The leaders of Powerboat P1 and the Offshore Powerboat Association have secured four of six venues that will be included in their joint 2019 American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship series. Announced in a press release from P1 this morning, the four event venues and dates set so far are:
Cocoa Beach, Fla.—May 17-19, Thunder On Cocoa Beach.
Lake of the Ozarks, Mo.—May 31-June 2, The Lake Race.
Sarasota, Fla.—July 5-7, Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival.
St. Clair, Mich.—July 26-28, St. Clair River Classic.
The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is one of four races announced today in the planned six-race 2019 Powerboat P1/Offshore Powerboat Association Championship Series. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Our principal goal is quite simply to further develop the sport of offshore (racing),” said Ed “Smitty” Smith, the president of OPA, in the release. “Working with Powerboat P1, we now have the opportunity to unite the race teams in a way that has been missing for a long time. We plan to announce the remaining two race venues later this month and then everyone can look forward to a new and exciting six-race championship in 2019.”
Both OPA and Powerboat P1 run under the APBA umbrella. According to this morning’s release, a “key aim” of their new partnership, which was announced in October, “is to strengthen the future of racing in the United States by delivering an expanded, cohesive, world-class race series split equally between Northern and Southern states.”
“We have identified a number of important areas where we believe the partnership will deliver significant results commercially and also in terms of the sport’s organization and profile,” said Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive of Powerboat P1,, which has its United States office in Orlando, in the release. “Our aim is always to stage events that excite and entertain, ensuring enjoyment for spectators and TV audiences with sponsor value and a real economic impact for the host venues.”
Asked what other venues P1 and OPA were exploring for the series, Rangoonwalla declined to comment.
Powerboat P1 SuperStock raceboat competition will be part of the series in 2018.
In 2019, Cocoa Beach will celebrate its 10th year as a venue for offshore powerboating racing. For the past nine years, Cocoa Beach was an SBI offshore racing venue. The site has produced some of the most memorable rough-water contests in recent history.
“We are excited to be the start of a new offshore racing series with more international teams and we will continue to welcome teams and fans who have made our race so popular,” said Kerry Bartlett, the Space Coast Grand Prix/Cocoa Beach executive director, in the release. “We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to (SBI leaders) John and Deana Carbonell for their support and friendship over the past nine years. It has been an honor to work with them.”
The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival will be staging its 35th season next year. The venue parted ways with SBI after its 2014 event and produced has produced its races with Powerboat P1 for the past three years.
“This is something that the sport has needed for a long time,” said Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of the Sarasota event, the proceeds of which go to benefit Suncoast Charities for Children, in the release. “It will be a ‘win-win’ for race venues, site and team sponsors, fans and most of all for the race teams around the world who compete in the series.”