Havasu Grand Prix to stand alone
LAKE HAVASU CITY — No more shared billing for the local POPRA race.
Brad Johnson, president of the Pacific Offshore Powerboat Racing Association, said the 5th annual Havasu Grand Prix race would move from a shared weekend with the Desert Storm poker run to April 7-11, 2011.
“Normally when we do a race, we do multiple days at the event. The standard is to do two days,” Johnson said. “When the main event is on a Sunday (like during Desert Storm weekend), the majority of people that would be watching the race are instead packing up their stuff in the car to head back to L.A. or Phoenix.”
By moving the date back, he said, POPRA will be able to stage qualifying runs on Friday and the Havasu Grand Prix on Saturday. And with Sunday open, there’s still the opportunity for a bit more racing.
“In trying to raise boat count, we thought maybe a Kilo-style run could attract the manufacturers. They’ll be in town for boat show anyway, so it’ll be a good exhibition for their product,” Johnson said.
A Kilo race is an opportunity for a racer to set a kilometer speed record on a straight run, similar to a drag race, but only one boat at a time. For the Havasu Grand Prix, the Kilo run is tabbed the “Manufacturers’ Wild West Challenge.”
“It’s inexpensive for participants and exciting for the crowd,” Johnson said. “And the local boys with the Skater (boats) can get involved.”
The same weekend, the Lake Havasu City Marine Association will conduct the 20th annual Performance Boat Show at Windsor Beach at Lake Havasu State Park. Marine Association Executive Director Jim Salscheider said his organization was involved with the change.
“Bob Teague (owner of Teague Custom Marine) had some input,” Salscheider said. “POPRA moves out of Desert Storm’s shadow and they can establish their identity. And it’s great for our boat show because we’ll be able to co-market. We’ll have a joint booth at L.A. boat show, three weeks before our show.”
Johnson praised the work of Jim Nichols and his LakeRacer, LLC production company for building Desert Storm to the point a split was possible.
“Kudos to Jim. His event has gotten so huge there wasn’t space for us all to be there together on the same weekend,” Johnson said.
Salscheider said with the two events on two different weekends — Desert Storm will take place on April 27-30, 2011 — more marketing opportunities are open.
“We’ve got two weekends in between those events. If can find a couple of more events, we can make April powerboat month on Lake Havasu,” Salscheider said.
The American Powerboat Association (APBA) will sanction the Offshore Powerboat Race. Offshore race boats will compete from all over the U.S., ranging from 22 feet to over 50 feet; POPRA boats speed upwards of 150 MPH in some of the Pro classes.
In addition to the racing, the weekend will feature a Texas Hold'em fundraiser for the “Carry a Designated Operator” initiative to promote sober boating. The poker fundraiser will be held Saturday at the London Bridge Resort Convention Center, host resort for the entire event.
RPM Racing Enterprises will be personal watercraft exhibitions in front of Windsor Beach in between races.
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