Former sailing world champion Darren Nicholson has travelled around the world pursuing his new passion, racing 1000hp powerboats, and he believes Newcastle’s coast is as spectacular as any place he has competed.
Now he is putting that love of his home town on display, adorning his 222 Offshore team race boat and truck with Newcastle and Supercars livery under an agreement with the V8 series organisers.
The truck and 40-foot twin-hull boat will travel up and down the east coast as Nicholson races in the six rounds of this year’s Offshore Superboat Championship, culminating in Newcastle on the Supercars weekend on November 25 and 26.
“It’s getting used to promote Newcastle. It’ll be at the Sydney Boat Show, at Bathurst, all over the place,” Nicholson said.
“If we have a boat that big and a transporter at the likes of Bathurst, there’s air time there for Newcastle.
“This is such a billboard. People are seeing it. It’s not just the V8 race. There’s more to Newcastle than just two days of the car race.”
The boat and truck will be at the Supercars fun day in Foreshore Park on Saturday, when Hunter residents can buy discounted tickets, meet drivers and run their eye over some of the race cars.
Nicholson, who won the Superboat series in 2013 and has raced in Mumbai, Turkey, China and the United Arab Emirates, said the Supercars and Superboats would show Newcastle at its best.
“From a promotional point of view for Newcastle, showing off the aerial view of the beach and the city, it’s as good a place as anywhere,” he said.
“I get to race all over the world, and it’s top of the pile by a mile, by a proverbial mile.
“From an advertising point of view, that this is a nice town, it’s ticking the box.”
Nicholson, who lives at Valentine and won three 505 sailing world titles with brother Chris in the early 2000s, said he understood the concerns of some East End residents opposed to the race weekend.
“But, for the greater good, I like the idea,” he said.
Nicholson owns the Bolton St and Gibson St car parks and has been involved in developing a parking plan for the race weekend.
“We’re amassing all the parking in Newcastle to say, ‘Righto, here it is, the residents need to park and the corporates need to park. How does that all work sensibly?’”
The Superboat series is televised on the Speedweek motorsport program and includes a round on Lake Macquarie in October.
2017 Offshore Superboat Championship
Rnd 1, Mackay, Qld, July 15-16, 2017
Rnd 2, Bowen, Qld, July 22-23, 2017
Rnd 3, Coffs Harbour, August 26-27, 2017
Rnd 4, Lake Macquarie, October 14-15, 2017
Rnd 5, Hervey Bay, Qld, October 28-29, 2017
Rnd 6, Newcastle, November 25-26, 2017