River Roar races set for this weekend - WNEM TV 5

River Roar races set for this weekend

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Photo courtesy of Facebook. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

This weekend is the Bay City River Roar, presented by Maier And Associates and Graff Bay City, both are new title sponsors this summer.  

Racers will come from ten states and two countries for this third race of the 2013 race season.

Inaugurated in 1981, F1 Powerboat racing is a Grand Prix style event, similar to Formula One auto racing, in which teams compete at venues around the world . These races are longer than most powerboat races at approximately 45 minutes, but still shorter than most automobile races.

In 1990, River Roar became an all volunteer run, non-profit event. Since then, over $1 million has been distributed to charities in the region, led by The Boys and Girls Club and the Just For Kids Foundation. Last year's donation total was more than $62,000.

This year, the River Roar Board of Directors was able to grow sponsor support to the point that for the first time, admission to both Veterans' Memorial and Veterans' Memorial Parks is free.

Organizers of the race will continue to ask race fans to donate a non-perishable food item for Hidden Harvest. Fans have donated more than 10,000 pounds of food in recent years and will continue the effort even with free admission.

The Carnival is much larger this year, and opens on Thursday in Vets' Park. The rides will start at 4 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday, noon on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. There is a charge for each ride, but admission to the carnival area is free.

Also new this year in Wenona Park is Brews At The Banks. The new Brew Pub Tent will feature specialty beers from a variety of breweries. The "beer village" format will be open from noon to 5 p,m. on Saturday and Sunday.

New in the band shell this year is Rockin'Roar, live music between the racing on the river. Saturday will feature The Josh Ramses Band and The Toyz. Sunday's entertainment will be The Last and The Bourdons. Again, admission to the park is free.

Our Friday night concert this year features April Wine, Blue Oyster Cult and Night Ranger. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music begins at 7 p.m.. No coolers and pets please.

River Roar has had 12 different Formula 1 winners over the years. This year will be one of the largest and most competitive races with 44 boats pre-registered across three classes -- Formula 1, Formula  2 and Formula Light. Four time winner Terry Rinker is this year's series points leader after two races heading into Bay City.

The race is run between the bridges on the Saginaw River. It's 1-1/4 mile long, an oval shape course run around 4 bouys. Its only 700 feet wide. That's wide enough for racing and narrow enough that spectators are so close they can feel the spray when the boats wiz by at more than 100 miles per hour. Bay City is considered the best viewing of all the race locations.

Of the three classes, Formula 1 is the biggest and fastest. They are 16-feet long with a 350 horsepower, 6-cylinder outboard that can be modified. At 10,000 RPM they can reach 125 on a long straight-a-way.  In Bay City they will peak between 105-110 mph. Formula 2 boats use the same hulls, but the outboard is stock and runs about 200 horsepower at 95-105 mph. Formula Light boats are smaller, 13-feet long with a 2-cylinder, 5-horsepower outboard. They run 80-85 mph. They can be the most fun to watch.

Campaigning a Formula 1 boat can run $250,000 with race fuel more than $7 per gallon.

Full details on scheduling and sponsorships is available at riverroar.com and on our Facebook page. Updated information will be added over race weekend.

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