Hydroplane racing is a year-round event that takes place all over the world. Hydroplanes are carbon fiber and fiber glass boats that glide on top of the water at speeds of up to 170 miles per hour (270 km per hour). The Webster Lake Hydroplane Race "Thunder on Webster Lake" is part of the ACHA Series. ACHA is a series of races that stands for the American-Canadian Hydroplane Association, in which hundreds of boats from all along the Central/Eastern United States and Canada compete in numerous classes and competitions all throughout the Northeast. This year, ACHA races are scheduled to take place in Long Sault Ontario, Syracuse New York, Brockville Ontario, Valleyfield Quebec, St-Felicien Quebec, Webster Massachusetts, as well as Beauharnois Quebec. These competitions usually last two days (Saturday and Sunday) but can last up to three days if a exhibition race is included on Friday. Racers compete all weekend to win the first, second, and third place trophies for that weekend's races, and ultimately to earn points throughout the season (April to October) to win the "high-points", the overall accumulated points for the series. The racers at Thunder on Webster Lake will be racing what is known as "inboard" boats, which mean that the engine is inside of the boat. The pilots of the boats race around a mile (on average) oval track, completing 5 minutes of warm-up laps and then five consecutive laps to the finish. The boats start off in the pit area and when they are ready to be put out, a crane lifts them up and places them into the water. When racers are ready, the "five-minute-gun" is fired. This gives all of the boats five minutes to go out and practice taking laps and getting a feel for the course. Once the five minutes is up and the countdown clock strikes zero, the racers must be darting across the starting line and the race commences. However, go over the line too quickly and you will be penalized for "jumping the gun" or starting too early. Although the racing and competition is the fun part to watch, racers all around the world will agree that if you get a bad start or jump the gun, the race has already been lost.
There are numerous different classes of boats that compete during the races all weekend. In the ACHA series (discussed above), there are four major types of Hydroplanes. There is the 1.5 Liter (smallest), 2.5 liter (medium), Hydro 350 (pictured left) and the Grand Prix (largest and fastest). Engines range from a modified jet ski engine to full 1300 Horsepower Chevy big block, methanol fueled engine and speeds range from 90 mph to 170 mph.
Example of Racing
Below is a sample video of the largest class of boats, the Grand Prix class. Here, you can see the type of racing, the crowd reaction and the intense noise, excitement, and pure adrenaline that comes with racing a hydroplane. This video was uploaded to Youtube by user "CBFNCPierre" and all video rights are owned by the foresaid username. We do not own the rights to this video and thank the author.