Guests watch in awe and take photos as some of the larger, faster PX class boats are lowered into the Lake of the Ozarks by a crane before taking to the OSS-sanctioned event’s on-water course Saturday. Photo by S Edmonson
For the first time, hundreds of spectators at the inaugural Lake Race 2013 were able to view the Offshore Super Series (OSS)-sanctioned national powerboat race while standing on a closed Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark Saturday.
After opening ceremonies just before noon on Saturday, spectators were able to see the first Pontoon Boat Exhibition Race, sponsored by Playcraft Pontoon. Then, three separate boat divisions followed, including the Performance PX class boats that reach up to 150 miles per hour. All the boats traversed the same rectangular-shaped, OSS-approved on-water race course, which spans from the 0 to 4 mile marker of the main channel.
In February, the Lake Race 2013 received momentous support from two title sponsors — Mountain Dew and Formula Boats. The tremendous support from the community also helped bring an OSS-sanctioned event to heightened new levels since its initial run from 2007-2009.
Lake Race 2013 sets the stage for one the most accessible, entertaining and exciting avenues to view top powerboat racing teams from around the globe traverse an on-water course and vie for the top title.
“The Offshore Super Series (OSS) is looking at this event to be a prototype for other races in the U.S. Their main focus is on the Lake Race this year,” said Manny Haley, Lake Race 2013 media relations coordinator. “They want to utilize the way we are organizing it, the way the course is put together and all the components to build an event, for example in Mississippi, Virginia, Florida or California. It will be used as a template.”
“That is what is exciting about this event; it is a different style of racing. At the same time, it’s an event that we can put on, tweak a bit and grow it larger and larger each year,” he added.
For those wanting to attend Lake Race 2013 today on the Bagnell Dam Strip area and watching the race live, it is best to know where to go, how to get there and all of the free public viewing areas, parking and activity availability for spectators to enjoy.
Today, both Vendor and Race Villages are open to guests. The National Anthem will be held at 11:45 a.m. Races for the Shady Gators/Backwater Jacks Pro-Am Classes will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the Performance Boats Center Super V Lite Class, Redhead Yacht Club Outboard Cat Class and Mountain Dew/Formula Boats PX Class starting 2 p.m. The awards ceremony will be held at Beavers at the Dam Bar and Grill following the races approximately at 5 p.m.
There are several public viewing areas by land, the first being at Bagnell Dam. According to the Lake Race 2013 committee, Bagnell Dam will be closed to vehicle traffic through Monday morning. Barricades may be moved down from station road towards the dam for late evening hours but this area will be closed to through traffic for the entire weekend. No backpacks are allowed on Bagnell Dam at any time.
The road closure at Willmore lodge will be from 10 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. today. Foot traffic during the dam closure will not be allowed on the Lakeland side of the dam and will be strictly enforced.
There are also public viewing areas at event host site Beaver’s at the Dam on Bagnell Dam Strip, Iguana Watersports on Bagnell Dam Strip, off Deepwater Drive in Lake Ozark and at additional Bagnell Dam Strip sidewalk areas and participating restaurants such as Lucky’s Bar & Grill.
There are also two VIP areas for Lake Race 2013. One is located at Iguana Watersports, also where the Vendor Village is located. The second is at Willmore Lodge and comes with parking, food and cash bar.
For those watching the race by boat, the OSS staff will buoy off a perimeter of the actual racecourse, which spans from the 1 to about 4 mile markers. Boats can anchor off near coves and the area will be patrol to ensure both the boating spectator and racer safety.
There are three main parking areas for spectators to use. The first is at Christ the King Lutheran Church, which is located on Bagnell Dam Strip next to McDonald’s. The second is Lake Ozark Christian Church, which is at the corner of Bagnell Dam Boulevard and Flynn Road, also on Bagnell Dam Strip. For pick up and drop off to the Deepwater Drive public viewing area shuttle service, spectators should meet at the corner of Bagnell Dam Boulevard and Ballenger Drive on the Strip. The third parking area is located at The Dam Bait Shop below Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Drivers can take Valley Road off Bagnell Dam Boulevard where it meets with Legion Road and ends at The Dam Bait Shop to access the third parking area.
Six to eight shuttles will be available for spectators and Lake Race 2013 visitors to travel to viewing areas, the Vendor and Race Villages, and other points of interest for the event.