Day of Racing Caps off Fast, Fun, Maple City Grand Prix Weekend

Day of Racing Caps off Fast, Fun, Maple City Grand Prix Weekend

You know it is going to be a good day when you hear Ric Federighi’s voice booming over a loudspeaker. Everyone from one side of the Stone Lake beach to the tree sheltered opposite end heard what they were all waiting for: the final day of the Maple City Grand Prix was about to begin.

LaPorte was the second stop on the US F1 Powerboat Tour circuit for the 2016 schedule. Racers competed for points to boost their overall standing in the league.

Click here to see all the photos from the Maple City Grand Prix!

The weekend long race series is one of LaPorte’s most anticipated events every year.

“We brought a group of community representatives together to help with recruiting volunteers and increasing sponsorships,” said Kim Ramsey, the Assistant Development Director of the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce and an organizer of the annual Grand Prix, “We wanted to really just kind of have a sense of collaboration in the community because it’s a great event for the city of La porte. It brings a lot of visitors.”

Matt Magnuson, General Manager of La Porte Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, agreed in the town wide benefits of a nationally recognized event. His company sponsors the Grand Prix by providing the trucks that put the boats in and out of the water.

“It’s a great event for La Porte, it drives a lot of attention to the city and promotes a lot of business within. This is our third year here. Plus we enjoy doing the parade, pulling the boats. They grab all of our trucks and drive down lincolnway- that’s pretty cool.”

“I absolutely love the race and I love what it brings to the area,” added Federighi. “Not only does it bring family and friends out here but all these vendors get together and we’re all raising funds and awareness for the Grand Prix itself. I love crowds, I love people, I love to be live and local, and I’m all about this event. I think it’s a win win for all of us in media, in web, in newspaper, because this is the kind of stuff that keeps our local economy churning.”

The racers spent most of the day in the water, running different heats in preparation for the final 30 lap race that would determine the weekend’s winner.

They got off to a rough start. Two of the first three laps of heat one were cut short by black flags, meaning a driver had knocked loose a floating track marker and every boat had to stop and wait for the track to be repaired.

Not everyone had a bad day though. Jason Nelson placed first in the Lights division, followed by Jose Mendana Jr and Steve Lee.

In the Formula 1 division Chris Fairchild came in third for the third year in a row. Terry Ringer took second. Tim Seehold, a man whose family has been in racing for 70 years, will be retiring at the end of the 2016 season. He commemorated his final Stone Lake race by coming in first. “It’s a driver’s course, always, here,” he said, after accepting a gold cup trophy. “No matter what, the wind always seems to kick up in the final. It makes it very interesting, that and with the depth of the competition here. We’re always pushing each other so it makes us all three better.”

Mayor Blair Milo spoke a few words to the winners and their crowd of spectators. “It’s great to have everyone back. We love having all the race teams come and join us. Hopefully everyone has had as much fun as we did.”

The City of La Porte was already eager to have the US F1 Powerboat Tour return for the fifth year in 2017.