After spending three years away in the United States, Mexico and New Zealand, the annual World Jet Boat Championship Races are finally returning to Canada in 2015, from July 15 to 25. Individual races are being held in Grande Prairie, Peace River, Taylor and Whitecourt.
The races are expected to bring in between 60 and 75 boats from the United States, Mexico and New Zealand. These are spread across five classes including the Unlimited Jet Class, Unlimited Spec Jet Class, A Jet Class, CX Jet Class and FX Jet Class. The individual races are tallied throughout for a final marathon total.
Spectators can watch the races along the river for free at the various locations, but are asked to be careful.
“We do ask that you stay back from the water," race committee member Penny Batt said. "Some of these boats reach speeds up to 150 miles per hour—that’s 241 kilometres per hour. If they lose control, you don’t want to be in the way.”
Fans do have a chance to see the boats up close, however. Grovedale Hall in Grande Prairie is the site of the opening ceremonies and a show and shine on July 16.
"Come out and meet the drivers and see the boats up close," said Batt. "The program will have write-ups on the race teams and people can collect autographs from the drivers. There will be memorabilia to purchase as well."
The race committee expects attendance to be in the thousands for the event, which is part of the reason the races are coming back to the region.
“The wild rivers, dedicated volunteers, racers and fans keep them coming back,” Batt said.
There is always a need for more volunteers, so if you would like to get involved you can message the 2015 Jet Boat Race page on Facebook. This year’s races are brought to you by Outlaw Eagle and Tidy Trucking.
2015 World Jet Boat Championship Schedule:
July 15 - Welcome Meet & Greet/Banquet (Grovedale, AB)
July 16 - Boat Show (Grovedale, AB)
July 17 - Class 1 River Race (Grande Prairie, AB)
July 18 - Class 1 River Race (Peace River, AB)
July 19 - Class 3 Rapids Race (Peace River, AB)
July 20 - Day Off
July 21 - Class 1 River Race (Taylor, BC)
July 22 - Class 1 River Race (Taylor, BC)
July 23 - Day Off
July 24 - Class 1 River Race (Whitecourt, AB)
July 25 - Class 1 River Race & Awards Banquet (Whtiecourt, AB)