After an incredibly competitive year in which five different drivers won in the season’s six races, the stage appears to be set for a competitive 2019 NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship season.
The competitive NGK Formula Powerboat Championship series has six races on its 2019 calendar. Photo by Paul Kemiel
This year, according to Tim Seebold, the legendary driver behind the series, there are going to be a few new race sites, including a mid-July return to Bay City, Mich., for Rockin’ the River, the former Bay City River Roar that has hosted tunnel-boat races for more than 30 years.
“We’re excited about this season and the variety of events we have in store for the teams and fans,” Seebold said, adding that Bay City, a venue he thoroughly enjoyed as a racer, is an extremely positive addition to the schedule. “When we started this series our goals were to bring more parity to the sport and increase participation. Last year we went from a lap-based format to a timed race, which works when you have a variety of racecourses like we do. I think the shortest course was about 27 seconds and the longest one was 47 seconds. That makes the racing more challenging for the drivers, but it also mixes things up and makes it a little more fun.”
Seebold said he’s looking forward to the new venue in Toledo, Ohio, as well as the new Windsor, Colo., location, which will serve as the American Power Boat Association National Championships for the F1 class as well as the F-Lights and Tri Hull classes.
“We raced in Windsor many years ago so it’s cool to be able to bring the boats back there,” Seebold said. “It’s a small race site in a residential area so it should be a pretty intimate setting.
“It’s going to be hard to win a race this year,” he continued. “There are at least 10 teams that could win at any time thanks to their equipment and experience. I think we have nine new teams this year and several teams with new boats. If we don’t have couple of events with at least 30 F1 boats I’ll be surprised.”
Like last year, all six of the 2019 NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship races are going to broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
Here’s a look at the 2019 season schedule:
• Highlands Spring Classic, April 7 – Baytown, Texas
* F1 and F-Light classes to run as local classes without series points or prize money
• Port Neches River Fest, May 3-5 – Port Neches, Texas
• Rock The River Toledo, June 28-29 – Toledo, Ohio – F1
• Rockin’ The River, July 12-14 – Bay City, Mich.
• Three Rivers Regatta, August 2-4 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
• Wake the Lake, Aug. 9-11 – Springfield, Ohio
• Roar of the Rockies, August 31 – September 1 – Windsor, Colo.
*APBA F1, F-Light and Tri Hull National Championships