STIHL, the 2012 Superboat class winner, heads out onto the course in front of hundreds of race fans in and on the water.
CLEARWATER – The roar of offshore racing returns to the area Sunday, Sept. 29 when the 2013 Bright House Super Boat National Championship takes place off Clearwater Beach.
Competitors in 10 classes will push the throttle up to speeds as high as 180 mph around a 4.4-mile course that stretches north 2 miles from Pier 60. Races are scheduled at noon and 2 p.m.
Boats in the Superboat Unlimited, Superboat V Unlimited, Superboat V Extreme, Turbine, Superboat 750, Superboat 850 and Super Cat classes will race 79 miles, or 18 laps.
Manufacturer Production P1 boats will go 57 miles, or 13 laps; Superboat Stock and Super Vee Limited, 52 miles, 13 laps; and Manufacturer Production P2, P3 and P4, 48 miles, 11 laps.
The races can be viewed from Pier 60 where tickets are $5 and $20. The Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach also have race watching specials planned. Viewing is free along the beaches and from boats parked outside the racecourse.
In addition to Sunday’s races, practice runs will take place all day Saturday.
Headquarters for the event is again the Baystar Race Village in Coachman Park where spectators can view the boats close up, meet drivers, get autographs and photos. Admission is free.
Festivities Friday, Sept. 27 include a VIP party from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Clearwater Harbor Marina Promenade; and Blast Friday, featuring the music of John Cafferty with Stormbringer along Cleveland Street. Admission is free.
Saturday night’s entertainment lineup includes the Alter Eagles, an Eagles tribute band, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and the Killing Floor, 9 to 10:30 p.m.
Limited parking is available at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach ($16 for the day) but event organizers say the best bet is off-beach parking at Cleveland Street area parking locations.
The Jolley Trolley will provide shuttle service from city parking lots and Coachman Park to Pier 60 all three days.
Free park and $2 ride to the race
Avoid the traffic and lack of parking this weekend during the fifth annual Clearwater Super Boat National Championship and Seafood Festival on Clearwater Beach.
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is suggesting that the public take advantage of the free parking at the Clearwater Municipal Services Garage, 640 Pierce St., and catch the Suncoast Beach Trolley at PSTA’s Park Street Terminal, 5525 Park St., to the beach. The Trolley is $2 one way ($1 for seniors). The service is available Friday and Saturday, Sept. 28-29. The bus terminal is across the street from the parking garage.
Riders can find the Beach Trolley schedule at www.psta.net. The website has an automated Google Trip Planner and links to PSTA’s new Real Time Bus Information system to let you know exactly when the next bus will arrive. Riders can also get bus arrival information or help planning their trips over the telephone at PSTA’s InfoLine at 540-1900.