The quest to revitalise the TP52

Photos: Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries
Lars Bocking and Rob Weiland on the first season of the 52 Super Series
From its peak participation, when more than 20 boats took part in the 2007 and 2008 seasons of the Audi MedCup, numbers of TP52 competing have been in sharp decline. In 2009 the circuit was down to just 13 boats, further dropping to 11 in 2010 and just seven in 2011. This came as little surprise with the severe economic downturn, particularly across Europe and Spain, combined with the increasingly competitive nature of the fleet and the resultant escalating costs that have been time and again proved the bane of box rule classes. With just five to eight boats competing in this year’s newly christened ‘52 Super Series’ it is easy to assume that the TP52 class in Europe is soon to demise. But there is one very significant factor preventing this: rather than being owned by a commercial entity, as was the case with the Audi MedCup, behind the new ’52 Super Series’ are three of the big players in the class - Doug de Vos, Niklas Zennström and Alberto Roemmers - all gentlemen of ‘adequate resources’. In short it will be they, and not market forces, that determine the fate of the class and they are showing no signs of wanting it to end. As TP52 Class Manager, Rob Wieland summarises: “They wanted this and the class to continue after the MedCup, because they consider the boats and the racing to be too good to disappear.” The new entity running the TP52 racing in Europe came about after a suggestion the Quantum team and Doug DeVos, who has experience in US sports, his family owning the Orlando Magic basketball team. The new look 52 Super Series this year has of course been very different to the Audi MedCup. The MedCup’s massive staff and its impressive acreage of hospitality tents haven’t disappeared, they are