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Lake Havasu Classic Outboard Championships Returns

In celebration of the famous London Bridge and its 50th anniversary in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., powerboat racing is once again going to dazzle the shores of the city along the Colorado River with the running of the beloved Lake Havasu Classic Outboard Championships. According to a press release, the powerboat racing event will be held October 15-17 and will be conducted by the reputable NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Series, which is known for its heart-thumping high-horsepower tunnel-boat action featuring world-class teams and drivers.

The Lake Havasu Classic Outboard Championships is returning to the Western Arizona town in the fall, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the relocation of the London Bridge. Photo from the 1972 Outboard World Championship courtesy Lars Strom/SVERA.se.

Race headquarters and free fan viewing is going to be at the Nautical Beachfront Resort, overlooking Thompson Bay, which longtime powerboat fans may remember as being the original location of the championships dating back to 1964. Many Havasu Classic stars from the past are expected to be in attendance to revel in the excitement of this highly anticipated racing event that includes the rededication of the city’s famous London Bridge. The winningest powerboat driver in history, the legendary Bill Seebold, is going to host the Racers Reunion driver’s party, pairing Havasu racing legends with vintage raceboats of historical Havasu significance, which will also be on display for the fans.

With the NGK F1 Series event being a rare doubleheader, this ensures that racing fans will enjoy three full days of action-packed excitement featuring three classes each day—Formula 1, Tri-Hull and Formula Lights. The news comes on the heels of the NGK F1 Series season opener in Port Neches, Texas, which was won by veteran driver RJ West.

According to the release, the city’s founder, Robert P. McCulloch, Jr. was the first to initiate the outboard championships at Lake Havasu in 1964, and with his visionary skills, the race soon became a Lake Havasu Thanksgiving weekend tradition, drawing competitors from every corner of the globe for high stakes cash and prizes. As the enterprising owner of McCulloch Motors, he later purchased the then-sinking London Bridge in 1968, numbered its granite blocks, and then shipped the pieces of noble English history to the USA. Upon their arrival in Lake Havasu, McCulloch then resurrected the granite blocks in the exact same order over man-made Bridgewater Channel, a feat that was completed 50 years ago, creating a tourist mecca in the heart of the Arizona desert. Lake Havasu City continued to host the Lake Havasu Classic Outboard Championships through 1990. Check out the YouTube video below from the 1972 world championship.

“Lake Havasu and the Classic have a special place in our families’ hearts—we are honored to be part of this historic 50th anniversary event for the city,” said Tim Seebold, the director of the NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Series and a former championship-winning driver following in his father’s footsteps. “The powerboat racing world’s historic alignment with the City and Classic will once again be front and center showcasing the excitement to the fans on the shores of Lake Havasu.”

Seebold is hopeful resurrecting the historic event at a significant time in the city’s history could reignite the prestige of world-class racing on the city’s beckoning shores.

“We are thrilled with the enthusiasm of the Seebold family and NGK Spark Plugs to put on this nostalgic race to help to pay tribute to Robert P. McCulloch and the birth of the city,” said Terence Concannon, president and CEO of the Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau, Go Lake Havasu. “McCulloch’s history of winning outboard races and starting the World Outboard Championships in 1964 is a strong testament to the passion he had for the engines and the sport, which eventually led to his vision of rebuilding the beloved London Bridge here.”

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