With their event just one month away, Roar Offshore organizers Tim Hill and Mike Shepherd have been busy creating local buzz for the contest—the first offshore race in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., since the mid-2000s—set for October 10-12. In addition to working with local police and first responders, they have been setting up sponsor-backed “mixer” events in the area every two to three weeks, according to Hill, at restaurants and watering holes in town.
The APBA Offshore Championship Series returns to Florida next month with its final race of the season in Fort Myers Beach. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Roar Offshore is the final event in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, which is the product of a collaboration between the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1.
“We have been getting, on average, 250 people to our weeknight events,” said Hill “Our last mixer was a pool party and barbecue that attracted almost 500 race fans and teams including Shadow Pirate and Rollin Dirty Offshore. The (Class One P1 SuperStock-class) Miss GEICO teams brought their boats to one of the mixers in downtown Fort Myers and it was a big draw.”
Offshore Powerboat Association president Ed “Smitty” Smith attended the most recent Roar Offshore momentum-building event, as did Ray LaBadie, the lead organizer for the annual OPA World Championship event in Englewood Beach, Fla.
The Rollin Dirty Offshore and Shadow Pirate team raceboats have been displayed at community mixers in advance of the Roar Offshore event.
“Smitty said he has never seen so much promotion and attention for a new race venue,” said Hill.
In a job he knows well, LaBadie will help the organizers place teams in the pit area. That could be a considerable task as Hill said he is expecting 75 boats and “the pits could get tight.”
“We want this to be the biggest race people have seen in decades,” he said. “With the size comes the need for creative planning in the pits. Ray is used to getting a lot of teams in limited space in Englewood Beach and he graciously volunteered to assist us.”