With last Friday’s Request For Production submission deadline, all that the three bidders—Offshore Powerboat Association/Powerboat P1, Race World Offshore and Super Boat International—for the five-year contract to produce November powerboat races in Key West, Fla., can do is wait for the city’s decision. That determination should be made by the end of the month, if not earlier.
About one week before the bidding opened, negotiations between the OPA/P1 and RWO groups to partner/collaborate on an RFP for the races broke down and the two entities went their separate ways. For RWO, that has meant continuing to work on its August contest in Dunkirk, N.Y., which will be second event the organization has produced in the Lake Erie-adjacent venue in the past two years. (Like RWO, SBI has currently has one regular-season event officially on its 2019 schedule.)
According to a press-release from RWO, its Dunkirk contest could see its class structure expanded. Larry Bleil, the Key West-based organization’s founder, started RWO with classes exclusively for canopied V-bottoms and catamarans. But competitors outside those classes have asked to be included, the release stated.
“We are going to provide for additional classes, including open boats and other engine configurations,” said Bleil. “Professional classes need to be at least five boats of a like configuration to make a race. We’ll consider fewer, but from our business perspective and in fairness to the other race classes, we believe five boats is the right number.
Accommodating international teams, RWO’s US Class 1 category was intentionally modeled after the now-defunct Union International Motonautique Class 1 circuit, the release stated. For its 2019 season, “RWO is also accommodating several new requests with respect to more engine variety and unique configurations from international teams.”
Despite that the Dunkirk race currently is the only event on the 2019 RWO schedule, Bleil and Rodrick Cox, the organization’s chief operating officer said they are looking forward to another successful contest at the venue.
“Dunkirk’s course layout brings the boats into the harbor for a pass by the fans and back out into Lake Erie,” said Cox “The pier at Dunkirk became synonymous with RWO events—a crowd pleaser with thrilling action. Race World Offshore is committed to provide the highest level of professionalism to all stakeholders within the scope of offshore powerboat racing.”