September 17, 2017 12:48 pm
Updated: September 17, 2017 5:42 pm

Power Boat Racing returns to Peterborough after 25 years

WATCH ABOVE: Power boat racing is back in Peterborough thanks to this weekend's event at Del Crary Park organized by the Ontario Power Boat Racing Association.

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Power Boat Racing is back in Peterborough thanks to the Ontario Power Boat Racing Association (OPBRA), which organized an event taking place this weekend at Del Crary Park.

“This was the hub of racing back in the late ’80s right back into the ’50s,” said OPBRA organizer Brent Valois. “We’ve been able to put together well over 45 boats to come and bring the crowd out here today to show them what drag racing and oval track racing is in this day and age.”

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Though many boating enthusiasts are excited to have the event in Peterborough, hosting it did come with its challenges, organizers say, noting that’s likely why it’s taken so long to bring such boat racing back to the area.

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“There’s environmental people, there’s noise regulation, all these kind of things,” said Valois. “The economic downturn of the ’90s [also] really hurt, because a lot of people got rid of or sold their boats.”

Organizers say all these reasons has made it difficult to try and find municipalities willing to stage the event. But they hope this will be the beginning of a long-term partnership with the City of Peterborough.

John Brook used to watch power boat racing when he was about nine years old. Now 59, he says he’s glad to be able to now show his grandson what the sport is like.

“I remember coming as a kid and watching the races, and it was so much fun — the excitement, everybody enjoying the day, and the family time together,” Brook recalled. “It’s good to see it all back again.”

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The weekend’s power boat event includes a boat show displaying more than 15 boats, both new and old.

“We lost Kawartha snowmobile racing, we lost the boat racing, we lost a lot of things in Peterborough,” said Murray Parnell, who runs the display. “It’s about time we start getting something back.”

Organizers aim to host two similar boating events next year in Peterborough and are looking to also expand boat racing to Quebec, where demand is growing.

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