The popular racing attraction was saved in the final hours last year when the Air National Guard came to the rescue to back the event. Now, not only has the Air National Guard returned, but the drag boats have legitimate support from Lucas Oil.
Obviously, Bayfair’s board of governors can express a sigh of relief.
This is the 46th year of Bayfair on Mission Bay. Thunderboats Inc. is a nonprofit organization that promotes powerboat racing in San Diego and tourism in the beach area. Profits from the three-day festival go to the Wounded Warrior Fund.
“The Unlimited hydroplanes and the drag boats are truly fan favorites,” said Jeff Thomas, chairman of San Diego Bayfair’s board of directors. “This is the only race site in the country where you can experience both tours on the same body of water in the same weekend. If you love jet engines or the roar of the pistons and the sheer speed of seeing the fastest racecraft with no wheels, Bayfair is the place to be this weekend.
“But it’s more than just powerboat racing,” he said. “There’s something for everyone: great vendors, food, music and the shores of beautiful Mission Bay, combined with the best weather of the year.”
Tickets are $25 for a single-day pass or $45 for a three-day superpass. Children under age 12, active-duty military personnel and reservists with valid ID are admitted free. The gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. each day.
• NBC Sports’ lead motorsports announcer Bill Weber and former H1 Unlimited driver Mike Allen will serve as the broadcast team for the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series television shows that will appear on the Versus Network this fall. The shows begin airing Oct. 9.
• Probably the most interesting Grand Prix West driver is Dean Rojas, a one-time San Diego State University student who is a professional angler. He won $1.5 million on the fishing tour.
• Greg Hopp will have double duty in Grand Prix and Unlimited driving.
• Prix pilot Scott Pierce drove the Miss Budweiser to victory here 20 years ago.
• The most successful crew chief among the hydro clan is Mike Hanson, who has been at the working helm of Oh Boy! Oberto for three national titles.
• San Diego is the final regular-season stop for the Air National Guard Hydroplane Series before wrapping up its season in Doha, Qatar in November.