Powerboat Racing

Why has the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane series failed so miserably in obtaining title sponsors and…

When you go abroad there are several series of powerboat racing govern by the UIM like the F1H2O series and the UIM F2 series that have been fairly successful at partnering with large corporate firms to help foot the bill. Now that’s not to say these series are prefect but they do seem to pull off a successful string of races just about every season.

Photo credit and description H1 Unlimited Facebook Page — Dan Hoover, crew chief of the U-1 Miss [HomeStreet] Bank leads a group of volunteers as the team prepares to defend their Gold Cup and National Championship in the 2016 H1 Unlimited hydroplane series. In addition to Hoover, Tyler Hanson painted the boat and Jimmy Gilbert is busy installing the electrical system and steering hardware in the race boat. Others preparing for the upcoming season include driver Jimmy Shane, Cindy Shirley, Matt Sontag, Richard Dunn, Gary Spanner, Brandon MacCalaster and president and team manager Charlie Grooms.

Back here stateside we have several category’s of racing when it comes to powerboats from the smaller kneel down outboard classes, Formula 1 @ 2 outboard tunnel boats and a host of mid range to monster size inboard category’s all of which do fairly well with the foot soldiers that run each division knocking on doors and obtaining funding for weekend events.

One of the premier categories here in the states is the H1 Unlimited series when it comes to sheer horsepower and wow factor yet this is the one series that seems to limp along year after year without title sponsors or real solid corporate backing.

Crew members on the H1 circuit basically work for free and the love the of sport but one has to wonder how much longer will the sport be able to sustain it self before the hard working men and woman that travel the country week in and week out finally burn out and call it quits. In contrast “Nascar pit crew get paid up to $100,000 per race , but it can possibly increased up $150,000 if the team wins the race or finished in the top ten position get paid winning bonus that include the race winning earnings of teams”

What’s holding this sport back? is it the lack of leadership from the top down? Is it that powerboat racing is just no longer a sport that folks find interesting here as they did back in its hay day. Now of course many will say that the decline in powerboat racing is the same decline being seen across all forms of motor-sports but I’m not buying that. Lets really dig a bit deeper and hear from folks on what they think is really behind the decline of what was once one of the most popular forms of powerboat racing in the country. What’s truly holding this series back from becoming a staple among American based sports and truly becoming a mainstream household name that it once was.

A fans reaction to the above story post on HydroNews 05/11/16

Lorand Magyar The marketing is a joke…there has to boats sitting in garages everywhere. …why a hull isn’t on display with a few flat screen TV’s showing highlights of races and crashes at nearby (Indianapolis ) is beyond my comprehension. Virtually zero social media. …drivers and teams do little to promote their sponsors….zero good apps….zero cross marketing with hotels/restaurants/bars at race venues. Zero cross marketing with the sport fishing industry….zero cross marketing with drag boats. Why doesnt unlimited put on events with a fishing tournament, drag boats, golf tournament, water ski tournament? Why not make the sport more tv friendly ? Why are there zero pushes on social media ? Why isn’t there an event of all the boats showing up on the circle in indy ? Why aren’t “food trucks” vending from nearby cities instead of the surly fried crap that is usually there (madison, Evansville, Detroit) ? How do you guys not copy from the SM success of food trucks ?

I can tell you Lucas Oil left …in part…because of the “good ol’ boys” running your sport ! There is zero mention of the sport on local TV and newspaper. …partly because unlimited doesnt reach out to the sports or weather people. ….why don’t you have “2 seaters” like Indy Car ? Why aren’t you guys at PRI and other tech events ?

Really it comes down to presentation of product, marketing, and social media. ….and you guys still think it’s 1975.

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