Offshore race teams are preparing for some sizzling competition this weekend when the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix comes to Florida’s Gulf Coast. It’s the third of the APBA Offshore National Series presented by P1 Offshore and OPA (following Cocoa Beach and LOTO’s Lake Race) and the fourth official OPA meet of the season.
Motorsports legend Travis Pastrana will once again be driving the famous Miss GEICO competitor, sharing the cockpit of the 47′ Victory catamaran with world champion throttleman Sir Steve Curtis. Pastrana, well known for his achievements in X Games, supercross, motocross, rally racing, NASCAR and other record-breaking stunts, joined the team at a limited number of races in 2020 and was instrumental in clinching a world championship title during the Crystal Coast World Championship Races held in Morehead City, NC.
The event will get things started with the Waves & Wheels Suncoast Summer Fest Kickoff Party on Thursday, June 24. This new event will be held inside Robarts Arena, and will feature exotic cars, motorcycles and plenty of powerboats on display from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online at Suncoastsummerfest.org.
On Friday, June 25, the U.S. Navy Special Operations Craft Riverine will be on public display at the Boats on the Block display downtown from 6 to 10 p.m. Each craft is crewed by four Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and can carry eight personnel. Members of Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22), based in Stennis, MS, who make up a tiny fraction of the total SWCCs, are the only ones who operate the SOC-R.
These river crews conduct mainly clandestine combat missions, often operating at night with little or no air support. The SOC-R is designed so that the boat including its tractor and trailer fits aboard C-130 or larger aircraft. Special Boat Teams (SBT) perform an insertion/extraction delivery system called MEATS. MEATS allows an Army MH-47 helicopter to carry a SOC-R rigged to the underbelly of the helicopter with slings. The Combatant-Craft Crewmen use a rope to get from the helicopter onto the craft for insertions, and a ladder dropped down from the helicopter to get off the SOC-R craft when extracted.
Also on Friday, the Powerboat P1 Marine Foundation will be supporting local environmental protections as a select group of racers join the local staff of Audubon Florida on North Lido Beach to learn about the birds currently nesting and updates on the area as it relates to environmental conservation. In addition, there will be a special Race Team Meet & Greet event for children, teens, and adults with special needs at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Powerboat P1 remains committed to making a significant impact on Suncoast Charities for Children, as two multi-sensory rooms (The Haven and Loveland Center) were recently constructed, thanks to a generous donation from CEO Azam Rangoonwala and the Rangoonwala Family Foundation. Rangoonwala recently held a very special day in honor of his birthday for students at Children First and has done this in the past at other local non-profits supported by Suncoast Charities for Children.
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Click here for a Race Schedule.
Click here for a link to Watch A Live Stream Of the Races.