need for speed
to compete in Warsaw, Ky.
some of the worlds fastest boats
(August 2007) Bob Thompson knows what it takes
to be a winner. For decades, Thompson was a world-class powerboat racer
and team owner. Now Thompson, co-owner of Warsaw, Ky.s Smugglers
Cove Marina and the Just Add Water Boats in Indianapolis, has helped
put together another winning team Warsaw and the ChampBoat
Grand Prix Series.
2007 Carrollton Edition Cover
Youve got the ideal location with the fastest
boats in the world, so its a great combination said Thompson,
Gallatin Countys Thunder on the River, set for Aug.
17-19 on the Ohio River, will feature world class Grand Prix ChampBoat
Racing on the weekend and festival kickoff activities on Aug. 17.
Pre-race activities start at 3 p.m. Friday and include a Miss Teen Thunder
contest and live music by Thunder Bay. Saturdays race
action begins at 9 a.m. and includes ChampBoat practice sessions, a
water stunt show, time trials, a Mr. Thunder Contest, and
live music in the evening. Sundays activities include a boat parade,
drivers autographs, opening ceremonies and the Grand Prix. Advance
tickets cost $15 for a three-day pass, at-gate tickets will be $25 for
a three-day pass, or $10 a day. Gallatin County Tourisms Jane
Searcy said officials worked hard to keep the event affordable and inexpensive
for all families who wanted to watch the excitement.
We are thrilled to have the ChampBoat Grand Prix come to Gallatin
County, said Searcy. Many people have been working very
hard to pull the event together, and we think it will be an exciting
and wonderful opportunity for our community.
Thompson, whose Just Add Water retail boat store was named after his
first championship boat, won a powerboat national championship in 1968.
At that point we used twin engine unlimited outboards, he
said. Now, single engines can do the same work.
Aug. 17-19 at Warsaw, Ky.
Tickets: $15 advance three-day pass;
$25 three-day pass purchased at the gate;
or $10 per day.
1-888-292-4341 or (859) 567-5900; email Info@WarsawThunder.com
Throughout the next few decades Thompson won many other
championships and competed in world class powerboat races across the
globe. As the owner of the Bob Thompson All American Racers, he enjoyed
a reign for more than 13 years as a dominant force in the sport. His
teams set world speed marks and set several records, and even won the
world championships in Europe.
At the time he was involved in racing, the powerboats he used were known
as Formula One boats. By the late 1980s, however, Formula One powerboats
had left the United States racing scene and were being used primarily
in Europe. It was at that time, he said, that the ChampBoats were developed.
ChampBoats, also known as F1 Powerboats, are the fastest and most nimble
boats in the world. These tunnel boats can accelerate from 0 to 100
mph and reach top speeds near 140 mph. They pull up to four Gs
in the turns, making them the hardest-cornering racing machines in the
also known as
F1 Powerboats, can reach
speeds near 140 mph.
Many people say its like watching fighter
jets on water, said Champboat Series President Michael Schriefer.
Others describe the boats as Indy cars on water.
The ChampBoat Grand Prix Series, one of the fastest-growing motorsports
in the world, has a long and rich history throughout the United States.
Now in its fourth decade of racing, the Champboat Series is the premiere
national spectator series, with many of its race locations celebrating
decades of continuous boat racing, including St. Louis, Mo. The series
is based in Cornelius, N.C.
There is nothing more competitive, said Schriefer. Fans
really see a show when they watch ChampBoat racing.
In fact, since 1972, celebrated boat racers from around the world, including
Italy, Germany, Norway, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico
and even Brazil have come to St. Louis for the annual ChampBoat Bud
Light St. Louis Grand Prix.
Other ChampBoat races are held annually in Savannah, Ga., Windsor, Colo.,
Bay City, Mich., Augusta, Ga., San Diego and Phoenix.
The new event at Warsaw will also feature the Champ2, or F2, powerboats.
The F2 is considered the premier minor league for world class powerboat
racing and has some of the best powerboat racers in the country. The
boats are somewhat smaller and lighter with slightly less horsepower
than the F1 boats, said Schriefer.
Warsaw, a small and picturesque town on the Ohio River, was able to
secure the ChampBoat series event because of shrewd planning and excellent
sponsorship, including Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, situated across
the river in Switzerland County, Ind.
Getting Belterra to come on board with its sponsorship certainly
was an asset we looked at in awarding the race to Warsaw, said
rest, for now. ChampBoats can
pull up to 4 Gs in turns, causing some
people to liken them to fighter jets
on the water, ChampBoat Series
President Michael Schriefer said.
Other major sponsors include the City of Warsaw, Gallatin
County Tourism, Smugglers Cove Marina and Sunset Grill and Ramada
at the Kentucky Speedway.
The series decision to move a race to Warsaw was generated by
local residents. A discussion was held during a tourism meeting last
year about how to increase Gallatin Countys attractions. Ideas
were put forth, and Thompson, who was asked to attend the meeting, mentioned
powerboat racing. Officials like the idea, and he was asked to use his
contacts and influence in the powerboat racing industry to help secure
a race in Warsaw.
Wayne Rassman, a member of the tourism committee, said that back in
the late 1960s there was powerboat racing along the Ohio River in Warsaw
but interest declined. He and others thought now was a prime opportunity
to revitalize interest and bring it back.
We are all excited about this new opportunity for the community,
he said. While it has been a real push to get everything ready,
everybody is charged up and excited.
He said officials have had to bring in more docks, do some dredging
along the riverfront, clean up debris and update restroom facilities
in order to accommodate the large crowds that are expected. Even
homeowners along the riverfront are making improvements and working
to help get the city ready.
Searcy said officials hope to bring in up to 25,000 spectators for the
event. Because it is our first year and our first ever major event,
however, we just dont know what to expect, she said. We
will be ready for anything.
If the crowds are there and the event is handled appropriately, Warsaws
Thunder on the River may become an annual event to help put the city
on the race map.
We are trying to create something Warsaw can use for future economic
development, said Tim Meyer, Thompsons business partner.
We want to give Warsaw a name like Vevay, Ind., has done with
its Swiss Wine Festival or like Madison, Ind., has done with its festival
Thompson believes bringing the ChampBoat Grand Prix to Warsaw will be
a good thing for the community. It is exciting getting racing
back there, he said.
Back to August 2007 Articles.