Last month, Lake of the Ozarks powerboating fans and the powerboat racing world were abuzz with the news of a new race coming to the Lake in 2018.
But Wednesday evening on the Lake Race Fundraising Cruise, Lake Race Spokesperson Mike Shepherd said there would be no September race, and there would be no third race, period.
The newly formed Race World Offshore (RWO) announced plans for the new race in Key West at the end of the SBI World Championships. A spokesperson for RWO told LakeExpo.com the exact date had not been set, but the race was planned to be the championship for the 2018 inaugural RWO race series, and would likely be in September. At Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Race organizers confirmed something was in the works. At that time, Mike Shepherd told LakeExpo.com, “Lake Race has an agreement in concept with Race World Offshore Powerboat Association to promote their national championship powerboat race event here at Lake of the Ozarks in September of 2018.”
But those plans hit a speed bump (er... wave break?). Shepherd says multiple factors played into the change. Among them: Missouri State Highway Patrol's Water Patrol Director, Captain Matt Walz, says the Patrol doesn't think Lake of the Ozarks is suited for more than two boat races in a year.
"I can’t see where we’d permit more than two major races for Lake of the Ozarks in a single year," Walz told LakeExpo.com.
“There’s so much restriction to the Lake when we permit that type of event," he said, adding, "We can’t shut down huge chunks of Lake of the Ozarks numerous times each year." Walz did note that the MSHP never received an official permit request for the RWO race, but the agency gave its feedback based on the preliminary discussions.
John Potts, President of American Performance Media, is the media director for RWO, and he confirmed the September race is off. But he left the possibility open for some kind of RWO presence at Lake of the Ozarks.
Potts pointed out the 2018 RWO race in Key West has also had to be moved. That race had been set for May 24–26, but the Environmental Protection Agency wasn’t a fan.
The EPA said the tarpon (fish) run during that time of year, and worried the race would be a disturbance to the popular game fish.
So if you’re a race fan, Lake of the Ozarks will be hosting two—yes, two—action-packed powerboat races in 2018:
-Lake Race — June 1–3
-Shootout — August 24–26
Mark your calendar!