Hydro racing returns to Onondaga Lake
Onondaga Lake will again be the scene of boat racing this year. YNN's Bill Carey has more on the tradition that stretches back for decades.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For years, crowds flocked to the shores of Onondaga Lake to watch as rowers from a host of colleges competed in the International Rowing Regatta. But, the IRA soon moved on to another locale. Replacing the oars were high powered engines as hydroplanes found a home on the lake.
Vintage hydro racer Owner Bill Fisk said, "It's always been a great race on this lake because very seldom do you have wind problems here. So, guys can come here and tow eight to 10 hours to get here and know they're going to race on the weekend, rather than sit and watch the wind blow.
For a time, though, it appeared hydro racing, too, was on the way out. The year 2010 was the last of those events.
But now, there is word the racers are coming back. The American-Canadian Hydroplane Association says it is bringing the races back.
Onondaga County Parks Commissioner William Lansley said, "Father's Day weekend, June 16-17, we're going to have these racers, all the way from the Grand Prix of the large boats, you see behind me, down to the vintage racers and all classes in between."
The goal for the county is to draw thousands to Onondaga Lake Park. There will be the races, along with a shopping village, musical concerts and food. The races themselves will be staged by the same group that draws close to 100,000 people to an annual event in Quebec, Canada.
Michel Poirer of the American-Canadian Hydroplane Association said, "It's like a NASCAR show. It's a huge show, and we want to bring our knowledge, our experience here in Syracuse, and I'm sure we will have a great, great, great event."
Bill Fisk's vintage boat, the Irishman, will be there. Fisk said he can't wait to come back.
"The very first hydro race I came to was right here in Syracuse in the early 80s, when they ran the unlimiteds here," Fisk said. "It was a great show, and all the guys who are still involved on the unlimited circuit would like to someday come back here to Syracuse."
On June 16th, that return begins.