Exhibition Races

The possibility of several exhibition races could happen in 2009. Speaking to Tim Torrance on the WORX "Hydro Show" Tuesday night, ABRA Chairman Sam Cole said representatives from Kelowna, British Columbia will be in San Diego this weekend for the running of Bayfair. They'll also have a check for deposit on an exhibition race in 2009. "We want to go about this the right way and make sure everything is put together before we go up for a race," said Sam Cole. The plan is to run next year after Seattle Seafair, possibly Labor Day weekend. If the exhibition goes well, Kelowna could be added to the ABRA schedule in 2010. The unlimiteds are no stranger to Kelowna, having raced there in 1966 and 1967 and returning for 4 year run 1996-99.

Chattanooga, Tennessee was another potential exhibition race this season until the event was cancelled this week. According to the Offshore Performance Association website, lack of financial backing caused the U.S. Powerboat Championship Races to be cancelled. The ABRA hopes to conduct an exhibition there next year.

Cole also talked about taking the sport to new fans in 2009 with exhibitions in Spain, Europe and Asia. Racing 4-5 events with 5 to 6 boats in hopes of attracting new fans, Cole said, "We want to balance out and have a strong circuit here and at the same time take the sport abroad and get new interest in it." Jose Luis del Palacio, a former head of Formula 2 racing and Ned Dawson, publisher of H2O Full Throttle magazine will also be in San Diego this weekend. Both are potential partners with the ABRA in this new venture. Putting together his own race circuit in the Middle East and Europe , del Palacio wants the unlimiteds to join the racing as well. Cole and del Palacio have been discussing the partnership for over a year now.

Saying the last few off seasons have been spent on technical things such as skid fins, props and on plane rules, Cole hopes the ABRA board will let Chief Referee Mike Noonan and his team deal with these items and the board concentrate on the future of the sport. "Our board really needs to focus on getting our racing schedule put together, and what we're doing now, corporate sponsorships. That's going to be the future of the sport."