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RegattaFest Wraps Up For 2018

October 3, 2018


Special To The Wetzel Chronicle

The seventh annual Regatta Fest was held last weekend, Sept. 29-30, under ideal weather conditions. Blue skies and perfect temperatures. Not a rain cloud in sight. After a month of record rainfall, the clear weather was a welcome sight for the event's organizers.

Article Photos

Driver Terry Finley received the top honor for Formula Three. He was the recipient of the City of New Martinsville Trophy. He is pictured with city officials, Recorder Kim Whiteman and Councilman Steve Pallisco, along with RegattaFest royalty. (Photo by Chuck Clegg)

Mother Nature provided idea weather conditions, but the Ohio River's level was far less than perfect. By race time on Saturday the river's level was near 23 feet, well above normal pool level. This rise in the river from Friday presented the race organizers a whole list of problems. Shore access onto the city's docks behind the fire department was nearly impossible. It was decided the boats would use a running start instead of the traditional stationary start from the docks. And the boat launching area that is normally at the bottom of the old ferry landing, was pushed up the hill by water's level. This made working with more than two boats at a time much more difficult. Launching and recovering of boats would require skilled pit workers.

The river's current was running at an estimated eight knots. This swift current made it difficult to recover boats with mechanical problems when returning to the ferry landing. Large orange buoys are used to mark the course for racers to navigate. Each of the marker buoys was anchored to the bottom with five concrete blocks. Each block's weight is thirty three pounds. Even with this much weight, the buoys on Saturday were constantly being swept down river.

With all the problems on the river, it was evident race teams and the events organizers knew how to handle the difficult river conditions. With everyone pitching in the racing schedule was completed by Saturday evening.

Sunday brought improved conditions to the course. Water levels in the river had dropped three feet making it possible for the docks to be used as the traditional starting point for the first race. It was determined after that race the rest of the day's racing events would use a running start.

Since 1938, New Martinsville has played host to power boat racing on the Ohio River. Other than about a 10 year period, boats have returned to race on one of the drivers' favorite fresh water courses. During those years the racing committees have had to deal with many adverse conditions in order to pull off the late September racing event. This year had to be one of the most challenging.

The Power Boat Super League event drew boats from as far away as northern Minnesota and southern Florida. A total of 30 boats came to town to participate in the late season event. This year, in addition to the racing boats, a new class of racing enthusiasts came to test the waters of the river. Supercat racing inflatables gave the crowds an unexpected thrill when it came to their racing on the swift water course.

Weekend visitors not only had the opportunity to watch the river events, they were treated to stage entertainment and a downtown car show. Children could spend time entertaining themselves in a variety of bouncy houses near the river.

For those of you who spent time enjoying the high speed racing event, you may not realize that the weekend event is only possible after a year's worth of planning. Racing dates need to be approved. The planners must meet with the Coast Guard to obtain needed permits for all racing events. Like all free events we enjoy in our community, they can only happen with the generosity of the local sponsors. After a year's worth of permits have been obtained, and money from sponsors has been found, racers this year came to town facing the challenges of the river filled with high water. But due to the professional men and women and the advanced planning of the event organizers, the weekend of powerboat racing came off with no major problems in completing the event.

What's next for event organizers and racing teams? They begin the process all over again in preparing for another year's racing events on the banks of the Ohio River in New Martinsville. The Powerboat Super League is already planning another event for next September, they hope to see you there.

RegattaFest Results:

Formula 2 Full Results:

Lee Daniel. #2, North Augusta, SC

Jeff Shepherd, #38, Clarksville, TN

Tyler Welch, #59, Wayzata, MN

Jayme Durand, #9, Augusta, GA

Jimmy Kerr, #71, Grand Rapids, MI

Jeff Reno, #34, Okeechobee, FL

Mark Welch, #95, Wayzata, MN

Jerry Guinn, #31, Portsmouth, OH

Dean Durand, #69, Augusta, GA

JK Krischano, Elk River, MN

John Ludwig, #98, Millersport, OH

Arron Bjork, Zimmerman, MN

Formula Three Full Results:

Terry Finley, #27, Chillicothe, OH

JK Krischano, #58. Elk River, MN

Toby Hood, #64, McConellstown, PA

Jessica Tabara, #15, Hastings, MN

Jonah Gilbertson, #24, Moose Lake, MN

Jeff Gilbertson, #162, Moose Lake, MN

Sam LaBanco, #44, Northbrook, IL

Bill Mastro, #89, Seneca Lake, NY (scratch)


Chip Wavro, #33, Sparta, GA

Bart Shafer, #19, N. Augusta, SC

Spencer Toon, #47, Pleasant View, TN

Don Hendrix, #18, Augusta, GA

Brian Ultig, #8, Beach Island, SC

Thunder Cats

Adam Low Galesburg, MI

James Yako, Trenton, MI

Kyle Yako, Trenton, MI



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