In December 1982 Bob Spalding and Arthur Mostert tested out their JPS sponsored Velden rigs round the Royal Victoria Docks, London, which was the proposed new venue for the Formula One World Championships. It would turn out to be the only UK round of the 1983 F1 powerboat season.
In 1983 the Bristol race was in jeopardy because of the safety considerations relating to the tight, tortuous circuit - the monster Johnson V8s were just too powerful. And so it was that the UIM awarded the Formula One World Championship race to London.
Tom percival's comments on the new circuit were: 'It's going to be a tough one. The water area is quite large enough but whenever walls surround a course, we can be sure it'll be a bumpy ride.' Tom's preference for rough water acounted for his comment, 'It's going to be a good weekend!'
This first race in the Royal Victoria Docks would prove to be crucial in deciding the 1983 World Champion. Renato Molinari had a nine point lead of his nearest rival, Cees van der Velden. He only needed to gain more points than his Dutch rival to confirm his claim on the World Series title. But van der Velden was optimistic: 'I have a litle sprint boat here that I used to think would only be of use in calm conditions, but it has proved to be just as fast and controllable in the rough. I reached 145 mph whilst testing in Holland. I think we have a good chance of beating Renato this time. His record this year has not been good in rough water. He has built his boats extremely light and they can't take too much of a pounding.'
Molinari on the other hand didn't seem too concerned and was also confident that the weekend could be his: 'I am happy with the course, I think it is going to prove to be one of the best in Europe. You never know what is going to happen until the chequered flag comes out but I am hoping for a win.'
Indeed, Molinari won all four heats to maintain his 100% success rate. Not only did he lay claim to the World title but also the World Sprint Championships, which were held on the Bank Holiday Monday, of which he won all four heats. It was his 17th world title.