This will mark the second consecutive year the Air National Guard has sponsored the racing series. Adding depth to the wildly popular hydroplane races, the event will feature flyovers by the Air National Guard and air show demonstrations by aerialist John Klatt.
The Air Guard will be a partner with H1 Unlimited in the seven-race North American series, which begins in Madison, Ind. in July.
Jeff Thomas, head of the Bayfair Thunderboat Committee, met the news with assurances that the event — which has experienced uncertainty in the past — has sure footing.
“It helps us get everything in place,” Thomas said of the early sponsorship announcement. “It enables us to do a much better job of it ... for an even better event. It makes it easier to sell.”
He also said there is a good chance of getting the drag boats back. Committee members are looking for additional racing to fill the Friday and Saturday activities, he said.
“Regarding the drag boats, I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. “But we’ll try to mix it up a bit, maybe bring in different kinds of boats.”
H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole and Capt. Rondal Perry, division chief of marketing and recruiting resources for the Air National Guard, jointly made the announcement to team owners and drivers during the racing body’s organizational meetings and annual banquet in Las Vegas.
“We are honored and excited to welcome the Air National Guard as the sponsor of our 2011 H1 Unlimited series,” Cole said. “It is an opportunity for us to showcase all aspects of our sport and produce the marketing, recruiting and ROI results that are key to the Air National Guard’s objectives. We are proud to engage with our new partner and look forward to a spectacular Air National Guard Championship Series.”
Following the first race in Madison, the series will continue on to the prestigious Gold Cup in Detroit July 8-10 and races in Tri-Cities, Wash. also in July, before moving to Seattle in August and then to San Diego. Another event will be added to the schedule in coming weeks.
The hydroplane series will be televised on the Versus Network and streamed live online at www.H1unlimited.com.
H1 Unlimited racing features the fastest race boats on the water with a turbine-powered hydroplane reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour. Drivers are subjected to G-forces of up to six Gs in turns.
For more information, visit www.sandiegobayfair.org.