Bright sun, gentle winds and blue skies greeted hundreds of people lining the sandy beaches in La Porte this weekend as the annual Maple City Grand Prix came to a close.
After a delay of race on Saturday due to rough water caused by higher-than-usual winds coming across Stone Lake, it was game on for Sunday, with a full day of exciting powerboat racing set to thrill everyone who came out to enjoy the day.
La Porte native and current Indianapolis resident Jeff Ware says he has been coming to the Maple City Grand Prix. every year since it began, and pulls no punches about how he feels about the event.
“I think this is the best thing La Porte has ever done. We skipped it yesterday, because we heard that they weren’t able to race, but we’re here today,” said Ware. “It’s exciting… it’s a lot of fun to watch. My girlfriend is here with me, and her kids even came down from Niles, Illinois to see the race. We just make it a family day.”
Though the weather was perfect for powerboat racing, the day’s heats did not go off completely without a hitch, with crowds watching as powerboats flipped during both the first and second heats of the day, but that wasn’t enough to stop the action. Powerboat driver Terry Rinker of the number 10 boat for Team Rinker took second place in the first qualifying of the day, and first place in the second qualifying.
“We did what we needed to do. Coming from the back, we had a lot of boats to pass and had to keep boats from passing me, but we did the job and made it through all the carnage of the first two starts to this qualifier and finished up with a win, so we’ll see where we end up overall after the thirty lap final,” said Rinker.
Local radio station AM1060 WHFB was once more on scene to provide racing updates, music, entertainment and to recognize some of the many sponsors who made the event possible, including General Insurance Services, Blue Chip Casino, South Shore Line, Indiana Beverage and many, many more.
Bill and Cheryl Knuth of Savanna, Illinois enjoyed the race from the shade of a tent they had set up next to the radio booth. “This is our second year here,” said Bill. “We come here for the race. We love La Porte, especially the Blue Heron Inn - it’s a wonderful place. Wonderful food, great accommodations, terrific location. We love it there.”
Cheryl agreed saying, “We hope they have this race next year, so we can come back and visit La Porte again.”