Darin Cage, who drives the boat Overdraft 185, has already been out on the Peace River since he arrived, and will be previewing the rest of the course later today.
“This is the first time the race’s been on, so we’ve never raced this,” he explains. “We’re going to go pre-run it and check it out. You want to set up your race line – the shortest line from point to point so you cut off the least amount of river there is – but also you don’t want to be hitting any rocks.”
Cage, who’s from the Beaverlodge area, competes in the CX Class, in which all the boats run the same horsepower leading to really close competition.
“A lot of our races, over 200 miles we race and it’ll be within 30 or less between first and second,” he boasts. “It’s really tight.”
Fast and loud are the best two words to describe the jet boats, which will be reaching speeds of up to 140 miles an hour. Over the two days they will race 200 miles, heading 30 miles up the Pine River and back in the morning as well as laps of the circuit near Peace Island Park both Saturday and Sunday. There will be winners for the best total time, as well as for each leg. Between the six different classes, crowds will no doubt see some close races, as well as a few surprises.
“There’s some boats that are paired up really well, so you never know what you might see,” Cage says, which could mean spinouts or even boats that sink.
A show n’ shine will be held Friday night before race day for the public to check out the boats and meet the drivers from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and everything else gets started at 9 a.m. Saturday.