PG1 (Premium G1)

  • PG1 BBC Tournament

    12 million yen

    Nerve-wracking short-term sudden death tournament.

    BBC Tournament is a Premium G1 racing event established newly in 2019.
    BBC stands for BOAT RACE Battle Champion.

    Nerve-wracking short-term sudden death tournament
    This tournament decides who is the true champion. What makes this racing event unique is that it is a nerve-wracking short-term tournament.
    The contest is held in a tournament style. One loss sends the racer home.

    The racer is eliminated immediately and not allowed to proceed to the next stage if he or she cannot clear any of the following conditions.
    1. Day 1: The racers who participate in the 5th to 12th races must finish in first, second, or third place.
    2. Day 2: The racers who finished in first, second, and third places in the above-mentioned races are divided into four groups, and each group of racers compete in a race. They must finish in first, second, or third place.
    3. Day 3: The 12 racers who finished in first, second, and third places in the four races on day 2 are divided into two groups, and each group of racers compete in a race.
    The racers must finish in first, second, or third place in either race to become finalists. There are a total of six finalists.
    4. Final day: The six finalists compete in the final race.
    The slots in this final race are determined by lottery using a “ghost leg machine”.
    To be the champion requires both luck and skill.
    The BBC Tournament is a unique, extremely fierce battle.

    The tournament is open to a total of 48 racers, who are chosen according to the following criteria, without regard for their places in the prize money list.
    1. Winner of the last tournament
    2. Winner of an SG or PG1 race or three G2 races of the previous year
    3. Winner of the previous year’s three-day BOAT RACE battle tournament held to thank fans
    4. Among the 15 top racers chosen according to the qualifications for the previous year’s SG and PG1 races, those who have the highest winning rates in the races in the past nine months
    The racers who clear all these high hurdles gather to compete in the tournament.

    BBC Tournament is a Premium G1 racing event in which those outstanding racers who have performed well in recent races vie for the prize money of 12 million yen.

  • PG1 Masters Championship

    12 million yen

    While being a kind of G1 race, Masters Championship is specially categorized as a Premium G1 race attended only by veteran racers.

    The first Masters Championship race took place at BOAT RACE Suminoe in April 2000.
    At the beginning, competitors needed to be 50 years old or older to participate. The age limit was lowered to 48 from the 4th race in 2003 and to 45 from the 19th race in 2018.

    <About racers who participate in this race>
    While there is no class specification for participation, the basic condition is that a racer must be 45 years old or older as of April 1 of the year period in which the race is held.
    The race is contested by a total of 52 racers, consisting of the defending champion, the winners of the Masters League race that is held 10 times a year, and those whose winning rates stayed in the top places from February of the previous year through January of the current year.
    The competitors who take part in this race are top veteran racers.

    In the 7th Masters Championship race in 2006, Akira Mantani (Okayama Branch), then 62 years old, clinched his first GI title to become the oldest racer to win a GI race, breaking the previous record set by Yoshinori Okamoto (Fukuoka Branch).

  • PG1 Ladies Championship

    12 million yen

    A hot race by female racers who carry on the passion of their predecessors.

    The first BOAT RACE took place at BOAT RACE Omura in April 1952, and there is a record showing that female racers participated even in early days of boat racing.
    Chieko Noritsugu, registration No. 78, took part in the first All-Japan Championship race, together with other female racers.
    The first woman who won a memorial race was Kimiko Toita, who finished in first place in the first Shimonoseki Anniversary Memorial race in 1955. The achievements of female racers are an inseparable part of the history of boat racing.

    Dwarfed by bigger male colleagues, however, female racers saw their opportunities to perform at high levels diminish, their popularity gradually subsiding. The training of female racers stopped temporarily in 1965. At the time, there were only three active female racers - Michiyo Furukawa, Chie Omori, and Kayoko Tanaka. The glorious history of female boat racers seemed to be doomed to end.

    Then came a woman who remedied the situation. It was Yumiko Suzuki.
    In 1974, Suzuki entered the training center, becoming the first woman to do so in nine years. Her superb physical capabilities, good reflexes, and serious attitude toward training were highly praised, pushing her into the spotlight. Suzuki trained hard, turning expectations into power. As a result, she won the first women’s championship race held at BOAT RACE Hamanako in 1987, paving the way for female racers to regain public attention. This event later became the current Ladies Champion race.
    Due to the subsequent achievements by Suzuki and other colleagues, the training of female racers started in earnest in 1980.

    Ladies Championship has been the driver of this trend. The race is contested by a total of 52 racers, consisting of the defending champion, the winner of the G2 Ladies All Star race, the winners of the G3 All Ladies races held from June of the previous year through May of the current year, and those whose winning rates stayed in the top places from June of the previous year through May of the current year. All the participating competitors do their best to earn the prize money of 12 million yen.
    Since Ladies Championship is attended by a relatively small number of racers and their skill levels, personalities, and tactics are apparent, it is said to be easy to predict how the race will unfold. Ladies Championship is held in August.

  • PG1 Young Derby

    12 million yen

    A race to win the prize money and future.

    Young Derby is contested by young racers who are under the age of 30 as of September 1.
    The first Young Derby race took place at BOAT RACE Toda in September 2014.

    The race is contested by a total of 52 male and female racers, consisting of the defending champion, the winners of the G3 Eastern Young and Western Young races took place in the year period in which this race is held, and those whose winning rates stayed in the top places from July of the previous year through June of the current year (the number of races in which a racer is allowed to participate is limited).

    Look at the winners of the past, and it’s plain to see that the race is the starting point for young racers to climb the career ladder.
    What’s at stake in the Young Derby series is not just the prize money of 12 million yen. The future of young racers depends on this race.

    ▼Winners of the past
    9th September 2022 (BOAT RACE Tamagawa) Omi Shogo
    8th September 2021 (BOAT RACE Tokuyama) Naoya Hano
    7th September 2020 (BOAT RACE Biwako) Makoto Isobe
    6th September 2019 (BOAT RACE Mikuni) Hyoya Nagai
    5th September 2018 (BOAT RACE Hamanako) Hiroya Seki
    4th September 2017 (BOAT RACE Gamagori) Ryuta Nakada
    3rd September 2016 (BOAT RACE Tokoname) Taishiro Matsuda
    2nd September 2015 (BOAT RACE Amagasaki) Yuki Matsuda
    1st September 2014 (BOAT RACE Toda) Junpei Kiryu

    Every winner gained momentum and climbed the career ladder as a professional racer.
    The PG1 Young Derby is attended by such promising racers. The race takes place in September every year.

  • PG1 Queens Climax

    16 million yen

    This race decides who is the BOAT RACE queen!

    If you think that publicly operated competitions are only for men, you are wrong.
    The boat racing community provides evidence of it and is the forerunner of the times.
    Women account for less than 5% of the competitors in Japan’s horse races, bicycle races, and motorcycle races.
    Of about 1,600 boat racers, on the other hand, as many as 240 are women, accounting for approximately 15% of the total number.
    While female racers existed even in 1952 when the first BOAT RACE took place, the situation has changed dramatically in recent years. Female racers, as well as women’s races and tournaments, have substantially gained in popularity.

    What best reflects this trend is Queens Climax, which holds the final race on December 31.
    Only 12 female racers who earned the most prize money during the January-November period of the year are allowed to compete in the race.

    As in the Grand Prix, racers cannot make it to the final unless they get through the qualifying trial races.
    The victory heavily depends on which course is assigned, and courses are selected by lottery during the event.
    Racers do their best in preparation and leave the rest to fate, which is very befitting for a BOAT RACE.

    There is a saying, “Victory does not come without tears.” Racers are not the only ones who shake in emotion when they receive the prize money of 16 million yen and have the tiara of honor on their head.
    Fans also feel the same way.

About PG1
PG1 stands for Premium G1 and is positioned between the highest SG (Special Grade) and G1.