The ‘Spirit of Inverclyde’ race boat will again fly the flag for Inverclyde and Scotland at every round of the P1 SuperStock Championship this summer with a new father and daughter crew in the cockpit. The experienced duo of David and Ashleigh Finlayson, from the historic town of Musselburgh near Edinburgh, will race the P1 Panther powerboat (pictured) in the one-design championship at events in England, Wales, Denmark and Scotland.
A love of racing and being on the water started a long time ago for Davie and Ash (as they are better known). The starting point for Davie was waterski racing in the 1980s, and by the time she was 5 years old Ashleigh had already followed her father around the UK and European circuit. Over the three decades since then, Davie has competed internationally in a number of series and at the age of 17 Ashleigh joined him to race in the National Zapcat Championship where they picked up the RYA Best Newcomer to Powerboating award in their first season. Other racing successes followed, including becoming British Champions in the Zapcat ZCR50X class in 2014 and Davie setting a national speed record at Coniston Water in the same year.
For the last two years Davie and Ashleigh have been competing in the ThunderCat Racing UK Championship. Their first outing in the P750s culminated in 2nd in the Stock Class at the Europeans in Gibraltar. While racing in Bournemouth last year Davie, a proud Scot, was ejected from his craft and told reporters: “It’s lucky I wasn’t wearing my kilt – otherwise the spectators would have got a real show!”
Davie got his first taste of P1 SuperStock racing last summer when he grabbed a last-minute opportunity to jump into the navigator seat of a P1 Panther race boat in the P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea in Greenock. “Being able to compete in such a successful powerboat series at the fantastic location of Greenock was a brilliant experience” says Davie. “When the opportunity came up to crew the Inverclyde boat, I jumped at the chance. I can’t wait to get on with the season and really looking forward to our home race on the Clyde.”
Away from powerboat racing, Davie and Ashleigh have busy working lives. Davie is involved with auto salvage, managing the family business in Musselburgh, while Ashleigh is based in East Anglia as an Account Manager with Johnson & Johnson, the American multinational corporation. She commented: “Crewing the Inverclyde boat is certainly going to be a change from the smaller powerboats that I am more used to. I can’t wait to take on this challenge and see what we can achieve in the P1 SuperStock series this summer.”
The ‘Spirit of Inverclyde’ boat will make its 2017 debut in Denmark in early June in the P1 Aalborg Grand Prix of the Sea, and just two weeks later it will head home to the River Clyde where Davie and Ash will be cheered on by thousands of Scottish supporters in Greenock. Next stop for the Inverclyde team will be Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire and the P1 SuperStock UK Championship will return to Scarborough in September for the final event of the season. Race action from all four rounds will be broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK and internationally on more than 150 countries.
The P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea, co-hosted by Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council, returns to Greenock on the weekend of 24-25 June and is free to watch. It will serve up a feast of high-speed sport and family entertainment, including powerboat and jet ski racing, flyboarding and jet ski freestyle displays. The 2-mile race course will be close-to-shore at Greenock’s Esplanade, which will be transformed into the Esplanade Showcase with exhibition stands and marquees linked to Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage & Archaeology. The P1 Scottish Grand Prix of the Sea is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate