SATURDAY, November 08, 2014 - Do you ever feel like if you can't run the whole schedule that it takes some of the motivation away. That's the issue Herd Racing is facing for the second consecutive year in 2015. It's impossible to compete for a high finishing position in any given league if you can't compete in all, or at least most, of the league's races.
In 2014, our team was able to compete in just one race in USF1 and one in Powerboat Nationals. We were able to compete in both of the Buckeye Outboard Association races conducted in 2014, but the BOA does not award points nor crown a champion, post results, etc. For the first year in our five seasons of tunnel boat racing we were not able to attend any races conducted by Powerboat Superleague.
In 2015, our desire to compete for high points in any given racing league will again likely be impacted -- this time by non-competing leagues conducting races on the same weekend. There appears to be plenty of race sites available for all leagues and clubs to boast a multi-race schedule, but there just isn't a long enough racing season in our neck of the woods to fit them all in on their own weekend.
Here's our dilema. The APR race in Knoxville is the same weekend as the USF1 race at LaPorte. The Marietta race, whose committee is yet to announce who will conduct it's 2015 event, is the same weekend as the USF1's race in Valleyfield. You may argue that these conflicts aren't really conflicts at all because they don't offer the same racing classes. True, but many teams like ours like to compete in multiple racing classes, like F3, F2 and F1, at various times of the year. Many teams also rely on crew help from drivers of other classes of racing which impacts both teams when the teams are at separate race sites on the same weekend.
Some other examples are the last weekend in July when the Huntington race is conducted on the same date as another race in Minnesota. Regardless of which race you choose, neither get the boat count they should because of the competition of the other. Changing race dates isn't easy either as just about every weekend from late May to late August already has a race scheduled somewhere.
The bottom line is it really isn't anyone's fault, it just happens. The good news is that if you can find a boat race on just about any given weekend, and sometimes as many as two or three if you look, then the sport must be getting a litle more healthy. Good news in some respects, but when you take a deeper look at the whole picture you tend to see the same boats and same drivers that have been there for years. They are all just spread out amongst a lot more classes and racing clubs and leagues than there used to be.
Rumors have it that the F1Sport group in Texas will expand to Nashville in 2015 to race it's hybrid F1/F2 engine packages. APR will likely continue it's SST200/SST120 mixture, while USF1 will pretty much accept any V-6 engine you want to bolt on for it's races. Everyone's intentions are good and drawing enough boats to put on a show for the fans is the ultimate hope for any promoter.
I guess when the day is over each promotor does what he feels like is best to make his show most successful. Unfortunately, it just comes down to the guy like me who wants to be two places at once having to make a hard choice. I guess having to choose one race over another is a good thing if you ask boat racers in most other countries.