For more than 30 years the Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association (MHRA) has brought its annual power boat races to Grass Lake to tally up points in the race for the association’s annual driver of the year trophy. One of the many races sponsored by the association each year, the Grass Lake race, dubbed the “Wild Ones Regatta” has grown every year with new races, new drivers, expanded sanctioning, and boat racers from across the Midwest and Canada.
For its 25th year the MHRA continued a tradition, and a celebration of sorts, with the hosting of the 2009 National Stock Outboard Races, which brought more than 250 power boat racers from across the country to compete for that coveted 1US title. The first time the Nationals have been run in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the weeklong event in Grass Lake featured various activities throughout the week highlighting the taste of Grass Lake and the outdoor sportsman’s range of activities from golf, to fishing, boats, skeet shoots and so on, the community sought to spotlight Grass Lake as a continued site of excellence for the MHRA into the future as well as a perfect site for the Nationals, probably not every year, but for several years into the future. Indeed, the nationals came back in 2012 for nearly 300 boat races challenging for the 1US title.
Stock outboard racing emerged in the United States in 1924, and by 1948, stock outboard regattas were being staged under the sanctioning body of the American Power Boat Association. Because of its competitive nature, stock outboard racing grew considerably through the 1950’s and comes back to Grass Lake again this year as the site for the 2017 Nationals, providing for the biggest “Wild Ones Regatta” ever on Grass Lake. Starting with qualifying races on July 25, the event will be staged across 5 days to the championship races on Saturday, July 30, with Sunday, July 31, held out as a possible rain-out/blow out make-up day. Along with the normal stock outboard races, this Nationals event will include the Junior Nationals, for the youngest race drivers on the scene, with an emphasis on FUN, says the APBA.
The “Wild Ones Regatta”, an annual event in Grass Lake, the races here began in 1984 as Grass Lake’s ideal conditions replaced an event in Ohio and continues strong through this year. Sanctioned by both the American Power Boat Association and the Canadian Boating Federation, the races on Grass Lake continue to grow in size and popularity with racers as the sanctioning increases participation. The proximity of Grass Lake County Park to the lake provides for an easy access to the lake from a wide expanse of shoreline and shallow water for the initial setup and start of the boats. That attraction as well brought the “Wet & Wild Regatta”, which is normally held on the second weekend of July.
In the Grass Lake races the highlighted feature is the Marathon charges across the lake. One of the few left in the country, the Marathon is a grueling 20 minute run across the lake with a right turn twist to the challenge the skills of the drivers familiar with only left turn courses, the Marathon poses some interesting bumping on the right turn.
Sponsored by the Village of Grass Lake Downtown Development Authority, a wide and varied assortment of racing styles will be evident during the week, from 50 mph. to 75 mph. Stop in to see the action on any of the 6 days. It will no doubt be interesting!!!