Signaling a return to a semblance of normalcy in offshore powerboat racing, organizers of Thunder On Cocoa Beach received the go-ahead this week for their May 20-23 races in the famed Florida beach city. The Cocoa Beach event is the season-opener for the second-year, six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series backed the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1, both of which are APBA member-organizations.
The season-opener for the 2021 APBA Offshore National Championship Series, Thunder On Cocoa beach received approval this week. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“Our organizing team and our entire community are thrilled to have our final approval for our eleventh annual Thunder on Cocoa Beach,” said Kerry Bartlett, the race director for Thunder On Cocoa Beach. “Our team has worked extremely hard in conjunction with our local authorities and Health officials to insure the safety of our community, race teams and fans.
“Alongside P1 and OPA we look forward to bringing you a great offshore race event to Brevard County,” he added. “He can’t wait to see everyone in May.”
OPA president Ed Smith, who refused to give up on the 2020 season and managed to produce three races last year, said his organization is ready to go.
“I’m really excited to kick off the season on a positive note,” he said.
Azam Rangoonwala, Smith’s P1 counterpart, had a similar reaction.
“It has been a very long wait and the P1 team is counting down the days to the return of APBA offshore racing,” said Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of the United Kingdom-based outfit. “There couldn’t be a better way to kick off the new season than with Thunder on Cocoa Beach. We will be living streaming the event via our P1 Offshore Facebook page. P1’s 2021 television plans will deliver coverage on both CBS Sports Network and the Fox Sports Regional Sports Networks nationally in the USA, and the highlights show will also be broadcast internationally.”
News of the approval quickly rippled through the offshore racing community—and after the mostly cancelled 2020 season was more than well-received.
“M CON 06 is elated to hear the news of Cocoa Beach’s approval to get the 2021 season started,” said Tyler Miller, the owner of the Supercat-class, Kansas-based team. “We are so genuinely happy that all of the race teams will have a chance to get back on the water in May as well as the ability for race fans and businesses to get back to racing and the economy along with our livelihood back to normal.
In the 2019 Cocoa Beach event, M CON battled Pro Floors Racing in one of the best races of the Supercat-class season.
“Can’t wait—got butterflies in my stomach already thinking about the first milling circle of the year,” he added.