Let’s address the rhino in the room right now. There is no guarantee—as in zero—one offshore powerboat race will happen this year. All sports are struggling, first and foremost, with crowd management in the excruciating era of social distancing as laid out in current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Show me a sport on television right now, with the curious and oddly entertaining exception of the Korean Baseball League on ESPN, and I’ll show you a rerun.
An APBA High-Points Championship is worth pursuing. Just ask the Pro Floors Racing team. Photo from the 2019 Race World Offshore Championships by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
That said, I remain optimistic that the Offshore Powerboat Association will pull off a few races of its own—Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., Moorehead City, N.C., and Englewood Beach, Fla., as well as a couple—Cocoa Beach and Fort Myers Beach, Fla—in combination with Powerboat P1. (I’m hopeful that the OPA/Powerboat P1 Lake Race in Central Missouri will happen, but until the organizers announce dates I’ll reserve optimism.)
I also believe Race World Offshore will produce its scheduled races in Clearwater and Key West, Fla.. As for its still-scheduled contest in Dunkirk, N.Y., I suspect it is dead in the cold Lake Erie water.
As hardcore offshore racing fans, you probably know that OPA, Powerboat P1 and RWO race under the American Power Boat Association umbrella and sanction. But did you know that APBA has its own annual High-Points Championship for every class in its rulebook? And that in every APBA-sanctioned contest, teams can earn points in the High-Points Championship in their respective classes?
Case in point—and something you might not know: The Pro Floors Racing team’s Wayne Valder and Grant Bruggemann took Supercat-class title in the inaugural six-race APBA Offshore Championship Series last year. The team also earned the 2019 APBA High-Point Championship in the Supercat ranks.
So why wouldn’t offshore racers approach this already truncated season with that in mind?
No matter what you think about allegiances or loyalties to one organization or another—and there always will be plenty of that—this is the most challenging year in the sport I’ve seen since I started covering it in the mid-1990s. And never before have I heard so many offshore racers tell me, with ever-increasing frequency, “Man, I just want to race.”
So if the chance arises, and I pray it will, go racing. Wherever, whenever and with whomever—without reservation or apology to anyone. The fans need you, and I’m one of them.
A legitimate APBA championship can still be yours.