Offshore Racing Returning to OC

OCEAN CITY- The grand spectacle and sheer energy of offshore powerboat racing returns to the resort next month with the first in a summer-long series of events planned in Ocean City.

Produced by OPA Offshore Racing, the Bull on the Beach Offshore Grand Prix is scheduled to return to the resort for the weekend of May 11-13, with the actual races set for Sunday, May 13. Sponsored by namesake Bull on the Beach, race headquarters and a race village will be based this year at the parking lot of the Worcester County public boat ramp near the commercial harbor in West Ocean City.

Bull on the Beach owner Phil Houck said this week he anticipates a large field of competitors for the Ocean City race in May, which is the first of seven in the summer-long series. After Ocean City, the tour includes stops in Atlantic City, Michigan, New York and back to Maryland in September with the last race in Solomons. The tour culminates with the World Offshore Championships in Jupiter, Fla. in October.

As usual, Houck and the Bull on the Beach team will have its own entry in the summer-long offshore racing series as well as hosting many of the events associated with the race in Ocean City in May. Last year, the Bull on the Beach team captured the national championship in the 300 Class and Houck hopes to continue the team’s run of success.

Houck has been involved in producing and sponsoring offshore powerboat racing in Ocean City for several years dating back to the first event in the resort in 1992. Offshore powerboat races were held in Ocean City for much of the 1990s before missing a few years, but the circuit has returned recently.

The course for the Ocean City race in May will run from 4th Street to 34th Street and will draw thousands of powerboat racing enthusiasts. Houck said this year, with the blessing of the Ocean City Mayor and Council, the course will run closer to the beach, providing better views for fans on land. In the past, one gripe about the Ocean City tour stop was the course was so far off the beach that fans couldn’t enjoy the action.

Boats from all over the country will start arriving in the resort area on Friday, May 11 with headquarters set up at the West Ocean City public boat ramp parking lot. The first day’s events will culminate with a meet the racers party at nearby Crab Alley. On Saturday, the boats will be on display at the race village along with vendors and other activities. On Sunday, May 13, the action offshore gets underway with the first of two races scheduled for noon and a second race set for 2 p.m.