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OPA announces another offshore racing partnership and will bid for Key West

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On October 31, PRW reported that Powerboat P1 and the Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) had entered into an offshore racing partnership.

The aim of the partnership according to the 2 organisers, ‘will be to strengthen the future of offshore racing in the US by providing an expanded series consisting of 6 races, with 3 venues each in the Northern and Southern States’.

In late March we reported that Victory Team would compete 2 boats in the Super Boat International (SBI) Superboat Unlimited class.

The Dubai based team then went on to compete in Clearwater and the Key West ‘World Championships’.

Their boats were set-up to conform to the now defunct UIM Class 1 rules and were vastly underpowered, however as Huraiz Bin Huraiz, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Victory Team explained:

We have the perfect package for racing in this series with the new rules in operation next season.
Next year, the engine power will be limited to 1100 hp per engine or 2200 hp overall for all boats and we will go into the season with a distinct advantage.

It was clear that American teams and former UIM Class 1 competitors had got together with the intention of rebooting the Class 1 series in the US and most thought that they would race under John Carbonell’s SBI series.

By Key West, 2 Victory Team boats, a couple from their neighbour Abu Dhabi, Miss Geico, Zabo Racing, Wake Effects, Lucas Oil , Team CRC and others had appeared to have been lured away from SBI by the head of OPA, Ed “Smitty” Smith for the 2019 season.

If that challenge for next year was tough for Carbonell, his 5 year contract to run races in Key West was up and he now needs to submit a ‘Request For Production’ to continue to organise the ever popular week.

He now faces competition for the bid from the OPA who announced yesterday that they have entered into another offshore racing partnership, this time with Larry Bleil’s Race World Offshore (RWO) who organised 2 races this season.

Bleil who lives in Key West, will certainly have an impressive fleet of boats to temp the U.S. island city officials when he submits his Request For Production application.

He can offer the newly Mercury powered and canopied P1 Superstock fleet, the ‘rebooted’ Class 1 as well as the existing OPA and RWO competitors.

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John Moore

John raced Offshore UIM Class 3 in the 1980’s & 1990’s.
He served as the Cowes Torquay Cowes Event Director for 4 years, including running the 50 th Anniversary Event in 2010.
He has recently organised 4 British Offshore races under UKOPRA sanction.
He is the Editor of Powerboat Racing World.

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