KEITH ATKINSON in GB TEAM for

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS +NEILPRYDE & AHD BACKING

Keith's efforts have not gone unnoticed this season, he has gained three new

sponsors, NEILPRYDE the worlds number one supplier of sails, booms and masts.

AHD boards and Wet'n Dry Boardsports based in Essex, South east England's leading

kit supplier and board repair workshop. F2 continue their support with Raceboard

equipment.

Atkinson who is a member and race team captain of the Bewl Valley Sailing Club

has made a dramatic move for the 2001 season. Having finished 2000 with high

honours in the UK National Raceboard Unlimited class, he has moved on to the

relatively newFormula Windsurf class. During the winter Keith decided that although

he had only completed one season in Raceboard at National level, finishing a

remarkable 4th at the age of only 17 in the Unlimited class, the future in International

racing is in Formula which is rapidly gaining popularity around the world and

could well be the class selection for the 2008 Olympics. With eight years to

prepare he considers now is the time to make the move.

The last weekend in April saw the first UKWA national UK event take place at

the picturesque resort of Llandudno. Despite a chilly weekend with sleet on

the Sunday and a snow covered Snowdonia as a backdrop, plus competitors who

have already several seasons of Formula experience, he managed to finish his

first Formula event in second place, in the National Formula Silver Fleet.

The second mid May event, held at Weymouth, resulted in improved conditions

and a similar result. With Keith wearing the leader's vest after day one, having

won all three races but with a disqualification in race three for being over

the start line. Day two, with stronger winds, provided a great tussle between

Keith and Jono Turner. However Keith was caught out using an 11.0m sail with

increasing winds, which resulted in two races where Jono, using a smaller more

manageable rig, was able to get ahead. In the end it was all down to Keith's

disqualification, which cost him his first ever National event title. However

it was still sufficient to put him in first position in the 2001 National Championship

for Formula Silver Fleet.

Round three took place as a three-day event over the Spring Bank Holiday at

Hove and was also this years European Championship qualifying event, although

blessed with wind the south coast was dogged with sea fog on and off over the

weekend. Mid day Saturday saw the start of the racing, however whilst Keith

was on the start line he was to have a competitors sail dropped on him which

resulted in a five-centimeter gash to the top of his thumb. Whilst he managed

to complete the first race he struggled with severe pain in his hand finishing

seventh before coming ashore for medical attention. Undeterred the next two

races saw him regain form with two second places and a first place, Sunday was

a mixture of sea fog and racing but by Monday the conditions deteriorated and

racing was abandoned at lunchtime. Keith managed to finish 3rd overall which

was enough for him to retain his lead in the UK 2001 Formula Silver Fleet Championship

and to qualify for the GB team, taking part in this year's European Championships

held on the Baltic coast at Sopot in Poland.

With only three days notice before departing with the team for Poland, Keith

had to postpone his driving test, that was due on the day he departed, those

nice people at the driving test centre acknowledged his team appointment and

have allowed him to postpone the date.

Unfortunately the European championship event didn't get sufficient wind for

a result, but since then Keith has qualified for the GB Team for the 2001 World

Youth & Masters in Rome