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Commentary: Bonding A Welcome Byproduct For Race Producers

Without race venue producers—dedicated folks such as Lucy Nicandri of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix and Rick Wright of last weekend’s Great Lakes Grand Prix—offshore racing wouldn’t exist. They are the shakers and movers, the people who get things done in their own communities in a way no outside producer/promoter ever could. Without their efforts, a circuit such as the inaugural and undeniably successful American Power Boat Association Championship Series wouldn’t exist.

Race Promoters Photo

Offshore racing venue promoters/producers in the six-race APBA Offshore Championship Series have bonded like never before

Nicandri and Wright are two members of a special group that includes Kerry Bartlett of Thunder On Cocoa Beach, Mike Shepherd of the Lake Race, Bob Currier of the St. Clair River Classic and Shepherd (once again) and Tim Hill of the upcoming Roar Offshore event—the final race of the series—in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. And of course, each organizer has his or her own hardworking team of staffers who more often than not are volunteers.

Throughout the season, they have bonded in a way rarely—if ever—seen before, according to Nicandri and others in the group. In fact, Nicandri said that sometime after the Fort Myers Beach event she plans to host a race organizer/producer summit up the road in Sarasota, and that every organizer she’s spoken with so far likes the idea.

“I tried to do this several years ago but the climate wasn’t right for it,” she said. “But what a great way for us to create some synergy and streamline some processes on the venue promoter side. As organizers, we have similar business plans. I think that working together as a group, working to support and teach other, we might even be able to cut down some expenses.”

As her post-season race producer meeting idea is still in the germination stage, Nicandri didn’t have specifics about what topics might be covered. But she’s seeing an unprecedented level of cooperation and camaraderie among her fellow organizers, and she’s savvy and forward-thinking enough to want to capitalize on their current momentum.

“Everybody I’ve spoken to is onboard with it,” she said. “I’m just really happy we’re at the point where something like this can happen, where you’re not being told you can’t talk to this promoter or that promoter or race team or that race team. We are the ones out there getting the support—and the money—from our communities. We can only benefit from sharing information and working together.”

Editor’s Note: Roar Offshore, the final race of the APBA Offshore Championship Series, is set for Oct. 10-12 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

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