More than 75,000 spectators and RVers are expected to attend the three-day event on East Vacation Island and Fiesta Island to watch the world’s fastest boats and celebrate the end of summer.
“For more than 50 years, Bayfair has brought families and friends together on beautiful Mission Bay,” said Bob Davies, race director San Diego Bayfair. “Bayfair brings competitors from around the United States and fans from across the globe for a thrilling weekend of racing.”
Bayfair features three days of nonstop boat racing, a kids’ zone and beer gardens to enjoy the festivities on Mission Bay. More than 700 RV spots will take over Mission Bay Park, a rare opportunity to stay overnight in the park.
The main draw once again is H1 Unlimited as the tour wraps up its season in San Diego. U-1 HomeStreet Bank driver Jimmy Shane is chasing his third straight national high points championship and a third consecutive Bill Muncey Cup at Bayfair.
Shane, who is an engineer at Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin in Seattle, has a slim 300-point lead over driver Andrew Tate in the U-9 Jones Racing boat. J. Michael Kelly, who won Bayfair in 2015, trails Shane by nearly 600 points. The final standings could look dramatically different after the HomeStreet Bank Bill Muncey Cup Final Sunday afternoon.
Grand Prix World Supercharged Hydroplanes returns to San Diego and is expected to field eight teams. The piston-powered hydroplanes are a smaller sibling to the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes but still top 150 mph on the water.
“We are excited to bring a competitive field of boats that promise to restore the roar on Mission Bay,” said Sam Cole, who leads the Grand Prix World tour. “We have excellent drivers, many who raced in the Unlimited ranks. Fans will be familiar with their names.”
Proving that age is just a number, 70-year-old grandfather Jerry Hopp will be racing his Happy Go Lucky hydroplane in San Diego. It’s a course he’s familiar with since his days competing against the late Bill Muncey, who pushed for the development of Mission Bay Park and founded San Diego Bayfair.
Rounding out the on-water entertainment will be several classes of amateur racing led by RPM Racing.
Other activities on land include beer gardens, a large vendor area open to the public on East Vacation Island and activities for the kids. San Diego Bayfair also offers RV spaces to rent on Mission Bay, one of the few opportunities to stay overnight in Mission Bay Park. RV packages include four nights and five days, plus tickets to the event.
Testing and qualifying with limited racing takes place on Friday, Sept. 15. Heat races and championship races take place Saturday and Sunday. The HomeStreet Bank Bill Muncey Cup for H1 Unlimited is tentatively set for 4:15 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17.
All of the participating boats will be stationed on East Vacation Island/Ski Beach, the main event site for San Diego Bayfair. All spectators can tour the pit area at no additional charge, allowing fans to get up close and personal with the boats and teams.
“We’re grateful to HomeStreet Bank for returning as the title sponsor and the incredible support from the San Diego Tourism Marketing District,” Davies said. “Bayfair helps showcase San Diego as a world-class tourism destination.”
Single-day tickets start at $25 and a three-day Super Pass is available for $45. Children under age 12 are free. For more information or to purchase advance tickets online, visit www.sandiegobayfair.org.