- Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 05:00
- Hits: 920
Have a need for speed?
Friday night, August 6, the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a kick-off party on town hill welcoming the National Tour Jet Ski Races to town. The kickoff party will begin at 5 p.m. and is open to all contestants, their crews, and the public. According to Patrick Mell, the coordinator for the races, “We are very much looking forward to being in Colonial Beach. The Chamber has been fantastic to work with and our crews are excited about the races.” There is also a racers’ party scheduled at High Tides Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m.
Personal watercraft racing is the newest racing category sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association. Races consist of side-by-side racing with up to 20 riders competing to be the first to navigate a course marked by buoys. Contestants can reach speeds of 75 mph. Freestyle competition highlights the acrobatic abilities of the contestants while performing 2-minute Olympic style routines before a panel of judges. According to Mell, there will be approximately 75-100 racers participating.
This is the first time Colonial Beach is hosting a National Tour race, which is part of a national competition that culminates in Nashville, Tennessee at the season-ending APBA Watercross Nationals. Other cities that have hosted the 2010 tour include Parker, Arizona, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Harbor Beach, Michigan, and Belle River, Canada. The event here will feature a $10,000 cash purse and awards to winners.
This event has been a year in the making and was made possible by a partnership between the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce as principal financial sponsor with Colonial Beach and Westmoreland County each donating $5,000 to the effort. According to Carey Geddes, President of the Colonial Beach Chamber of Commerce, this “type of event is great for the town and we’re looking forward to forming a partnership with the National Tour to hold this race every year.”
The event begins on Saturday with registration starting at 8 a.m.; a riders’ meeting beginning at 9 a.m.; practice from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; with races starting at 11:30 a.m. The actual race course will measure 1200 feet by 700 feet and will be marked off by a series of buoys. The course will be in front of and to the right of the town pier, with the starting gate and the racer’s pit area set up on the beach to the right of the pier. Sunday events will begin at 9 a.m. with a riders’ meeting; practice from 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.; with races starting at 11 a.m. The final racing heats will be from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Each heat will be filmed and aired on three different cable networks.
There will be vendors and exhibitors set up on the boardwalk all weekend. Boat traffic will not be allowed near the race site and the beach area to the right of town pier will be roped off. The trolley will be available to folks not wishing to drive. There will be a misting area set up for people to cool down if air temperatures are high. The town pier will be closed for fishing, as spectators are expected to watch the races from the pier.
Major Kenneth Blevins, Sr. has been coordinating safety and law enforcement issues. Blevins reports that as of press time, the town can expect between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors for the weekend. He expects traffic to be heavy and steady throughout the weekend with race enthusiasts coming in and out of town. The tourism building on the boardwalk will serve as a command center for the event. And the Chamber offices on Hawthorn will serve as a command center for police and fire and rescue. The Wilder lot and the adjacent Taylor Street lot will be available for parking to race participants only for cars and RVs and all other town parking regulations will be in force. Taylor Street and a part of Hawthorn Street will be closed to through traffic and will serve as a holding area for emergency vehicles.
Blevins expects that there will be approximately 30 to 50 law enforcement personnel available on bike, foot patrol and in the water. Charles County Sheriff’s Office, the Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Resources, Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office, King George County Sheriff’s Office, the ABC Board, Virginia Department of Game and Fisheries and the Virginia State Police will assist in crowd control.
Blevins noted that the races should be “a safe, fun and positive event for everybody and is good for the town.”