(Detroit, Mich.) - The American Power Boat Association (APBA) and the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association (UHRA) today announced the transfer of ownership of the UHRA from the APBA to HYDRO-PROP, Inc., a new company headed by chairman and...
(Detroit, Mich.) - The American Power Boat Association (APBA) and the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association (UHRA) today announced the transfer of ownership of the UHRA from the APBA to HYDRO-PROP, Inc., a new company headed by chairman and long-time unlimited hydroplane team owner Bernie Little and veteran marine executive Gary Garbrecht.
The transfer was approved by the UHRA board of directors at a meeting in Detroit yesterday. The UHRA is in Detroit this weekend for the annual Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup, the premier event of the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series.
During the transition, Garbrecht and Mike Jones, president of the APBA, will run the day-to-day operations. Garbrecht, who led successful motorsports programs for Mercury Marine and Outboard Marine for many years and most recently created and owns the PROP Formula One Tour, will serve as president. Garbrecht, 57, currently resides in Winter Haven, Fla.
"Unlimited hydroplane racing has great tradition and great fans," said Garbrecht. "All you have to do is look at the event in Detroit this weekend. The Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup is a major sporting event with a major sponsor, major media coverage and major fan attendance. And we have the same success in Seattle and San Diego. We need to build on those successes.
"We have a lot of ideas on how to do that and move this sport forward," continued Garbrecht. "I wouldn't be investing my time and my money if I didn't believe in my heart that this was a great opportunity. And I am sure that Bernie feels the same way."
"We have a responsibility to the fans, race promoters, team owners and sponsors to do everything we can to move the sport forward," said Little. "I've been in boat racing a long time and I have known Gary Garbrecht a long time. I have full confidence that he will do a great job in moving this sport that I have come to love to a much higher level. Gary has my full support."
One of the plans that HYDRO-PROP will initiate is combining unlimited hydroplane events with PROP Formula One Tour events beginning at the final race of the 2000 season in September in San Diego. Garbrecht plans to combine the two series at all of the 2001 events.
"We are going to combine the biggest, fastest racing boats in the world (unlimited hydroplanes) with the most versatile, fastest accelerating and fastest turning boats in the world (PROP F1 boats) in order to give our fans more entertainment and value," added Garbrecht. "The ability to do this is just one of the values that HYDRO-PROP brings to unlimited hydroplane racing."
The APBA is the sanctioning authority for powerboat racing in the United States. The UHRA is the arm of the APBA responsible for unlimited hydroplane races. Unlimited hydroplanes are nearly 30 feet long, are powered by Vietnam-era helicopter engines that produce 3,000 horsepower and attain a top speed of more than 200 mph.
"The transfer of ownership of the UHRA to HYDRO-PROP is similar to the one we did earlier this year with the Offshore Racing Commission," said Mike Jones, president of the APBA. "We believe that it is in the best interest of unlimited boat racing to free the company up from an owner-managed series to a pure business. As a business, the tremendous capital investment that is required to run a national race series can be justified and made. I am tremendously optimistic about Gary Garbrecht's leadership and the future of unlimited racing."
The already-scheduled UHRA events in Tri-Cities, Wash. (July 28-30); Seattle (Aug. 4-6); and San Diego (Sept. 15-17) will be run as planned.