Even for devout offshore racing fans, keeping up with the various producers and sanctioning bodies in the sport can be tricky. And for the casual fan? It’s a total nightmare.
Consider just this for a moment: The 2022 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series was produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association with three races, P1 Offshore with three races and Race World Offshore with one race.
With nine teams registered, the Super Cat class will have its largest Key West fleet in more than 20 years. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
What made a successful, unified series possible is that all three outfits—OPA, P1 Offshore and RWO—are APBA member–organizations in good standing. That means they can produce races under the APBA sanction, and though the final OPA-produced APBA series race of the season, Roar Offshore Fort Myers in Southwest Florida, was canceled thanks to Hurricane Ian, that’s exactly what they did.
Starting next week, it’s world championship time and things get even trickier, though not impossible, to grasp. Here’s how it breaks down:
• Race World Offshore is producing next week’s American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique races in Key West, Fla., to crown world champs in the catamaran classes. The APBA is a member of the UIM, which is powerboat racing’s recognized world sanctioning body.
• The exception to this is the 2022 Class 1 World Championship series itself, which at least at this writing remains—as consistently announced by UIM Class 1 marketing-and-event-production rights-holder P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1 throughout the year—at eight races with the Key West contests as the final three races in that series. (But stay tuned for updates, this is the subject of ongoing debate and controversy, though as of right now nothing has changed.)
• To earn a world title under UIM rules, and that’s what APBA is adhering to, each class must have no less than five teams registered. Unless a class has five registered boats, UIM world titles are not awarded in that class.
• Another wrinkle? To be eligible to vie for any world title under UIM rules, each driver and throttleman must have competed in no less than three regular-season races. They still can compete in a world championship event and count as a registered team in the event. They just can’t take home a UIM title.
The 2022 APBA Super-Stock national champion Jackhammer team will vie no less than 10 other teams for world championship honors in Key West next week.
But that doesn’t mean they’re out of “world-championship” luck. Race World Offshore is free to bestow its own world titles based on the races in Key West, and that is exactly what the organization plans to do.
Likewise, the Offshore Powerboat Association’s event the following weekend in Englewood Beach, Fla., will crown UIM champions in the V-bottom classes, as long as they meet the five-boat registration standard in the respective V-bottom ranks. But also like Race World Offshore, the Offshore Powerboat Association will crown its own world champs.
And neither Race World Offshore nor the Offshore Powerboat Association has a minimum boat-count per class for their own world championships.
Get it? Got it? Good—and stay tuned for ongoing, comprehensive coverage of the Key West and Englewood Beach events on speedonthewater.com.
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