After a meeting last Friday between key Hotelplanner.com Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix organizers and Race World Offshore principals, the mid-March-announced plan for RWO personnel to handle the technical inspection portion of the Sunday, July 1, has been scrubbed. Budget issues to the tune of an additional $12,000 for RWO expenses and other issues led to an amicable parting of the ways between the primary parties behind the western Florida event, which is going on as planned under its original Powerboat P1/American Power Boat Association sanction. The news was announced in a press release today from Sarasota Suncoast Charities for Children executive director Lucy Nicandri.
“We as a race site and Powerboat P1 have spent a lot of time trying to make this collaboration work,” said Nicandri in the release. “The contract was very clear when all parties signed and it is unfortunate that these additional costs were not disclosed earlier by Race World Offshore. Powerboat P1 has put together a good team to ensure we have a very safe and exciting race weekend. I am pleased to announce that long-time racer and Sarasota resident, Steve Kildahl, has agreed to serve as our race chairman for Sarasota.
“Both Suncoast Charities for Children and Powerboat P1 wish Race World Offshore all the best at their inaugural race scheduled July 20-22 in Mentor, Ohio,” she added. “Race sites need to be run like a business. My hope is that one day soon all race site promoters can come together and collectively help each other.”
Reached by phone this after at his office in Key West, Fla., which is home base for Race World Offshore, RWO president said his organization’s decision to withdraw had more to do with control and responsiblity for the event success or failure than budget.
“We were just going to be involved in the technical work and not really anything else,” he said. “After met with the Sarasota people on Friday, we took our feelings back to our people, had a conversation on Saturday and had a vote. And we voted not to go.
“I had been working with Sarasota for some time and collaboration with them seemed to be a good idea,” he continued. “But the more we talked about it the more we knew it would be our reputation on the line right off the bat and most everything would be out of our hands. Hopefully, everything in Sarasota will work out perfectly. I’m sure they will. There are no hard feelings. This is just a business move.
“We want to put on the best powerboat races around,” he continued. “There’s no point going off half-cocked because everybody is going to be watching us. We have to look at the long haul. I think maybe we did go off a little half-cocked in the past and, right or wrong, it was a lesson for us. We are going in our own direction. We are going to make it work. But we can only make it work if it’s up to us. We have to do it our on our own.”