divisions, and Gonçalo Rodrigues, Mattias Reinass, Manuel Reggiani, Alejandro Prats Palau and Nikola Dryakova sealed their respective Ski Division GP2 and GP3 and Runabout GP2, GP4 and GP4 Ladies titles on the azure waters off the coast of Olbia during the summer months.  


But it was the mysterious deep waters of volcanic Lake Toba that decided the outcome of the Ski Ladies GP1, Ski Division GP1, Runabout GP1 and Freestyle titles in a thrilling finale from a base in the town of Balige. Victories eventually fell to the French trio of Jessica Chavanne, Mickael Poret and François Medori and Italy’s Roberto Mariani in their respective categories.


Chavanne clinched her World Championship title in style by winning the final Moto of the year; she also sealed success in the Indonesian race. Her cause was made that much easier when main Estonian rival Jasmiin Ypraus lost control and ended up in Lake Toba on the opening lap of the final Ski Ladies GP1 Moto. Ypraus then produced a great fight back to move up to third and claim the runner-up spot in the World Championship.


Mickael Poret clinched the Ski Division GP1 World Championship and his younger brother Morgan claimed two Moto wins and a second place to win the Grand Prix.


The runner-up spot for François Medori in Moto 2 in Indonesia enabled the Frenchman to claim the Runabout GP1 World Championship title. Medori won two of the season’s four Motos to secure the title by five points from Jeremy Perez, who won the first of the two Motos on Lake Toba. Four consistent results and two podium finishes earned Yousef Al-Abdulrazzaq the bronze medal.


Second place in the final heat of the Samosir Cup was sufficient for French veteran Jean-Bruno Pastorello to win the Endurance World Championship after three days of racing on Lake Toba. The World Championship was held in three locations and in three local Regencies, with the villages of Tongging and Silalahi hosting the opening two races and Samosir hosting the finale.


Pastorello won the Karo Cup on day one and then pipped Kuwaiti rival Rashed Al-Dawas to Dairi Cup success. Hungarian Gyorgy Kasza won both Motos to confirm victory in day three’s Samosir Cup.


Among the 20 Runabout GP1 entries from 16 nations and four continents received in advance of the opening race in Quy Nhon are the three riders who filled the top three places in the 2023 World Championship – Medori and Perez and Al-Abdulrazzaq.


Andrzej Wisniewski won the second of the Runabout GP1 Motos in northern Sumatra on his way to fifth in the title race behind Alejandro Molina Miranda and the Pole returns in his quest for honours in 2024. The impressive list of early registrations also includes the Swedish duo of Samuel and Johan Johansson, Hungarian Gyorgy Kasza and the talented American racer Anthony Radetic. Juan Cruz Lezcano returns for another season of international racing and represents the United States of America alongside Dustin Farthing.


Italy’s Lorenzo Benaglia finished down in 20th position in last year’s Runabout GP1 Championship and he and Czech racer Martin Doulik will be hoping to challenge for top five finishes this season. Denmark will be represented by Rasmus Koch Hansen, Ruben Jimenez Riquelme will race under the Spanish flag and Frederik Brandao will represent Germany.


Japan’s Jun Ikoma, Lithuanian’s Egidijus Kirilevicius, Bulgarian racer Yordan Nikolov, Portugal’s Lino Araújo and Slovakian biker Mario Lamy round off a truly impressive international field for the opening Motos in Vietnam.


Twenty-one racers have already signed up for the Ski Division GP1 category and a further 11 will compete for Ski Ladies GP1 honours in Quy Nhon. 


Mickael Poret got the better of Oliver Koch Hansen and his brother Morgan Poret to seal last year’s World Championship and the 36-year-old returns to defend the title he secured with victory in the third Moto on Lake Toba. He won the championship by eight points and is set to lock horns with both Koch Hansen and his brother again. His other brother Jeremy Poret is also entered in the category along with fellow French riders Alex Barret and Valentin Dardillat.


Talented Austrian Kevin Reiterer only took part in the Grand Prix in Indonesia last year but the multiple World Champion still managed to finish 11th in the standings after claiming a third and a second-placed finish and 11 points in Moto3 on Lake Toba. He will take part in Vietnam.


Alex Courtois finished fourth last season and the Frenchman will be hoping to challenge for the podium this season in a field that includes the Italian trio of Matteo Benini, Daniele Piscaglia and Andrea Guidi and Hungarian Gabor Szabo. Swiss rider Alec Enderli finished last season in fifth place and the 24-year-old returns for another season of top flight action.


Anthony Beernaut and Quinten Bossche represent Belgium, Slaven Ivancic flies the Croatian flag, Toshy O’Hara has entered under the flag of Japan and the early list of registrations also includes Denmark’s Mads Koch Hansen, Norway’s Daniel Svae Andersen and the North American duo of Russel Maxence and Devon Farthing, who are representing Canada and the USA, respectively.


Chavanne and Ypraus may have been the class of the Ski Ladies GP1 field last year but their three closest rivals – Emma-Nelli Ortendahl, Virginie Morlaes and Benedicte Drange – have registered for the 2024 season and will compete in Quy Nhon. They were separated by just four points in 2023 with Ortendahl pipping Morlaes to third on a tie-breaker.


Competition for the leading quintet comes from Portugal’s Joana Graca, French girl Estelle Poret, the Swedish duo of Janina Johansson and Sofie Borgström, Monaco-based Lisa Caussin Battaglia and Italian racer Naomi Benini.


Roberto Mariani returns to defend the Freestyle title that he won on a tie-break from Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al-Mulla. Portugal’s Paulo Nuñes is also registered for the opening round.


The Quy Nhon race weekend gets underway with registration and technical scrutineering on Thursday, March 21stand this precedes the first of the 20-minute practice sessions on Friday, March 22nd for the Ski Ladies GP1, Ski Division GP1, Runabout GP1 and Freestyle entrants, starting at 10.30hrs and running through to approximately 12.15hrs. Pole position qualifying takes place in the afternoon from 14.00hrs.

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