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APBA Offshore National Championship Series Picture Bright For 2023

Though offshore powerboat racing world championship action rightly claimed the spotlight last week in Key West, Fla., those titles weren’t the only important matters resolved during the Race World Offshore-produced event presented by Performance Boat Center and sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association and Union Internationale Motonautique. Rich Luhrs, the APBA offshore racing commissioner, met with RWO president Larry Bleil and P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1 chief executive officer Azam Rangoonwala during the week to nail down the 2023 APBA Offshore National Championship Series.

Kicking off in April, the 2023 APBA Offshore National Championship Series is the result of collaboration among P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1 and Race World Offshore. Photo from the 2021 Key West Offshore World Championships by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Here’s a quick look at what’s on tap next year:

The seven-race series will kick off April 28-30 in Marathon, Fla., a new venue to RWO, followed by the P1 Offshore event in Cocoa Beach, Fla., May 18-21. From there, the national championship series will head to Sarasota, Fla., for the July 3 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix—a P1 Offshore venue. The next event will be in August at a to-be-determined RWO venue, followed by the P1 Offshore St. Petersburg Grand Prix in early September, the RWO Clearwater ‘Nationals’ in late September and another to-be-determined RWO event in October.

Produced once again by RWO, the APBA/UIM Offshore World Championships will return to Key West November 5-12.

Both RWO and Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore are APBA member-organizations. During the 2023 series, RWO will handle on-site operations, from technical inspections to safety, at each site. P1 Offshore will handle all media and marketing initiatives.

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Race World Offshore president Larry Bleil, American Power Boat Association Offshore commission chairman Rich Luhrs and Powerboat P1 chief executive officer Azam Rangoonwala worked closely on the 2023 national championship series schedule.

Bleil described the partnership between the two entities for the 2023 series as “a new integrated relationship.”

“The new APBA National Championship Series is a collaboration between Race World Offshore and P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1,” he explained. “Our goal is to produce even better offshore powerboat racing, and an even better series.

“We expect to ink our new title sponsor in a couple of weeks—that should happen pretty soon now and we’ll announce it as soon as it does,” he added.

Luhrs and Rangoonwala also said they’re looking forward to the synergy they expect from the new partnership.

“APBA Offshore is thrilled to announce our 2023 National Championship Offshore series and the new partnership between our member-organizations, P1 Offshore and Race World Offshore,” Luhrs said. “The stability of a single set of rules, overseen by uniform marketing, officiating, administration and safety teams consisting of the best operations and personnel from both P1 and RWO will establish an APBA race model, which represents best practices in the sport.

“This partnership is the result of enormous effort, admirable cooperation and a uniform desire to raise the bar both professionally and promotionally,” he continued. “The willingness to compromise, cooperate and communicate is the basis of this partnership from and by all parties. We already see an influx of new sponsors, new race teams and a remarkable increase in the quality of the entire racing product, equipment, talent and excitement.”

In addition to being an APBA-member outfit, P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1 holds the marketing and production rights to UIM Class 1 competition. That 2023 schedule should be released in the next few weeks, according to Rangoonwala, who is delighted with the RWO partnership.

“We worked with Larry and his team in 2022 and it has been enjoyable and productive,” he explained. “We look forward to a successful partnership in 2023 and beyond. There is a lot of work to do on all fronts, but we are always up for the challenge to continue to build the sport of powerboat racing for the future.”

Added Luhrs, “This is the first step in a very enlightened new vision, and a reshaping and upgrading of the core values in the sport. We are well aware that much work is left to be done to nurture and protect this model, but the ever-increasing efforts and passionate enthusiasm from our great group of race teams will help pave the way to a very bright future indeed.”

The APBA Super Cat class, as well as the Super Stock and new 450R Factory Stock classes, is in great shape heading into the 2023 season.

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