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WEBSTER – The hydroplane races on Webster Lake this past weekend were a resounding success. Thousands of spectators crowded the shore at Memorial Beach to watch the two-day spectacle of colorful, high tech, high speed power boats competing in the sixth of seven American Canadian Hydroplane Association events in the 2012 season.
Local racer and event organizer Mike Grendell was enthusiastic about the crowds both days. “We're very happy with the turnout. It's much better than last year.”
Spectator Harold Marzik of Webster is a race fan and came last year as well. He's been to races in other states too, but said, “This is my lake. I think this is a good thing for Webster. It's revenue. And people are having a good time, there's a nice camaraderie.”
Bernie Gelineau, also of Webster, pointed at the people around him. “Look at the people interacting with each other,” he said. “This is the best thing that's happened to Webster in a long time. Thumbs up to the organizers.”
Millbury residents Bill Black, his girlfriend Angela Rubin, and friend Wayne Lucas were having a good time in the beer garden. They'd heard about the race and decided to come. “It's fantastic,” volunteered Angela, who said she had spent time on Webster Lake growing up. Bill said, “We're outside, we're in the sun, it's very comfortable here, it's all good.” Wayne added, “I love the smell of the fuel,” and, pointing to his glass of beer, “This fuel as well.”
Canadian spectator Silvie LeFebvre came from Quebec to cheer on her racing friends. This was her first time in Webster, and she was impressed with the venue. The Lake is beautiful, she said, and the view is very good. One of the race announcers echoed that theme, noting that in his opinion Webster Lake is, if not the best, the second best site on the circuit.
Webster residents Kathleen Boss and daughter Jennifer Boss are committed to the boat races. “We're race fans,” said Kathleen, but noted they could only go to car races before. “We've never had anything like this in Webster. I'm happy the town let them come.” She also gets to gloat a little. “My son moved to Georgia, and he gets to see a lot of NASCAR. Now we finally have something on the Lake. It's a big draw, it's good for the town.” Commenting on the noise of the engines, Jennifer said, “It's loud, but it's only two days, and there's plenty of notice.”
In addition to the local spectators, seventy race teams with their crews and supporters descended on Webster and surrounding towns for the weekend, staying in local hotels and eating in local restaurants.
At Bistro Eighty Ates, Chef Todd Young said the event “definitely helped business over the weekend. We had race crews in here on Saturday night and again Sunday night.” They seemed to be the right kind of crowd, he said. He described them as super friendly, good people, not at all rowdy. Todd noted that the restaurant's website got a lot of hits from Canada in the weeks before the race. “They checked us out ahead of time.”
The event also supported local businesses working at the site, the crane operators, communications people, and the many vendors who sold products and food.
All aspects of the race went well, said Mike. “There were no incidents, everyone was well behaved. We're very happy.”
- Wednesday, 05 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News