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Hydroplanes to race on Folsom Lake at Granite Bay May 31 - June 2

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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For the first time since 1967, hydroplane boats will race on Folsom Lake.

The HI Unlimited Hydroplane Series, part of the Big Wake Weekend, will descend on the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area in Granite Bay May 31to June 2, 2013, it was announced at a press conference Tuesday at Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill in Folsom. Series President Sam Cole, Event Promoter from 41 Live, Bob Richards and driver of the U-21Air National Guard Series boat, Brian Perkins, came to Folsom to promote the event.

“It will be California’s premiere beach party and picnic weekend,” Richards said. “We’re going to transfer the park into an incredible venue with a luxury hospitality area, sky boxes, a beer garden and more. We will turn it into a premiere motorsports facility, much like Sonoma. It’s going to be an incredible three-day experience with exhibitions and demonstrations throughout the week.”

The hydroplane boats can reach speeds of 200 miles per hour, but drivers usually only reach 180 miles per hour during qualifying and 160 miles per hour during the race. The boats are about 29-feet long and 18-feet wide and weigh 7,000 pounds. The engine creates about 2800 horsepower.

Perkins, who’s been racing hydroplane boats since 2005, is looking forward to racing on Folsom Lake.

“I can’t remember that last time we had a new place to race so this is going to be fun,” Perkins said. “It’s a very exciting sport to watch and this is a fresh start with new fans. I know everyone will like it. It’s a beautiful venue and it will be interesting to see what Folsom Lake has to offer the drivers.”

The qualifying races will be held Friday and Saturday and the rest of the races, including the finale, will be held Sunday, June 2. The course will be a two-mile oval with the final race being five laps long.

“When you’re out there by yourself the boats are pretty calm on the straightaway,” Perkins said. “Then you go into the corner and 6gs throw you sideways and messes with your vision. When you get three to six boats out there it changes dramatically. It gets pretty violent, especially after a couple laps. It’s pretty intense.”

Other events to be held over the weekend include the Western Formula Lights, Super Stock Flatbottom Race Series, the Hyperlite Experience Wakeboard exhibition, the California Speedboat Association demonstration and the Vintage Jet Boat presentation.

Cole added, “We’re delighted and excited to be back in the Sacramento area after so many years.”