The countdown is underway to the twelfth annual Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City this weekend (August 7-8) with a double bill of offshore powerboat racing and personal watercraft action.
The Grand Prix has become the city’s largest event and it returns to the delight of racers and fans alike. Jack Arnett, Executive Director of La Porte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “After the enforced break last year, we are coming back bigger and better and have a full program of much-needed entertainment in store for everyone over the four days. There is a huge wave of anticipation and excitement going around our community. It is without doubt our marquee event and visitors to Washington Park will be able to enjoy food and drink from local vendors, a downtown boat parade and family fun.”
Celebrating its tenth season of personal watercraft racing, P1 AquaX made its first ever visit to Stone Lake in La Porte last weekend as part of the city’s inaugural LakeFest summer festival and the action now moves to southern shore of Lake Michigan. “The Great Lakes is one of the biggest markets for personal watercraft and outstanding locations and host venues contribute enormously to our event offering, with the focus on raising the profile of the venue, attracting visitors, encouraging local involvement and boosting the local economy,” explains P1 USA Championship Manager Michelle Petro. “Standing on the shore of Lake Michigan, the only Great Lake that sits entirely within the United States, it is hard to believe that you are looking at a lake and not an ocean,” adds Petro.
The decision to expand the Grand Prix in 2019 produced all-time records for both attendance and earnings, and Petro is expecting close on forty AquaX riders to be on the water this weekend together with the fleet of offshore powerboats. The warm reception from locals makes it a popular venue with the powerboat racers, as driver Myrick Coil enthused: “I always look forward to racing here – the people are great and what the local organisers have done to build activity around the racing is fantastic.” Coil, who sits top of the Super Stock standings with teammate Rusty Williams, added: “With our race class being such a close contest, we really want to have a good finish this weekend.
Lake Michigan can quickly produce big water conditions, posing a challenge to powerboat teams attempting to make crucial set-up decisions. On the unpredictable nature of the lake, Mod-V class points leader Boatfloater.com driver Stephen Kildahl explained: “The variability of the winds and water can make it difficult for us to manage our set-up and choose the right one. As we are leading the championship, consistency is the key factor for us – we need to keep doing what we’re doing.” With unpredictable conditions that can change so quickly, championship battles getting fiercer and some teams dealing with mid-season APBA rule changes due to the ban on tunnel-tabs, there is sure to be some exciting and dramatic action for spectators this weekend.