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    OPA/P1 Cocoa Beach Race 2019
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    Powerboat races thunder into Cocoa Beach for 10th year; longer course, more races on tap

    Speeding powerboats return to the Space Coast this weekend with a bigger field, more races, major TV coverage and a longer offshore course as Thunder on Cocoa Beach hits its 10th anniversary in Brevard County.

    Even Friday's street party with the boats on display in downtown Cocoa Beach has expanded. South A1A will be closed from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., from 1st Street North to City Hall. Sheriff Wayne Ivey will lead the parade.

    "There were a few times I didn't know if we'd make 10 years," said Thunder executive director Kerry Bartlett, a yacht broker at Beach Line Marine in Port Canaveral who was on hand for the inaugural event. "Now it's one of the biggest and best in the country."

    Because of the straightaways (this year, the course has been extended 1.2 miles) from the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier to Coconuts on the Beach off Minutemen Causeway, it also may be the fastest.

    According to Bartlett, speeds can hit 180 mph or more, depending on wave and wind conditions during the seven-mile overall course.

    "There's something about the power that's going on in those boats," said Cocoa Beach's Sean Slater, the elder brother of surfing star Kelly Slater, who was among the sponsors two years ago for world-renowned super boat "Miss Geico," based in Riviera Beach.

    "I rode in the 'Caveman' boat out of the port and Kelly came on board, too, and we were maybe hitting 100, but when 'Miss Geico' passed us, it was like we were standing still."

    According to Bartlett, it would cost about $1 million to operate powerboats like these, with spare engines and a fleet of a pit crew, ranging from four to 20 people.

    "It's a very wealthy man's sport," said Slater, a veteran surfing star who now is a charter boat captain on Time and Tide Tours out of Port Canaveral.

    Two years ago, when sunny skies prevailed, it was estimated that the race brought in nearly $2 million to the Space Coast with an attendance of 100,000 or more.

    "This year, they are stepping up their game in hopes to grow the event even more with national televised coverage on CBS Sports Network," said Peter Cranis, Executive Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism. "This spells good news for the economy and great exposure for the Space Coast."

    Among the major stars who will be appearing is Travis Pastrana, one of the world’s most influential extreme sports athletes, who is planning to drive a 40-foot Fountain race boat.

    As many as 50 boats have arrived, some as far as Abu Dhabi and Turkey, and even Australia,shipped in containers to Port Canaveral or the Port of Miami. The European contingent has gotten interested this year since the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) and Powerboat P1 have teamed up for a six-race championship series under American Power Boat Association rules, which is what the Europeans are accustomed to.

    There are five races scheduled Sunday, Bartlett said.

    A family-friendly event takes place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Port Canaveral's Exploration Tower, where all the boats will be displayed. Remote-controlled racing, in which fans can race the "real" racers with 40-inch boats, takes place in the tower pond.

    The official charity partner for Thunder on Cocoa Beach is “Freedom Fighter,” which will receive a portion of all VIP ticket and merchandise sales. This partnership is led by Jenny Pruett, owner of Juice 'N Java Cafe, and wife of racer and director Kevin Pruett.

    The best spectator viewing areas Sunday include Minuteman Causeway, Lori Wilson Park and Cocoa Beach Pier. Some locations will be charging to park. Bartlett advised spectators to arrive early since the official start of racing may begin just after 10 a.m.

    More information:
    https://thunderoncocoabeach.com

    Schedule of events

    WEDNESDAY
    6-9 p.m.: VIP Lanyard Distribution Party at 87 Main Street Spirits, Cocoa Beach

    THURSDAY
    6-10 p.m.: High Octane Kick-Off Party at Juice 'N Java, Cocoa Beach

    FRIDAY
    9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Registration & inspection: Race Village on Flounder Dr., Port Canaveral
    5 p.m.-10 p.m.: Thunder on Cocoa Beach Block Party, meet the racers, Downtown Cocoa Beach
    6 p.m.-10 p.m.: VIP PARTY/Meet the Racers: Coconuts on the Beach, Cocoa Beach

    SATURDAY
    11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Vendor Village/Dry Pits Open; Race teams and boats at Port Canaveral in front of Exploration Tower
    10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Wet Hot Pits in the Water w/ VIP Viewing
    1 p.m.-4 p.m.: Race the Racers RC boat racing at the Tower pond.
    4 p.m.-6 p.m.: Freedom Fighter Program & Live Music
    4:30 p.m.: Autograph session with the racers
    6 p.m.-10 p.m.: VIP Party/ Meet the Racers at Rising Tide, Port Canaveral

    SUNDAY
    9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Launching at Blue Points Marina, Port Canaveral
    9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Power Boats in Dry Pits: Race Village on Flounder Dr.
    10 a.m.-4 p.m.: VIP Hospitality Tent at Lori Wilson Park, Cocoa Beach
    11 a.m. - Official start of Races
    5 p.m.-10 p.m.: Official After Burner Party at Mambos w/ Islanders Band at International Palms Resort, Cocoa Beach
    7 p.m.: Awards presentation at the Dry Pits by Cape Canaveral Tower
    Getting bad advice is unfortunate, taking bad advice is a Serious matter!!
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    One of our roving reporters is making the rounds at Cocoa Beach. Here Brian chatting with Travis Pastrana to see what's happening with Brit Lilly of Lilly Sport Boats. Brit will be running two boats. His Pro Stock Vee with Kevin of TugIt fame. And his new Vee Extreme with Travis Pastrana.

    Last edited by Ratickle; 05-19-2019 at 09:33 AM.
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    Getting bad advice is unfortunate, taking bad advice is a Serious matter!!
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    #7
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    Live now.

    20 boats in the first race, 6 different classes in the first race.

    https://www.facebook.com/PowerboatP1...3561878428511/
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    grant made a good recovery oh yeah!!!!!!!
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    #9
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    What a race. Holy crap, what a race.
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    nice to see geico win in an equal field.
    for the first several years they ran unopposed.
    then several more way overpowering the field.
    now with a seasoned professional crew in the boat
    with equal power they can move the franchise forward.
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    #11
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    I wonder what would have happened if the Aussies hadn't gotten hosed down and hurt the boat?
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    I missed that part of the race ..

    I really do appreciate the live streaming .
    its the only media we have right now,

    However the announsers SHOULD know what lap they are on at any given time .
    The constant blaming of "WE ONLY SEE WHAT THE MONITER SHOWS US " is not acceptable.

    For years we have had announcers who constantly incorrectly identify wrong boat numbers and incorrect names ,
    "such as GEICO team racers as "JAMES and SHEPARD!!! "really.
    And talking old times over actual events on the course at the time.

    Still better than nothing.next race ill turn down the volume so I don't get confused LOL

    Other than announcers it was well done
    Last edited by john acosta; 05-21-2019 at 09:26 AM.
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    I think they did the best so far though. At least they were watching the monitor so their commentary mostly pertained to what we were all watching.

    However, they could have used spotters. I was going nuts when they were talking about Simmons being a lap down, when he was leading not only his class, but was the overall race leader.

    With Jason back in the boat with Jim, they have to be the favorite for the Class 4 National Championship.
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    jims awesome man .I always liked him.

    I didn't see the octane svl?
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    #15
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    They started okay, first time Jason has been in the boat with Jim. Then they had an issue, severe Guardian Mode, but got it going again.

    They are running the 525 Pro Stock class.
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    thanx
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    #17
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    Call up Martin and Mike and tell them. They will learn from constructive criticism.
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    I have
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    #19
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    Did they say thanks?
    Getting bad advice is unfortunate, taking bad advice is a Serious matter!!
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