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Divisional Clubs Crucial to Offshore Racing Growth

Late last week, I spoke with Mark Weber, the president of the American Power Boat Association in Detroit. For what it’s worth the APBA is the domestic arm of the Union Internationale Motonautique, the widely accepted, international sanctioning body for powerboat racing.

I was interviewing Weber for a story on APBA’s “Ride of a Lifetime” driving school program, which will appear in the next issue of Powerboat magazine. The program provides would-be racers with a hands-on introduction to various classes of hydroplanes, and even an outboard-powered SST 120 tunnel boat. This summer’s sessions of the school were so successful, said Weber, that the program will expand significantly in 2010. (But you can read all about that in magazine feature.)

Could such a driving school be created for would-be offshore racers? I don’t see why not. (Tres Martin, I hope you’re reading this.)

Without question, the APBA hydroplane ranks have strong divisional club racing. Offshore racing also has divisional club competition, but for the most part it’s anything but strong. In fact, most divisional offshore clubs are shrinking. And if offshore racing is to regain any sort of critical mass—much less the “I have a dream” vision of unification—those clubs need to grow.

“I don’t know where it (divisional club racing) went, but we need to get it back,” Weber told me. “We need to find ways to encourage people to race on a regional level to grow the sport and build a national circuit.”