Although Race World Offshore is an official club-member of the American Power Boat Association, the Key West, Fla.-based organization will run all three of its events—Dunkirk, N.Y., Clearwater, Fla., and Key West, Fla.—in 2019 without an APBA sanction. Larry Bleil, the founder of Race World Offshore, and RWO chief operating office Rodrick Cox, announced the move in a press release this morning.
Race World Offshore will run all three of its events—including its three-race contest in Key West, Fla—without an external sanctioning body. Photo from the 2018 RWO Mentor, Ohio, Grand Prix courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The decision was driven by the Offshore Powerboat Association’s refusal to allow RWO to produce an APBA-sanctioned race in Dunkirk, which is within the APBA’s Northeast region. Also an APBA club, the Offshore Powerboat Association has the exclusives right to produce APBA events in the area.
Both RWO and OPA/Powerboat P1 were competitive bidders for the five-year contract to produce races in Key West. RWO officially was awarded the contract—and announced that Clearwater, Fla., had signed on as a 2019 seaon venue—earlier this week.
Bleil confirmed OPA’s exclusivity contract for that region with APBA president Howie Nichols before making his decision to go without APBA sanctions for his organization’s Clearwater race (Sept. 27-29) and its three-race Key West event (Nov. 3-10). According to the release, Bleil and RWO “had no other choice but to continue to be independent” for all of its 2019 races.
“I can understand why (Super Boat International head) John Carbonell did what he did for so long.” Bleil said in the release. “I have never been involved with a business in my life like this. Everyone has their own agendas. Time will tell, I am moving forward with my plan and I know I am doing it the right way. I am not closing the door on listening to other organizations, but I will be more cautious. But when I get shut out of APBA and we have the best race sites in the world, it is a shame of short-sightedness.
“This was taken to heart and I know this is what I will do,” he continued. “With my team, I will put on professional races, with great safety practices, great promotions, race purses and the best racing experience.”