The 13th annual Quake on the Lake promises to be bigger and better than ever, with world-class hydroplane boat racing and a strong lineup of entertainment and activities planned.
This year’s event, which will be held from Friday, July 20 through Sunday, July 22, will serve as the first American Power Boat Association (APBA) World Championship series event ever held in Michigan.
The races will be held on Waterford and White Lake townships’ Pontiac Lake at the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, located near M-59 (Highland Road) and Williams Lake Road.
Last year, Quake on the Lake served as an APBA National Inboard Hydroplane Championship Series event, marking the first such event in Michigan in 42 years.
In 2009, Quake on the Lake hosted the APBA Eastern Divisional Championships.
“It’s an awesome accolade that the APBA has selected us for the World Championships,” said Quake on the Lake Board of Directors Chairman Dale Hampshire. “It has a great history the last 12 years. Not only have we hosted the Eastern Divisionals and the nationals in the past with great success, but in the last 12 years (Quake on the Lake racers have) set 17 world records. And I think the world records and the way we run the event and the course itself says everything about why the APBA chose the Quake to hold the World Championship here.”
Mary Anne Wilson, Quake on the Lake race chairperson, said that she believes between 80 and 100 teams will be part of this year’s event, including boats from Canada, parts of the East Coast and even states like California, Louisiana, Washington, and Colorado.
“The reason they show up is because, like any other race team, they have a budget and they want to get to the races that will provide them the greatest point structures for their season and also to get them in the record books,” Hampshire said. “And when you’ve got a course that’s considered one of the fastest 1-mile courses in North America, that’s obviously where the racers want to go. They want to be the fastest on the water.”
White Lake Township Supervisor Greg Baroni called Quake on the Lake “an exciting time for everyone in the area.”
“The (residents and visitors) love the event,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of things to do. We hope a lot of the folks will enjoy our restaurants and our great shopping around the area.”
Waterford Township Supervisor Carl Soden said Quake on the Lake has always been appealing to him and that it brings a multitude of people to the township.
“I go every year,” Solden said. “I enjoy talking to the people and (boat) drivers, especially from out of state. It’s a great event and it’s fun for children and families in a great location.”
All net proceeds from Quake on the Lake will benefit a charity founded by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, The Rainbow Connection, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.
In addition, a sixth-grade student from Pontiac named Terryon, nicknamed “TJ,” will be this year’s Rainbow Connection beneficiary for Quake on the Lake after being diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in February.
Since then, he has been receiving treatment for the disease. His wish is to go to Walt Disney World in Florida.
“We’ve given money to the Salvation Army, military K-9 groups around the world, Jaycee’s, the Lions Club, and local high school sports,” Hampshire said. “We always end up giving money to three or four different groups every year.”
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
In addition to the exciting racing that will be taking place, this year’s Quake on the Lake will have a “Made in Michigan” theme, from the food and beer served to the the music being performed.
This year’s entertainment headliners will be Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, who will perform a concert on Friday, July 20 at 8 p.m.
The tentative entertainment lineup for July 20 is:
• Shotgun Willie, 6 p.m.; and
• Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, 8 p.m.;
The tentative Saturday, July 21 entertainment lineup is:
• Good Tymes, 4:30 p.m.;
• Shotgun Willie, 6 p.m.; and
• Thirsty Perch, 8 p.m.
Music is also scheduled for Sunday, July 22, but the lineup and schedule was yet to be released as of press time on Monday, July 9.
For those that want to take a break from watching the boats fly across the lake, the Family Fun Zone will give children a chance to climb a rock climbing wall, come down slides and jump around on bouncers, in addition to getting their faces painted.
There will also be vehicle and ski boat displays, as well as high-performance race cars and a silent auction.
In addition, the Detroit Pistons Year-Round Hoops Truck is also expected to be at Quake on the Lake with basketball activities, while the Flaming Pistons Car Club will showcase classic cars and hot rods.
Hampshire said he expects about 18 vendors will be at Quake on the Lake to sell food and concessions, including hot dogs, barbeque favorites, and ice cream. About 15 more display vendors are also expected to attend, including some of the event’s sponsors.
There will be a Michigan beer tent serving brews including Kid Rock’s American Badass Lager; Diabolical IPA and Black Eye IPA from Traverse City; Lighthouse Amber from Cheboygan; and Saugatuck Blonde from Saugatuck.
Also being served at Quake on the Lake will be Towne Club soda and Absopure water from Detroit, and Great Lakes Chips from Traverse City.
The Pontiac Lake course is recognized as the fastest 1-mile course in North America; 17 world speed records have been broken in 10 classes of inboard hydroplane races held during past Quake on the Lake events.
“It’s got a natural barrier around the northwest corner of the water, which keeps the wind down and the wind is what creates problems for hydroplane racing,” Hampshire said. “The racers know this is a very flat race course for them vs. the Detroit River or something like that. I’ve heard the racers coin the lake the ‘Fastest Glass in North America,’ meaning it’s the smoothest. They’re not afraid to push their boats to the limit.”
Fans who attend will witness hydroplane racing from classes that will run from 90 mph to those that approach 175 mph in the straightaways.
Kevin McGregor of West Bloomfield Township will be participating in the Vintage exhibition with his red 7-liter vintage boat, Miss Lu Lu. He has participated in every Quake on the Lake event since 2007 and he said his boat can reach up to 110 mph.
“I basically enjoy the ability to run my vintage boat in an exhibition format on a competitive course, along with the entertainment, the bands, the concessions, and the family atmosphere, and they can have fun, as well, when I’m not in the boat,” McGregor said.
His brother, Bryan, is a White Lake Township resident who also races a 6-liter vintage boat.
Becky Wilson, a 2007 APBA Rookie of the Year and race chairperson Mary Anne Wilson’s daughter, will also race in the 1.5-litre class in her boat, Miss Circus Circus. This will be her fifth Quake on the Lake.
“The Rainbow Connection makes it special,” Becky Wilson said. “I’m very proud to race for that organization and raise money for wherever they want to do.”
The boat classes competing are as follows:
• 1.5-litre stock: minimum length, 14 feet; class letter T or Y; engine, 900 to 1,600 cc with various modifications, methanol or racing gasoline. These are popular, small and economical boats. The 1.5-litre stock hydroplanes can hit 95 mph. They are typically powered by 4-cylinder 1200 to 1500 cc Toyota engines and use ordinary pump gas.
• 1.5-litre modified: minimum length, 14 feet; class letter T or Y; engine, 900 to 1,600 cc with various modifications, methanol or racing gasoline. These highly-modified, 4-cylinder boats are powered by pump gas or methanol to reach a top speed of 105 mph.
• 2.5-litre stock: minimum length, 14 feet; class letter S; engine, stock 2,000 or 2,300 cc 4-cylinder. The 2.5-litre stock class hydro can exceed 100 mph. Powered by 4-cylinder Ford engines (2,000 cc or 2.3-litre) on pump gas, the 2.5-litre affords very exciting side-by-side racing.
• 2.5-litre modified: minimum length, 16 feet; class letter A; engine, fully modified 2.5-litre displacement. Engines used are Ford, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Datsun, Fiero, Fontana, and others. The 2.5-litre modified racer can hit speeds over 125 mph — creatively. A few restrictions apply. For example, engines must not exceed 166 cl. However, these hydros can use pump gas, methanol or aviation fuel.
• 5-litre: minimum length, 16 feet; class letter E; engine, 305 cubic-inch stock Chevrolet or Ford V-8 2, BBI, carb, pump gas. Ford, Plymouth and Chevrolet stock V-8 engines power the 5-litre stock hydroplanes to speeds of 115 mph.
• National Modified: minimum length, 19 feet; class letter NM; engines, up to 368 cubic inches allowed, various modifications, methanol or racing gas. The National Modified hydro offers speeds of 140 mph to the serious competitor. Many engine combinations are possible, from 4-cylinder to 350 ci V-8s.
• Grand National: minimum length, 20 feet; class letter GNH; engine, V-8, various modifications up to 468 cubic inches, racing gas. The Grand Nationals are one of the largest and fastest inboard classes. With speeds of 150 mph and 70-foot roostertails, these 20-plus-foot boats are powered by big-block Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac or Oldsmobile engines.
• Grand Prix: Minimum length, 24 feet; class letter, GP; engine, big-block Chevy or Chrysler Hemi. At 170 mph and 510 ci, the Grand Prix hydroplanes are the fastest automotive engine-powered class in the world.
• Jersey Skiffs: V-bottom two-person boats with unique design.
• Vintage: Antique boats, 30-years-old and older that vary in class.
The event schedule for July 20 is as follows:
• Happy Hour Hydroplane Hot Laps, 4 to 6 p.m.
• Live musical entertainment, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The schedule for July 21 is as follows:
• Canadian and U.S. national anthems, 10 a.m.;
• APBA Inboard Hydroplane World Championships qualifying heats, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and
• APBA Inboard Hydroplane World Championships finals, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The schedule for the July 22 hydroplane racing events is as follows:
• Canadian and U.S. national anthems, 10 a.m.;
• APBA Inboard Hydroplane qualifying heats, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
• APBA Inboard Hydroplane finals, 1 to 5 p.m.; and
• Live musical entertainment, 1 to 5 p.m.
The Pontiac Recreation Area will open each day at 9 a.m. Regular admission for adults is $10 while admission for children 5- to 12-years-old is $5 and children 4-years-old and under are admitted free.
Park admission is included with a ticket to the race.
Pit passes for the races are $10 per person. The pit pass allows a person to witness all the “behind-the-scenes” action first-hand, see all the inboard race boats up close, and personally meet all of the race teams.
Attendees can get to the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area by traveling along M-59 and heading north on Williams Lake Road, immediately west of the Oakland County International Airport. Attendees will have to do a U-turn and then turn right at the recreation area entrance on Williams Lake Road.
“The nice thing for us is it brings people and race enthusiasts out to our park so they can see what we have here,” said Tom Bissett, supervisor of the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.
The Pontiac Lake Recreation Area also has a vast area where spectators can camp out for $18 per site, per night.
Lawn chairs and blankets are allowed. However, no alcohol is allowed once inside the Quake on the Lake event grounds, and all coolers will be inspected.
For a complete list of sponsors and other information, visit www.quakeonthelake.org.