Cam­bridge Clas­sic Power Boat Re­gatta moves to Me­mo­rial Day Week­end

Dorchester Star - - Sports -

CAM­BRIDGE — A Mary­land tra­di­tion has moved to Me­mo­rial Day Week­end. The 106th Cam­bridge Clas­sic Power Boat Re­gatta, the old­est power­boat race in the United States, opens a jam­packed sum­mer of events in Dorch­ester County on the East­ern Shore, May 28-29.

Twelve classes of boats fea­tur­ing hy­droplanes, run­abouts and Jersey speed skiffs will race each af­ter­noon from noon to 5 p.m. on the Chop­tank River off Cam­bridge’s Great Marsh Park, 1 Som­er­set Ave. Spec­ta­tors can tour the pit area be­gin­ning at 10 a.m. Ad­mis­sion is free with a $5 a day charge for in/out park­ing.

“Since 1911 when Al­fred I. DuPont and the Cam­bridge Yacht Club or­ga­nized the first race, the Cam­bridge Clas­sic has been an im­por­tant part of Dorch­ester County’s heritage,” said Amanda Fen­ster­maker, Dorch­ester County Di­rec­tor of Tourism. “It’s an eco­nomic driver for our re­gion, and we ex­pect to gen­er­ate even more spec­ta­tor in­ter­est by mov­ing the 2016 event from late July to Me­mo­rial Day Week­end.”

Part of the APBA In­board Power Boat Cir­cuit in 2016, the Cam­bridge Clas­sic fleet ranges from the clas­sic Jersey speed skiffs turn­ing on their sides and go­ing air­borne at 70mph to the 1,500-horse­power grand prix boats that reach speeds of 170mph and fin­ish the five-mile course in three min­utes.

“This will be one of the first big races on the East Coast in 2016, and the Me­mo­rial Day Week­end date will al­low us to in­crease the num­ber of com­peti­tors and in­clude na­tional cham­pi­onship events,” said Allen Nel­son, Vice Com­modore of the Cam­bridge Power Boat Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion. “The week­end’s races will in­clude the sum­mer na­tional cham­pi­onships for the Jersey speed skiffs and 1.5-litre hy­droplanes.”

For the first time in sev­eral years, Cam­bridge na­tive and world cham­pion driver Tom Thomp­son is ex­pected to com­pete in the grand prix and 2.5-litre mod­i­fied events. In prior years, the Cam­bridge Clas­sic has con­flicted with Thomp­son’s Peters & May H1 Un­lim­ited Hy­droplane rac­ing sched­ule.

Boats in the Cam­bridge Clas­sic will race on a closed, five-mile course on Ham­brooks Bay. Spec­ta­tors can watch the race from the bleacher and con­ces­sion area at Great Marsh Park.

“A lot of peo­ple come and go through­out the day,” said Nel­son. “You can watch a full af­ter­noon of races or you can catch three to four events in an hour and walk into town to shop and en­joy a bit to eat.”

The best part of the event, ac­cord­ing to Nel­son, is wan­der­ing the pit area.

“It’s a great fam­ily sport and fans of all ages can view the boats and meet the rac­ers. It’s amaz­ing to see the look on kids’ faces when driv­ers pick them up and put them in the cock­pit.”

Spec­ta­tors can also watch the Cam­bridge Clas­sic from the wa­ter. The fleet will raft at Rooster Point. A no-wake zone will be es­tab­lished from How­ell Point to the Chop­tank River Bridge.

On May 27, the eve of the races, the Cam­bridge Clas­sic and the County will host Rockin’ The Chop­tank a free con­cert fea­tur­ing the music of Black­wa­ter at the Dorch­ester County Vis­i­tor Cen­ter Am­phithe­ater at Sail­winds Park, 2 Rose Hill Place. The con­cert is spon­sored by Com­cast Spot­light. In ad­di­tion, the Cam­bridge Ro­tary Club will place 200 Amer­i­can flags on the park’s berm for its Flags for He­roes fundraiser.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.cp bra.com and www.vis­it­dorch­ester.org

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Cam­bridge-South Dorch­ester High School teacher John Shaw, left, won two of the four classes he com­peted in dur­ing the 2015 Cam­bridge Clas­sic. He also took home the Nathan Foun­da­tion In­dex of Per­for­mance Award as well as the Skeeter John­son Me­mo­rial Award, pre­sented by the Hill’s Point Gang.

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