After being cancelled last year, the Bradenton Area River Regatta marked its seventh year on the Manatee River.
We missed it as much as everyone here. It is wonderful to be back. The regatta kicks off the powerboat racing season in the U.S. and draws in participants from around the country to come to Manatee County to compete.
Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown said
What’s happening in this community with the partners and all the collaboration is fun to see. We’re going to grow on that — it’s going to the best regatta we’ve had.
To have it here for the opening of the 2022 season is good. I mean it’s the first one built by Paul Trolian and we’re working out kinks here and there. We haven’t even really scratched the surface on set up yet, so this is more a testing session for us I would say, getting it ready for the start of the NGKF1 series at the end of April. I’m not going to push it to the limits here, after all this is only the second time I’ve sat in the boat.
It’s an incredible boat and drives great. I really have no complaints just have to find the right propellers for it. I’m not a stranger to composite hulls after running a Hoffman designed one for quite some time but this is a much more updated full composite one. To start with it’s got crash boxes on it and various safety things built into the boat which is one of the reasons I wanted to get it.
Performance wise, it handles well in the corners and eats anything I put in front of it, plus the ability to set up the boat, position the pedals and the seat makes me feel extremely comfortable, very at home in the boat which allows you to drive hard with one less thing to think about.
As the drivers sped away from the start pontoon Mark Welch from Minnesota was left stranded on the dock and claimed the honour of being first back to the dry pits.
Although Terry Ricker had secured the all-important pole position it would be Chris Rinker that would come out ahead of the pack after the commitment buoy. Following him through the turn would be Ashton Rinker but by the third lap he had been caught and passed by his father Terry.
Heading back to the dock by now was the Bradenton resident Mike Quindazzi after he had taken out a turn mark, something he’s getting familiar with. Meanwhile, out in front in the bright yellow Moore hull was Chris Rinker but by now he had started to encounter back markers around the one-kilometre course.
Terry Rinker now had closed the gap and was just looking for the leader to make a slight error. With just two laps remaining that precisely what happened, and Terry surged into the lead. Just as the lead was changing hands Bobby Briggs took out the last buoy at turn four which prompted the drivers to convert the four-pin course to a three pin one.
Now the crowds lining the bridge running alongside the front straight could see Ashton Rinker closing in on Chris for second place but with not enough laps remaining he was unable to catch him so the APBA Champion would have to settle for third.
Formula 200 Final Result
1 – Terry Rinker, 15:26.66 (30 laps)
2 – Chris Rinker, 15:43.52
3 – Ashton Rinker, 15:47.39
4 – Tyler Welch, 15 :33.47 (29 laps)
5 – Jimmy Kerr, 15:36.56
6 – Fred Durr, 15:40.23
7 – Bobby Briggs, 15 :41.85 (26 laps) **
8 – Jeff Reno, (5 laps)
9 – Mike Quindazzi, (4 laps) **
10 – Richard Young, (3 laps)
11 – Mark Welch, (0 laps)
**Quindazzi and Briggs were given 1-lap penalties for destroying turn buoys.
Just before the start of SST-45 Qualifying session Randy Partch and Ricky Sober from the Liquid Revolutions Racing Team, who reside just forty-five minutes away from the dry pits said
Well, we’ve done a bunch of work this winter. Randy’s building a brand-new boat that unfortunately he didn’t get to debut this weekend but he’s close. We are fortunate that RJ West has really helped us out a lot with it. It’s the second year for my boat and we found some secrets at the very end of the year last year that will hopefully help us out a bunch this year. It felt good out there in the testing run this morning but we all know that in this formula it can get a little dicey in the corners, but we are keen to keep the silverware here in the great state of Florida.
In the SST-45 Final JW Nelson from Atlanta, Georgia looked to heading for victory in this ‘Formula Lite’ class, but his celebrations were cut short with just one lap to go. He had led the five-boat field from the green flag and by the half race distance mark had pulled out a half lap lead. With just one lap remaining a kill switch issue stopped him in his tracks which allowed Mike Harris from Leonardtown, Maryland through to first place followed by the two Port Charlotte residence Partch and Sober into second and third.
Liquid Revolutions Racing Team said
What a wild ride for our team today. Randy with running issue and Ricky with a hole in his boat in the first heat race and neither of them were able to make the second heat race. Fortunately, both were able to make repairs to make it out for the final and then to finish second and third was amazing.
Results SST 45 Final
1 Mike Harris, 5:44.23 (10 laps)
2 Randy Partch, 5:45.29
3 Ricky Sober, 5:50.89
4 JW Nelson, 5:02.41 (nine laps)
Jason Bonnano, DNS