Jul 11, 2009

CRB Off-Sport - Sprint Boats

In the comments of the LTCO, commenter and well known ladies man, annonomous, posted this link to this video. We command you to watch it. Right NOW!

When you are done watching you will probably think to yourself that this is the coolest thing I have ever seen and please CRB you must tell us more about this rad sport. We will feed you baby birds.

This is an actual sport! Governed by teh USSBA, or, the United States Sprint Boat Association. The concept seems pretty easy huh? Small boat, big motor, two people in the boat racing around this little skinny watery course.

The potential for awesome crashes at every turn has to be immense, and yes, the crashes are that awesome. Observe.

Side note. Watching that video, you notice when the boats roll over you see some of the drivers and spotter with their arms flailing all around. THAT IS WRONG! They teach you that, especially in rally racing, when you roll grab onto the steering wheel or your seat belt and hold on tight, that way you don't chance breaking your arm, or having them grotesqly ripped off in an awesome display of steroid Olympic style gore.

See Travis Pastrana's arm at the 48 second mark. Hold on to the steering wheel Travis!!

Back on track, So now that we have established the awesome, lets get into some details shall we?

From the USSBA website, which may or may not have been designed in geocities, comes this bit of what, in fact, is Sprint Boating. Grab a cub of coffee or a beer and enjoy this bit of fun.

1990 saw jet sprinting first brought to the US. At first, racing was held in ponds and lakes, and the boats raced on a track setup with floating buoys. This was when the United States Sprint Boat Association (USSBA) was formed as a club. In 1997 the first in-ground track was dug in Marsing Idaho along the banks of the Snake River.

Here in the US jet sprint racing now consists of three classes, Superboat, Group A-400 and Super Modified. The USSBA has now transformed from a “club” to a true sanctioning racing body that sanctions and promotes Sprint Boat racing in the United States.

The engines in the boats range from 500 horsepower to well over 1,000 horsepower in the Superboat class. These boats approach straight-line speeds of up to 80-plus miles per hour and with their incredible turning capabilities can pull 3-7 g’s in the tightest corners.

In my years of reporting and photographing motorsports, I have had the great fortune to have been given rides in an SCCA 450hp Subaru rally car near Shelton, Washington and two laps at Portland International Raceway in the Petersen Motorsports 2004 Le Mans class winner Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Yes, those were both incredible rides that would please any adrenaline junkie, but riding in a USSBA sprint boat makes those rides little more than going to the grocery store for a half-gallon of milk on a Sunday morning with Grandma at the wheel.

Right out of the box your breath is taken away as you accelerate off the start line. As your pilot comes to the first corner you see the bank get closer and closer and you wonder when they are ever going to slow down for that extremely sharp corner that you can barely see! And they do not slow down! You grit your teeth and exhale hard as you experience the incredible g-forces and it’s that way through every straight and every turn. You’ve heard the term: Racing like your hair’s on fire. This type of racing is exactly that.

Your lap is over in less than a minute and you’ve hardly even breathed. Your adrenaline is maxed out, your legs are weak and your hands are shaking. You will never forget this moment. If you can ever swing a ride in a sprint boat, do it. You will not regret it.
We are sold!

There are a few more events coming up if you choose to partake in the festivities and happen to live in the Washington or Oregon areas. From both the Wicked Racing site and the USSBA site:

July 25th in Albany, Oregon - Field of Dreams
August 8th in Port Charles, Washington - Location TBD
August 29th in St. John, Washington - Webbs Slough
September 12th in Albany, Oregon - Field of Dreams
September 19th in Port Charles, Washington - Location TBD

If anyone is in that area, you MUST go to these events and take many pictures and share them with the CRB community. Maybe we can all get together, raise some money, and have a CRB sprint boat race team! Here, more video!

Wicked Racing 2008 Finals from Wicked Racing on Vimeo.

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