Echoes of Water Formula F2 Race: Pilots Probably Would Return to Kaunas

It is hard to imagine a more impressive scenario according to which the first stage of the Water Formula F2 World Championship took place in Kaunas. Thousands of spectators, crashes, and bronze finish of Lithuanian Edgaras Riabko. It was how the first F2 race was held in the temporary capital. Both organizers and heads of Kaunas are convinced that this was first, but not the last race.

Last weekend the best Water Formula F2 racers from all over the world came to Kaunas. The first stage of the Water Formula F2 World Championship and the Hydroplane FR-1000 European Championship took place in the Kaunas Sea.

The Race is for the Spectators

Race track was installed in the bay of Kaunas Sea at T. Masiulis Street. All 5 turns were visible from both spectators’ zones. The race track was so arranged that the water formulas would fly at a safe distance but as close to the viewers as possible. Actually, three crashes happened during the main F2 race.

“The race track is complicated, narrow, and close to the audience, racers have little space. The Commissioner decided to carry out the start of the course and not to take risks. I think the spectators enjoyed the race. Let’s admit it, we all expect something to happen while watching something. The same is here – crashes are part of the race,” believes Lithuanian racer Edgaras Riabko.

The racer from Kaunas was in the second position for a long time, but after the last crash and the re-start he tried to fight for the first position, but lost the second.

Mayor was not Disrupted by the Inconveniences

Because of the most important race of the year traffic was temporarily restricted through the Kaunas HPP Bridge. It was a necessary condition to ensure the spectators’ safety and convenience. It is estimated that about 5 thousand fans watched the race on both days.

The Mayor of Kaunas Visvaldas Matijošaitis, who lives in Vičiūnai, fairly close to the hydroelectric power plant, also visited the race.

“No, I was not exasperated by the temporary traffic restrictions. It was even more fun to change the usual route and go round the city,” laughed V. Matijošaitis.

“We thank all residents for understanding and tolerance for the temporary inconvenience. It was not possible to resolve the situation in other way than temporarily restricting the traffic when organizing a race of such extent,” said the race organizer Mindaugas Mačiulaitis.

No Reproaches

F2 Race in Kaunas Sea was held for the first time; therefore, the organizers admit that they were not able to avoid minor mistakes.

“There were absolutely stupid mistakes that can only occur when the race is organised in a new location for the first time. For example, next time we plan to have a bus running between the spectators zones for people to move quickly from one zone to another,” said M. Mačiulaitis.

However, the International Water Sports Union (Union Internationale Motonautique) organizing F2 Championships had no reproaches to Lithuanians. On the contrary, the official Championship site emphasizes that a temporary pier specially for the race was built in Kaunas. In addition, places for judges, pilots, and VIP guests were specially equipped for the race.

“The organizers did a fantastic job, we are very grateful for that. In Kaunas we were received just great, people are professional at what they do. No problems whatsoever. Of course, most visitors probably say so, but in this case it is absolutely true – we do not have any complaints. I hope that we will return,” said Gordon Sutherland, UIM Sports Commissioner.

“If five years ago someone would have said to me that such stars as Michael Werner, Guido Cappellini, Sami Selio, Alex Carella, and Philippe Chiapp, come to my home town, I would have guessed that I am dreaming,” said E. Riabko whom this season is the fourth F2 season.

 

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With a great regret and emotion I say goodbye to Kaunas, such a lovely and hospitable city, where France has so many friends. I am very grateful to the City Mayor, municipality who put in so much effort in order to make old and strong friendship between France and Lithuania. 02/03/96

Philippe de Suremain French Ambassador

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