AMSOIL hosts powerboat races off Barker's Island

When the Twin Ports Power Boat Association was looking for a new venue on Lake Superior, the organization contacted the Chamber of Superior-Douglas County.

Brian Tabara leads Tyler Welch in a race at the Formula 150 National Championship Finals Sunday in Forest Lake, Minn. (Tony Fortuna photo)

When the Twin Ports Power Boat Association was looking for a new venue on Lake Superior, the organization contacted the Chamber of Superior-Douglas County.

The Chamber - always looking for an opportunity to promote the community - then turned to the professionals at AMSOIL Speedway for help.

The result is a high-speed powerboat race off Barker’s Island this weekend.

“We have eight different classes coming that includes everything from kids kind of boats that go 55 mph to Formula 1 racing boats that go in excess of 140 mph,” AMSOIL Speedway official Joe Stariha said. “The Formula 1 (and Formula 2) guys race all over the United States.”

Racers put their boats - about 60 are expected - to the test on an oval track off the north end of Barker’s Island.


“We have the perfect venue with Barker’s Island where it’s easy for spectators to watch and there’s a lot of area so it’s an easy course set up for them,” Stariha said.

“It’s going to be a fun, family-friendly event,” Taylor Pederson of the Chamber added.

Stariha said the races planned for this weekend started out as a venue for the Twin Cities Power Boat Association, but with AMSOIL agreeing to be the sponsor, the inaugural race became a national competition.

AMSOIL, which sponsor a couple of Formula 1 boats, contacted those racers about competing in Superior.

“We have guys coming in from Florida even,” Pederson said. “It’ll be fantastic.”

Stariha said the last three weeks have been busy since he realized he would need more vendors for the first-time event.

The goal is to make the powerboat races off Barker’s Island an annual event.

“We’re really trying to figure out what it’s going to be like,” Stariha said.


Spectators are welcome to check out the event. There is no cost to watch the races, Stariha said. However, parking will cost $5 per vehicle.

“Load as many as you can in the car and come on down,” he said.

To keep things simple this first year, Stariha said people should bring a bag chair.

“You’ll need your own seating,” Stariha said. “We’ll have vendors with food and beers and waters and beverages there.”

“Hopefully, the economic impact of the event will be nothing shy of phenomenal,” Pederson said. “Hopefully, it will grow to the size of the dragon boat festival.”


Join the fun

What: AMSOIL Powerboat Championships


When: Testing starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday with races at 11:30 a.m.

Where: Barker’s Island fishing pier

Don’t miss it: 7-11 p.m. After Shock performs at the festival park on Barker’s Island. Meet the drivers and crews.

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Related Topics: SUPERIOR
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