Countdown to air and sea spectacular

The final countdown to one of the biggest events in Lowestoft's history began last night with the organisers of the ever-popular air festival and the new power boat grand prix putting the finishing touches to the four-day spectacular.

The final countdown to one of the biggest events in Lowestoft's history began last night with the organisers of the ever-popular air festival and the new power boat grand prix putting the finishing touches to the four-day spectacular.

Hundreds of thousands of people are set to descend on the town's seafront for the two-day air show followed by a weekend of top quality power boat racing organised by Honda.

Organisers believe that combining the two high-profile events is a recipe for success, with confidence high that the amount of money generated for the area will top the £11m raised last year when the air show was a stand-alone event.

Months of hard work will come to fruition at 12.30pm on Thursday when the 11th air festival gets under way with a Falklands theme to mark the 25th anniversary of the conflict.


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The planes will then take off again from 1pm on Friday before the focus moves from the sky to the sea on Saturday and Sunday for the Honda Formula 4-Stroke Powerboat Series.

Organisers have chosen Lowestoft as one of its venues for the first time and visitors will be treated to 40 power boats racing in two classes. Race times are 1pm and 2pm on Saturday and 12.45pm and 2pm on Sunday.

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Air festival managing director Paul Bayfield said he was expecting a total of 400,000 people to flock to the seafront for the air show, which will feature up to 40 classic and modern planes flying for more than four hours on both days.

The world-famous Red Arrows will entertain the crowds on Thursday and Friday, with aerobatic displays also set to prove a big draw.

While the air show is free, Mr Bayfield said the cost of putting it on was in the region of £300,000 and he stressed the importance of putting a donation of at least £1 in the many collection buckets that will be on display around the seafront.

"It is vital we get those pounds in the buckets," he added. "There will always be a funding shortage, but the pounds help bridge the gap and enable us to take the plunge the following year."

Honda spokesman Iain Radcliffe said: "We are absolutely delighted to be racing on the east coast. Lowestoft is a good location because we can race close to the front and hopefully people will get a very good view of the action."

James Wilby, a forecaster for the UEA-based Weatherquest, said both days of the air show should be warm, with temperatures of at least 20C. However, visitors should dig out their waterproofs with showers forecast on Thursday and patchy rain on Friday.

On Sunday, there will also be the added attraction as 1,000 bikers taking part in the Eastern Lights charity motorcycle cavalcade arrive in Lowestoft having set off from the Thickthorn park and ride site, near Norwich, at 12.30pm.

For air festival visitors, there will be park and ride services running from Dip Farm in Corton, to the north of Lowestoft, and at Pakefield Rifle Range to the south.

All main seafront car parks will be closed and police will have strict no waiting regulations. Rail company One will be putting on extra services.

For more air show details, visit www.lowestoftairfestival.co.uk

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