The Grand Prix returns to Lake Hopatcong this weekend, and for the first time it will serve as the Offshore Powerboat National Championship.

The race will be held Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Forest Yacht Club, 35 Yacht Club Drive in Lake Hopatcong. But race weekend festivities will begin Friday with a ceremonial parade lap and fun run.
Testing day will be on Saturday, and the pits will be open for the public to tour and meet the race crews.

Race day will run from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. An entry fee into “Race Village” will be $5 for adults on Sunday only. Kids and yacht club members with badges are free.

Jefferson resident Jay Muller is running the Grand Prix, and will also race along with his 14, 16, and 17-year-old sons. He will run the throttle while his 17-year-old drives his “Wicked” boat. He will race against his other two sons, who will operate their own “Chug It” boat.

Muller, 46, will also ride the Batman boat, a crowd favorite from last year, and is scheduled to race the Miss Geico.

This is the fourth year Muller has brought the Grand Prix to Lake Hopatcong.

“I wanted to bring a race to my hometown and people really enjoyed it,” Muller said. “It has gotten bigger and better.”

*The last three years the Grand Prix has been a regular race in the national series, but this is the first year it will be the championship.

“We’ve raced all over, starting in the Lake of the Ozarks and coming up to Point Pleasant,” Muller said. “This is the final race in the series so we’ll have a champion at the end. And since the Ocean City, Maryland race was cancelled last weekend, this one will count double.”

The course is a 2.3-mile path through Lake Hopatcong. About 50 boats are expected to participate in more than 10 race classes.

*“It’s fun to see a small town like Lake Hopatcong get this notoriety,” Muller said. “People are coming from as far as England to race. It’s very exciting.”

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