THE high octane thrills and spills of power boat racing returned to the North-East over the weekend.

The third annual NE1 Zapcat Powerboat Grand Prix was staged on the River Tyne, between Newcastle and Gateshead, on Saturday and Sunday.

Organisers estimate the event attracted about 25,000 people over the weekend.

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Sara Ragan, spokesman for NE1, said: “It has been phenomenal success and the riders absolutely love Newcastle because it is so atmospheric.

“Spectators are almost on top of them and can see what is going on.

“The audience is much closer to the action as they are lining the bridges and the Quayside and that enhances the competition.”

Zapcat Powerboats are fast, lightweight and manoeuvrable, reaching speeds of more than 45 miles per hour and pulling 3Gs in the turns, making racing adrenalin fuelled.

Seven teams competed in each heat with 13 heats and two finals each day with the ultimate goal to win the NE1 Zapcat Grand Prix trophy.

Ms Ragan said the event also had positive impact on the business community on the Quayside.

She added: “The businesses love it because it has boosted trade by 50 per cent in recent years.

“Because of the proximity of the city to the river, bringing thousands of people to watch what is happening also gives them the chance to explore the businesses that are based there.”