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OPA St. Clair Race Wrap-Up: One Major Milestone, Two Close Battles

Putting on one of the most successful offshore powerboat races for 20 consecutive years is an achievement that cannot be ignored. And that’s exactly what the crew at Blue Water Offshore Racing Association (BWORA) has done. But the staying power of this Michigan milestone, which was reached last week during the Offshore Powerboat Association-sanctioned offshore race on the St. Clair River, is no surprise given all the great features this venue has to offer.


Broadco prevailed in one of two epic battles during yesterday’s OPA races onthe St. Clair River. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

First, and maybe the most important, the whole town shuts down for the race. And when I say shuts down, I mean shuts down. They close Main Street that runs right along the St. Clair River and allow the dry pits to be right there with vendors, carnivals and concerts. Fans can walk up and back looking at all the things going on, then walk not even 50 yards to watch the boat race. All too often these days, we hear about race sites pulling back on their involvement in racing, citing that they don’t see the benefit causing the organizations to struggle to find quality sites with the necessary funds to make the event happen. It’s uncommon—make that rare—for organizations and teams to pull into a town and feel so welcome.

The St. Clair River Classic has also been home to some of the most spectacular offshore boat races, and two races this year did not disappoint.

The first was in the Super Vee Light class, which put on a great show for the fans. The Tug It team of Kevin Smith and Will Ross got a great start, jumped out to an early lead and seemed to walking away from the rest of the field. As the race progressed, Pirate Racing chipped away at Tug It’s lead all the way down to about a half a rooster tail. But then Tug It then suffered a mechanical issue that dropped them back to fourth and handed the win to Pirate Racing.

The second very exciting race was in the Super Cat Class. Of the four boats in this class, two had raced and this season and two had not. Chuck Broaddus and Grant Bruggemann of the Broadco Racing team came to Broaddus’ home town state to take on the hometown hero’s Ed and Shawn Smith of Cleveland Construction.

The two variables that came into play for the first time this season were Team AMSOIL and Phoenix Parts. Both teams came to Michigan with test time only on the new engine program.

When the green flag dropped Broadco checked out and never looked back. AMSOIL gave good chase to the Broadco team but came up short in the end. Cleveland Construction, which swapped out motors after testing on Sunday came in third and Phoenix Parts dropped out early with a mechanical problem. It was an awesome win for Broaddus whose company, Broadco Property Restoration, also was the title sponsor of the event.

After 20 years you would think everyone would be getting tired but the crew of BWORA seemed more energized then ever. Next stop on the 2014 OPA circuit is Port Huron, Michigan.

Editor’s Note: Longtime offshore racing broadcaster Mike Yowaiski is a frequent contributor to speedonthewater.com.

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