Hydroplane racing splashes through Long Sault

Image of Shawna O'Neill
By Shawna O'Neill
Hydroplane racing splashes through Long Sault
Hydroplanes coming into the race pit during the competition (Shawna O'Neill/Seaway News photo).

LONG SAULT, Ontario – With an expectant turnout of thousands, the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) swam through Long Sault on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 for its tenth year of local competition.

Spectators got comfortable along the shore of Mille Roches Beach, watching the spectacle and taking in the loud whirring of the planes skidding up to 180 km/h along the water. No entrance fee to the general grounds was required and the Optimist Club of Cornwall provided food and beverage options, live entertainment and inflatable attractions for children, drawing several attendees to the event for the first time.

“We have such an amazing team at the Optimist Club. If you would have come here yesterday, this was just an empty field. Then they get together and wham, here everything is,” said Optimist Club President Terry Muir, who was proud of the quick work from all of his volunteers. Muir is also looking forward to hosting a series of events this summer, including Cornwall Ribfest and Cornwall Canada Day celebrations.

HRL competitions are held in Upper U.S. States, Ontario and Quebec each year according to HRL President Didier Bernard Seguin and General Manager Michel Poirier.

“The sport is like a Nascar race on the water,” said Poirier. “So far, it’s an unknown sport, except for in some regions.”

Poirier said that competitors will face off on Sunday in the finals for cash prizes and trophies. Each participant must race along a mile long track. Poirier explained that many safety precautions are taken, including drivers using oxygen in case of an accident and having direct correspondence with a teammate on the shore.

As of Saturday afternoon there had been one accident involving a hydroplane, with no reported injuries.

To find out more about HRL, visit their website here.

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