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Englewood Beach ‘Pumped’ For Upcoming OPA Worlds

A member of the Englewood Beach Waterfest organizing committee and the local point-man for the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships this weekend, Ray LaBadie got a bit of great news this morning. Though the dry pits in the Southwest Florida city don’t open until Wednesday, two teams are already in town with their raceboats.

“When I got that call this morning, I got so excited,” he said. “I was like, ‘OK, here we go.’”

LaBadie paused to chuckle. “I should have an award for ‘first in the pits,’” he added.

Bracket-class world championships will be on the line in Englewood Beach, Fla., this weekend. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

During two days of racing this Saturday and Sunday on a four-mile, seven-turn course running clockwise, Bracket-class racers will vie for American Power Boat Association-sanctioned offshore world championships. Registration closes Friday evening so an official count is not available, but in 2019 the event attracted a record-setting 75 teams across all classes.

Though non-bracket-class APBA world titles were awarded last weekend in Key West, Fla., Super Stock-class representative Ryan Beckley said he expects five teams—including his own and Jackhammer—to compete on the four-mile, seven-turn clockwise course in Englewood Beach. A similar turnout is expected for the Stock V class including the event keystone sponsor North Myrtle Beach RV Resort and and Shocker teams.

Measuring four miles and running clockwise, the Englewood beach course boasts a technical, seven-turn layout.

Based in the Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., area, KRMS Radio is producing the video and radio broadcast for the event. It will be streamed live on the KRMS 95.75 and 103.5 FM radio station website, as well as the station’s Facebook page. Starting at 10 a.m., five races currently are scheduled for each day.

The Englewood Beach event, which will celebrate its seventh year this weekend, averages 30,000 visitors during the two-day race period, according to LaBadie. It was cancelled in 2020 in light of pandemic safety concerns.

“This town has been excited for weeks,” said LaBadie. “Though we haven’t closed it yet, we are almost sold out of VIP tickets. Englewood is pumped.”

Fresh from a second-place overall finish in Key West, Fla., last weekend, Jackhammer will in Super Stock-class mix in Englewood Beach.

Click here for the complete OPA World Championships/Englewood Beach Waterfest schedule.

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