Fort Myers Beach – Get Ready to ROAR!
The Roar Offshore returns powerboat races just off the Gulf Coast of Fort Myers Beach, with events from Thursday, October 10, through Race Day on Saturday, October 12. This is more than your standard powerboat race, however, as the Roar Offshore concludes the seasons of the American Power Boat Association (APBA) and Offshore Powerboat Association (OPA) as their National Championships! Sunstream Hotels & Resorts are the primary sponsor, with the DiamondHead Hotel & Spa as the host hotel.
2019 is the inaugural APBA Offshore Championship six-race series that climaxes during the Roar Offshore that also serves as the OPA National Championship. Two leading race sanctioning organizations, OPA and Powerboat P1, partnered this season to deliver outstanding sports action and entertainment at six race venues throughout the United States, including Fort Myers Beach. The aim of this partnership is to strengthen the future of powerboat racing in the US by uniting the race teams in a way unparalleled for a long time, to deliver an expanded, cohesive world-class race series split evenly between northern and southern states.
The five-mile offshore course runs from roughly 600 Estero Blvd, north of Lynn Hall Park, to 3000 Estero Blvd, near Fire Station 31, with the Start/Finish line at DiamondHead Resort at 2000 Estero Boulevard. It will feature 8 turns, with one rare left-hand turn, although that will be on the backside of the course.
Race Event Schedule
Powerboat teams arrive as early as Monday, October 7. Thursday, October 10, is a ribbon-cutting at Salty Sam’s Marina at 2500 Main Street on San Carlos Island to debut the Race Village & Dry Pits that remain open to the public along with Vendor Exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Race Boat Parade staging is on Main Street from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., with the Race Boat Parade over the Matanzas Pass Bridge from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m., followed by the Roar Offshore Street Party along Old San Carlos Blvd and in Times Square through 10 p.m. Matanzas Bridge will be closed from 5:45 – 6:15pm.
Friday, October 11, the Salty Sam’s Race Village, Dry Pits & Vendors are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Cranes will launch race boats into the water, with time trials, testing and tuning from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. DiamondHead hosts a VIP Race Team Meet-&-Greet from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., with the Roar Offshore Festival of Speed at Salty Sam’s from 4 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, October 12, is race day! Salty Sam’s Race Village will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Opening Ceremonies at DiamondHead at 10:30 a.m. Races are from 11 a.m. to roughly 3:30 p.m., with DiamondHead hosting the Awards Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. and Closing Ceremonies at 8 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, Race Day moves to Sunday, October 13.
There are four races on October 12, with various classifications. The first begins at 10 a.m., for Classes 1 through 7 that will be between 4 to 7 laps. These powerboats can have single or twin engines and range from 60 to 115 miles-per-hour. The 11:30 a.m. race features Superstock at 9 laps and Super Vee Extreme and Prostock Vee at 7 laps each. Superstocks are catamarans with twin-stock outboard 300 Mercury racing engines that run between 100 to 115 miles-per-hour, while Super Vee and Prostock Vee are V-bottom boats at roughly 100 miles-per-hour.
Supercats compete in a 10-lap event at 12:30 p.m. These canopied catamarans with twin-powered 750 engines reach speeds near 140 miles-per-hour. Finally, the Class One and Vee Extremes take to the Gulf at 2 p.m. Vee Extremes are V-bottom boats that go up to 120 mph in their 9-lap race, while Class One canopied catamarans with twin inboard 1100 Mercury racing engines attain speeds up to 160 mph!
Beach Or Boat
Scott Colton, one of the five owners of the legendary “Miss Geico” powerboat team, provided his advice on the best location to watch the races. “If you set up on the beach, in the middle of the course, you will see powerboats going all out, but not much passing. If you want the fastest speeds possible, because of the way we design racing boats, that is into the wind and not with it, as most might think. Passing generally takes place in the turns, when the boats decelerate and pick their own lanes, so if one boat goes inside, the other goes outside, as we like clean water, to stay away from each other’s roostertails, then they speed right back up. While we obviously don’t like to dwell on this, if you want to see a crash, turns are the place to be. As for if you get a better vantage point on the beach or a boat, I am a lifelong boater, but Fort Myers Beach is an island, and an island is a great place to watch a powerboat race!”
Roar Offshore organizers announced that remote parking and shuttles would be available at Century Link Stadium (14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, Fort Myers), LaMotta’s Restaurant (15660 San Carlos Blvd, Fort Myers) and Peace Lutheran Church (15840 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers). The parking plan with locations, times, shuttle details and drop off points was not finalized at press time. See roaroffshore.com for parking details. Expect parking lots on the beach to be full.
The Beach Park-&-Ride at Summerlin Square Drive and Pine Ridge Road allows you to park and take trolleys to the beach, with trolleys traveling the length of the island from Bowditch Point Park to Lovers Key State Park at 75 cents-per-ride or $2 for the day, with free tram service from Bowditch Point Park to the Fort Myers Beach Library.
Race organizers will livestream Roar Offshore on Facebook, with a post-race broadcast on CBS Sports on Sunday, October 20, at Noon. For final race results, see oparacing.org or p1offshore.com. Purchase Race Day VIP Packages and Championship VIP Weekend Packages as well as additional information can be found at roaroffshore.com.