Insurance giant GEICO has agreed to be the presenting sponsor for three-event offshore powerboat racing series in New Jersey this summer called “The Roar At The Jersey Shore.” Produced by the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association and sanctioned by the Offshore Powerboat Association, the “sub-series” of the OPA’s regular season will include the Barnegat Bay/Seaside Heights Grand Prix May 29-31, the Atlantic City Veterans Grand Prix June 19-21 and the Manasquan Veterans Offshore Grand Prix July 5-10.
Like the Atlantic City Grand Prix (shown here), the two new offshore races will incorporate activities for veterans. Photo courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
“These races are 100-percent certain,” said Dave Patnaude, the director of the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association and the president New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club. “We either have contracts in hand from every city or contracts on their way back to us.
“As the presenting sponsor, GEICO corporate will be helping us with our media campaigns,” he added. “About six weeks out from each race, they’ll be providing billboard advertising and tagging their radio and television commercials with the events.”
Patnaude said that, based on the success of including sponsored activities for veterans from the Wounded Warriors Project in the three-year-old Atlantic City Grand Prix, it was essential to feature something similar for veterans in all three events. Prior to the Atlantic City race weekend, the producers intend to sell sponsorships ($900) to participants, fans and other interested persons who want to support veterans and their families during the weekend with hotel rooms at the host venue Golden Nugget Casino, Hotel and Marina, meals and a special cocktail event. On race day during the Seaside Heights/Barnegat Bay event, Patnaude said he plans to have a large “party” vessel on the water as a viewing and hospitality area for interested veterans.
Both the Atlantic City and Manasquan events have historical significance in the offshore racing world, as both hosted epic offshore battles during the 1970s and 1980s. Both will be open-water races. The Seaside Heights/Barnegat Bay Grand Prix will be a protected flat-water event.
“The (Manasquan ) race even falls on the same week as the original Benihana Offshore Grand Prix of the ’70s and early ’80s,” said Larry Grafas, owner of Hoffman’s Marina, the host venue for final race in the series, in a press release. “Everyone is extremely excited to see offshore racing return to the area and to see the race boats head out of Manasquan inlet once again.”
Added Patnaude, “This series is a big thing for the area. Seaside Heights has had some rough times, first with Hurricane Sandy and then with the Boardwalk burning down. A lot of the homes that were destroyed during Sandy haven’t been rebuilt. The B.I.D. (Business Improvement District) for Seaside Heights got behind the race, and we’re going to have raceboats in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in March. That parade attracts 100,000 people.”