There will be more boats on the water racing at HydroFest 2019 than there was in the inaugural event last year.
Powerboat Nationals will be bringing their Formula 2 and Formula 4 series to HydroFest this year, in addition to the H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix series that raced last year. Katy Norton of the Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau said it will mean less dead time in between races.
“The Formula boats do not have to be lowered into the water by crane,” Norton said. “So while H1 is craning its boats in and out between heats, we will have Formula racing going on. We’re just trying to make it a more entertaining, fun weekend.”
She said there will be 3 different courses inside the oval with 4 different series of boats racing during the weekend.
The H1 course is a 2-1/2 mile oval. The Grand Prixs race on a 1-3/4 mile oval.
“We’re still working on the course for the Formula guys,” Norton said. “It will be either 1-mile or 1-1/4 mile.”
The Formula boats are expected to set up their pits at the Johnny Stewart Boat Ramp next to Tom Jackson Park. Race guests who buy a pit pass will get to tour the Formula pits as well as the H1 Unlimited pits, which set up at the Jaycees Boat Ramp across Browns Creek last year.
“We’re excited about it,” Norton said.
One complaint last year from race visitors concerned the downtime between H1 and Grand Prix heats. Norton said they listened and they hope this will help with more action on the water. People can learn more about the Powerboat Nationals by visiting their website at powerboatnationals.com.
The announcement that the Formula boats are coming is just one in a series of announcements planned concerning HydroFest. They will soon be announcing the musical acts for a pair of concerts to be held within the race venue the Friday and Saturday evenings of HydroFest. Another announcement will be coming about the food vendors selected to provide concessions at the races.
Still a third announcement will list the details of new “club level” tent seating that will be available in 2019.
“We realized we needed to provide this for our guests when 3,700 of the 9,600 tickets we sold were to people from out-of-state,” Norton said. “This is something they do at some of the other race venues.”
The club level seating will provide a seat in a tent as well as food.
Tickets for HydroFest and tent sites will go on sale March 1. The tent sites sold out the quickest last year.
“We’re still working on some details for a lot of new things for 2019,” Norton said. “We listened to the comments from people who attended the event and we are trying to make it better. The new additions just make for a more exciting event.”