Gallery: UIM-ABP Aquabike 2019 World Championships; Grand Prix of Portugal

Portimao, the 2019 European City of Sport and the largest town in the western Algarve hosted the opening round of the UIM-ABP Aquabike 2019 World Championships.

The Grand Prix of Portugal saw over 70 riders from 26 countries, including many of the worlds elite riders entertaining the crowds with three days of non-stop action on the Arade River. A full program of racing in Runabout GP1, Ski GP1, Ski Ladies GP1, Slalom and Freestyle as well as the younger pilots competing in the Ski Juniors World Championship.

Making her debut in the blue ribbon class, based out of Miami, Florida and representing the Americas, Andrea Dominguez, the 25-year-old Colombian made history becoming the first woman to ride in the premier category.

With junior championships, multiple national championships and the first Colombian to win the South American Championship already behind her, the pilot with the sweetest voice of the paddock explains.

“When I was small I said wow! look at these guys, I want to replicate these moves so my father taught me. Racing with the best guys in the world has been a dream of mine for 14 years, so when Aquabike said to me Andrea, yes you can race in GP, I said yes lets do it, racing with the awesome guys really is my dream come true”.

Andrea has set herself a two year target. “This year I just want to try to learn a lot, training hard, running, swimming and jumping on the Sea-Doo, it is why I moved to Miami. Next year I want to be in the top ten and hopefully this will encourage other women to join.”

After two races Andrea had collected some points on the leader board and stood one place above her mentor, world ranked number one Yousef Al Abdulrazzaq who experienced a disastrous start to his campaign, destroying one engine and then breaking down on a borrowed craft.

Having an equally bad time was the other American challenger, #22 Anthony Radetic who had arrived in Portugal with hopes of a good result. Running 18th on the final lap of round one Anthony’s engine management light bought his race to an abrupt end. The engine destroyed it looked like his weekend was already over.

Sunday morning though a small glimmer of hope shone through with the early morning sun. “This is what I love about these guys, nothing is too much trouble to help each other.”

Stepping up to the plate, Team Croatia along with Anthony’s cousin Eddie the trio set about replacing the dead engine with a brand new one. The sun baking down on the towns sculpture laden promenade the guys had no time for looking around as they toiled in the heat. With just 20 minutes till race start the ski was launched and some valuable minutes were put on the engine. A dockside service and more oil, with the Stars and Stripes in hand #22 made his way out to the start.

All this work was in vain, the engine once again ending his valiant effort. The hard work went unrewarded with zero points on the board but he did gain many new friends among the Portuguese fans for his resilience and determination.

“Yes we are disappointed with the result but we can’t dwell, we have to fix the problems and be ready for the next round.”

Laying down the marker the defending World Champion, Jeremy Perez and Rashed Al Tayer shared the spoils with the Team Abu Dhabi pilot taking his first ever Grand Prix victory. His weekend made even more special after already winning the Saturday night Slalom competition with close racing and pinpoint accuracy.

The Freestyle drew large crowds to the river banks to watch the defending world champion Rashed Al Mulla extend his remarkable unbeaten Grand Prix victories to seven rounds.

The defending champion in Women’s Ski Latvian, Krista Uzare had to join the spectators, nursing a fractured tibula and perched upon crutches she could only watch on as her closest rival, Sweden’s Emma-Nellie Ortendahl who dominated both races taking a 50 point maximum into round two.

Also due to miss round two the Krista admits that her season will be a struggle but is determined to return for round three in China fitter and stronger than ever.

For a full list of results go to Aquabike’s website and if you have not watched the television broadcast, you can see all the races HERE.

Rashid Al Mulla 02 Rashid Al Mulla 01 Rashed Al Tayer 02 K Uzare Womens Ski World Champion01 DSC_3191 DSC_3170 DSC_3132 DSC_3027 DSC_3025 DSC_2865 DSC_2492-2 DSC_0653 DSC_0340 DSC_0306 DSC_0281 DSC_0145 DSC_0118 DSC_0112 DSC_0109 DSC_0033 DSC_0031 DSC_0023 DSC_0018 DSC_0008 Andrea Dominguez 03 Andrea Dominguez 01 190512moto3UBE010 190511moto2UBE087 190511moto2UBE060 190511moto2UBE056 DSC_3025 DSC_3027 Rashid Al Mulla 03 Rashed Al Tayer 01 Rashid Al Mulla 03 K Uzare Womens Ski World Champion02 DSC_0022 DSC_0284 DSC_3126 Andrea Dominguez 02 DSC_0228 DSC_0578 Eddie Team Radetic DSC_2588-2 Parade Lap DSC_2779 DSC_0270 DSC_0440 DSC_3183 DSC_0111 Rashid Al Mulla 04 DSC_3099 DSC_0169 DSC_3017
UIM-ABP-AQUABIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP- Runabout at the Grand Prix of Portugal. May 10-12, 2019 Picture by Vittorio Ubertone/ABP - copyright free editorial

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