Countdown to Grand Prix speedboat racing starts on Friday night

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TYLER SPRINGSTEEN THE OCEAN STAR Officials held a press conference on Wednesday to announce coming events set for the Offshore Grand Prix.

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — Borough and race officials came out to Captain Bill’s Landing and Red’s Lobster Pot last week to announce festivities for the 2021 Point Pleasant Beach Offshore Grand Prix, beginning Friday evening, June 11.

After having to forgo the popular speedboat competition last year because of the pandemic, organizers are eagerly rolling out a full schedule of activities for race weekend, June 11, 12 and 13. 

“Residents and visitors alike remember the races of yesteryear with great fondness,” said Toni Potthoff, president of New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association [NJOPRA]. “This year’s powerboat races will include an extraordinary weekend of family fun and an exciting race day lineup that will serve as the perfect kickoff to the summer season in Point Pleasant Beach.”

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During an announcement last Wednesday, NJOPRA officials say they are honored to have Jersey Mike’s return as title sponsor for the fifth year.

“For the past five years, we have been fortunate to have Jersey Mike’s, an international business with local roots, come out and support and sponsor our event,” said Ms. Potthoff.

Former Mayor Stephen Reid came out to represent Jersey Mike’s Subs.

“Mayor [Paul Kanitra], thank you very much for being committed to this great race,” said Mr. Reid. “As you know, I had the opportunity to bring it back a few years ago and with people like Jersey Mike’s Subs, we are extremely proud too of course once again to be the title sponsor.”

Mr. Reid also thanked all the local groups who are donating their time and resources to the race.

“All the people that give so much, they’re all volunteers,” said Mr. Reid, “no one is making money here. They do it because they love it.”

Mayor Kanitra was eager to welcome back the race in 2021 after its cancellation last summer. 

“On behalf of the Borough of Point Pleasant Beach, I’d like to officially welcome the Offshore Grand Prix back to this great town for the 2021 addition,” said Mayor Kanitra. 

Mr. Kanitra said the long-range forecast was promising, so the borough is expecting record-breaking crowds to enjoy the weekend. 

The mayor credited and thanked his predecessor Mr. Reid, who brought the race back to the borough. 

“He had the idea and the follow-through to bring this race back where it belongs right here in Point Pleasant Beach,” said the mayor. “It’s the type of family-friendly event that fits this town perfectly and without his efforts, we wouldn’t be here today.”

“The crowds are going to be big, the engines are going to be loud and Point Pleasant Beach is going to be rocking,” said Mr. Kanitra.

On Friday, June 11, the “Meet the Racers” block party will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. downtown from Arnold Route 35 South to the Elks Lodge. The Pit Area will also open in the Point Pleasant Beach Train Station parking lot on Arnold Avenue to meet the athletes.

On Saturday, June 12, the Pit Area will be open all day as boats are transferred to the water. Saturday’s festivities continue at 5 p.m. with the annual boat parade. 

Sunday, June 13, is Race Day, ending the weekend with loud engines and top speeds with the first race set to go off around noon.

NJOPRA is an all-volunteer organization whose main function is to produce and promote this race. 

The sanctioning organization for this race event is OPA Offshore Racing Association, located in Brick Township.

Check out our other Point Pleasant Beach stories, updated daily. And remember to pick up a copy of The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.

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