Race World Offshore (RWO), the sanctioning body selected to mount the offshore races in Key West this year, is only a few shorts weeks away from its second competition of the season: the 11th Annual Clearwater Hooters Offshore Nationals in Florida, scheduled for Sept. 27-29.
Following its second annual bout in Dunkirk, NY, which featured an anemic boat count, RWO has reason to be optimistic about the competition in Clearwater. “I think we’ll be fine,” RWO’s Larry Bliel says. “We’ve got our APBA sanctions now, and we have a lot of commitments and pre-registrations from Pro Stock and Super Cat competitors. WHS Motorsports will be there, along with M-CON and several others.” Additionally, he said, RWO will be sending out driver’s packets today for teams to official register.
For the past ten years, Clearwater Beach has been a highlight of the offshore race season as both national and international teams come together to put on an exciting race for the entire family; there will also be parties, great food and parades to complement a full day of racing.
Bliel is also working overtime to ensure a great turnout at the Race World Offshore Key West Championships, set for Nov. 3-10. “Key West is going to be great,” he predicts. “We’ve already got a whole bunch of teams pre-registered because we can only put 25 boats on Duvall Street for Saturday night. It’s first-come, first-served, and everybody wants to be on there for Friday night.”
Healthily attended events in Clearwater and Key West will go a long way to making up for RWO’s weak season opener in Dunkirk, NY. “That race had a low boat count because it immediately followed two races in a row, so it’s tough for everybody to get there,” Bliel says. “We had a low boat count last year as well. It’s just the timing. Going from St. Clair and Michigan City and then to upstate New York the next weekend is kind of tough.”