Cam­bridge Clas­sic races thrill spectators

Dorchester Star - - News - Fol­low Caro­line/Dorch­ester Edi­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_S­tarDem.

CAM­BRIDGE — The 107th Cam­bridge Clas­sic Power Boat Re­gatta, the old­est power­boat race in the United States, opens a jam-packed sum­mer of events May 13-14 in Dorch­ester County.

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,” Amanda Fen­ster­maker, Dorch­ester’s tourism di­rec­tor, said.

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.

“The week­end’s races will in­clude the sum­mer na­tional cham­pi­onships for the Jer­sey speed skiffs and 1.5-litre hy­droplanes,” said Allen Nel­son, vice com­modore of the Cam­bridge Power Boat Rac­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

For the first time in sev­eral years, Cam­bridge na­tive and world cham­pion driver Tom Thomp­son com­peted in the grand prix and 2.5-litre mod­i­fied events in 2016. 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, fivemile 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 the eve of the races, the Cam­bridge Clas­sic and the county will host Rockin’ the Chop­tank, a free con­cert at the Dorch­ester County Visi­tor Cen­ter Am­phithe­ater at Sail­winds Park, 2 Rose Hill Place. Last year’s con­cert was spon­sored by Com­cast Spot­light.

For more information, visit www.cp­bra.com or 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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