TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014 - The Huntington Classic Regatta, which concluded this past weekend, was an event that was teetering on the edge of change. After being resurrected in 2011 after several years of no racing in Huntington, the race committee was worried that 2014 might be the last for a while. After falling boat counts the past couple of years, bad weather in 2013, and the change of race promoters, we were honestly worried about what the 2014 regatta would produce.
Happily, I can report that all expectations were exceeded. Our fan attendance was great, our added carnival and concerts were great, and our race promotor, Powerboat Nationals, was awesome. Our decision to let the SST-120 class have the race they have been wanting brought out the boats like we hoped it would. The professionalism of the league staff from top to bottom was refreshing and the bringing together of fresh faces to a sport that needs a boost helped make the weekend one to build on for 2015. The Huntington Classic is healthy again and looking forward to 2015 and another great racing weekend.
Seeing 19 boats on the water and seeing the traditional SST-120 and SST-60 classes together was fun. Having nearly a dozen SST-120 boats power off the line together was something I hadn't personally seen in a few years. There were still a few drivers missing who we hope to attract to Huntington next year in hopes of getting back to the 15-boat SST-120 fields again. The old saying of "if you build it they will come" must be true. Marietta and Huntington, along with Portsmouth and Rising Sun, have bucked the trend and closed their Formula 2 races to SST-120 boats only. The effort is apparently paying off as both Marietta and Huntington have shown more SST-120 boats together than most other venues have been able to draw by combining two and even three classes of boats. The 120 guys wanted their own thing again, and I am happy that the promoters and race committees have answered the call in these four cities. Nothing against the SST-200s and the F1Sport classes. There are enough leagues out there for all of us to compete and have a great time racing against even competition.
Huntington was in a position that changes had to be made to save the historic race site. Thankfully, those changes worked out wonderfully and a strong field of boats helped a new racing league debut it's program on a grand scale.
Watch the results for yourself August 30 at 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Fox Sports Ohio as RMG's HydroZone features the 2014 Huntington Classic Regatta! If you played any role in the success of the Huntington Classic this year I applaud you! Thank you for your efforts and we hope to see you again in 2015!