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Powerboat racing returns to the Miami Marine Stadium

John Moore on 6th February 2018

April will see the Miami Marine Stadium open its doors to P1 SuperStock powerboat racing and P1 AquaX jet ski action for the first time since its closure in 1992.

Built in 1963 and located at Virginia Key, an island to the south of Downtown Miami, it was the first purpose built powerboat stadium in the United States.

The land was donated for water sports by the City of Miami and was designed by Cuban architect Hilario Candela. Named the Ralph Munroe Marine Stadium after the American yacht designer who resided in Dade County, construction cost $2 million – the equivalent of $16 million in today’s world.

Whilst the stadium has played host to the likes of the Miami Rowing Club since 1979 and the Miami Boat Show in more recent years, it was built with powerboat racing in mind and staged many world class races in the three decades before its closure.

On the opening day James Tapp, a speed boat racer, was killed but that didn’t stop the crowds from flooding to the 6,566-seater stadium with events attracting the likes of Mitch Miller, Sammy Davis Jr. and US President Richard Nixon.

It has also been used for boxing matches and concerts, with Jimmy Buffet’s raucous 1985 concert perhaps the most memorable, whilst Queen, The Beach Boys, Steppenwolf, Dave Brubeck, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Miami Philharmonic and Ray Charles also played at the venue.

The stadium hasn’t seen racing since 1992 when it was battered by Hurricane Andrew, a category five hurricane that caused $27.3 billion of damage across the region and killed 65 people, and then deemed unsafe by the Miami-Dade County.

Friends of Miami Marine Stadium was set up in 2008 with the aim of restoring the stadium to its former glory.

Whilst the stadium grandstand is yet to be reopened, P1 has agreed a deal with the City of Miami to bring powerboat and jet ski racing back to the stadium for the first time in over 25 years, with USA powerboat racing series P1 SuperStock and the P1 AquaX jet ski championship both set to open their 2018 seasons at the iconic venue on April 21/22.

Reaching speeds in excess of 70mph, the return of powerboat and jet ski racing to the Miami Marine Stadium is sure to bring back happy memories for many Miami residents whilst also capturing the imagination of a whole new audience who have never seen such a spectacle on Miami waters before.

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