Heading into its 25th year, the St. Clair River Classic set for July 26-28 in St. Clair, Mich., is the fourth stop in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series. Though the event saw a record-setting 98-boat fleet in 2000 thanks mostly to an APBA Offshore, LLC race cancellation, it has averaged 30 to 40 boats in recent years according to longtime lead organizer Bob Currier.
With its racecouse in U.S, and Canda, the St. Clair River is an international event—and will be even more so this year. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
This year, Currier and company are expecting approximately 60 boats, which based on turnouts for the prior APBA series races and advance commitments from teams is a reasonable expectation. While the event typically has one crane working in the wet pits and another on site in reserve, two cranes will be operating—courtesy in large measure to local benefactor Dave Burgess—in the wet pits this year.
“Little did the founders of the (St. Clair-based nonprofit) Bluewater Offshore Racing Association imagine what this event would mature into,” said Currier.
The race is held in conjunction with the annual St. Clair Riverfest, which includes live music—the stage is a locally donated barge on the river—and more. Earlier this year, the organizers announced that the newly renovated St. Clair Inn would be the title sponsor for the event this year. This year’s race also will mark the 15th year working with the Offshore Powerboat Association, which has partnered with Powerboat P1 in producing the APBA series.
For the past 14 years, the Offshore Powerboat Association has had the St. Clair River classic on its schedule.
“We’ve worked with Smitty (OPA head Ed Smith) for the past 14 years and he always says he can just come here, not have to worry and enjoy a boat race,” said Currier. “That’s a huge boost of confidence for our team here.
“What Smitty and (Powerboat P1 head) Azam Rangoonwala have done is incredible—I couldn’t be more optimistic. Ten years ago (former AMF Racing leader) John Haggin was pushing ‘United We Race.’ There were more organizations back then, but I think these two guys have come with a great formula for that.”
Currier said that with Class One teams from Australia and Dubai in next, the new international component of the APBA dovetails with the international nature of the St. Clair River Classic.
“Our race actually happens in two countries,” he said. “Our racecourse is in United States and Canadian waters. We are truly an international race site.”
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