PORT ANGELES — The cooler the weather, the faster the sprint boats can go.
“They don’t have to worry about over-heating,” said Melodie Pozgay, volunteer operations manager for the American Sprint Boat finals at Extreme Sports Park on Saturday.
“It’s going to be awesome,” she said.
Gates will open at 8:30 a.m. Races will begin at 10 a.m. The finals could be as late as 4 p.m. or as early as soon after 2 p.m., Pozgay said.
The Beer Garden will offer entertainment until 7 p.m.
Tickets to the finals at the park at 2917 W. Egewood Drive in Port Angeles are $15 for children 6 to 15, $20 for seniors and military, and $25 for adult 16 and older.
Those who purchase them ahead of time online at www.extremesportspark.net/ will pay a small service fee but won’t have to wait in line.
All tickets include parking and pit passes.
Camping, which opened at noon Thursday, is $30 for the weekend.
This is the final race of the national 2016 American Sprint Boat Pro Racing Series.
Drivers will punch their jet-powered boats from zero to as high as 90 mph in a matter of seconds on a mile-long water-filled sprint boat track, negotiating turns where they typically experience 7 to 9 Gs, Pozgay said.
Three classes will compete: modified, which have engines of 350 cubic inches; 40os and unlimited.
“There are only two points separating first and second in the 400 class, and only 12 points separating first and third, so anything can happen,” Pozgay said.
“It’s going to be really good racing on Saturday.”
Spectators don’t have to simply sit on the bleachers or in their lawn chairs — which are recommended for the as-yet grass-less knoll. They can meet the racers face-to-face at a free pre-race gathering from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. today.
At the Sprint Boat Show and Shine at Fanaticus Sports Grill, 1026 E. First St., fans can meet the racers and see the boats.
“All the teams are right there,” Pozgay said. “They are always very receptive to meeting people but they have more time then than during the race and can give one-on-one attention.”
The boats will be on view because this is where the pre-race inspection is done.
Racers also will receive the course layout for the next day’s race. It’s only then that they know what the series of turns, called a rotation, will be.
This means the navigators and drivers have less than 24 hours to memorize where and when to signal the driver to turn on the twisting and turning channeled race course.
Any missed corner results in a disqualification — placing a high level of importance on non-verbal hand-signal communication between navigator and driver.
A rotation is generally made up of between 27 and 30 turns, Pozgay said.
“As they learn the track, they go faster and faster,” she added.
Winners will receive an unspecified amount of prize money, she said.
For those who can’t make it to the finals, will air live on the Internet via Livestream at https://livestream.com/watch/browse/sports/
Viewers will need to create a Livestream account or login with a Facebook account.
The race also will be taped by MAVTV, a network focusing on motorsports from the grassroots to the extreme.
MAVTV is available on DirecTV, but not Wave Broadband locally.
For more information, visit www.extremesportspark.net/.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman contributed to this story.