Atlantic City will experience the sights and sounds of 40- to-50-foot powerboats going 150 mph or faster in the ocean on June 23.
The Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix will be held on a six-mile course not far off the beach. The start-finish line will be at Missouri Avenue, and the Frank S. Farley State Marina at Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino will be the race headquarters.
"It'll be exciting to watch, and it's free," race chairman Dave Patnaude, 43, of Toms River, said Sunday. "We changed up the course to make it spectator-friendly. It won't go far out into the ocean."
Patnaude and Tom Pohlman, the vice president and general manager of Golden Nugget, talked about holding the event. They received the endorsement of the Atlantic City Alliance, a marketing coalition that promotes tourism in the city.
"It brings a big summer weekend to Atlantic City before the Fourth of July," Patnaude said. "We know that the area towns were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but we want to support the Jersey Shore and show everybody that Atlantic City is alive and well."
Patnaude, who is the director of the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association, wanted to hold the event last year but couldn't secure the funding.
The Atlantic City Offshore Grand Prix's smaller classes will start at noon on June 23, a Sunday, and the bigger boats, including the Extreme (formerly Open class), will race at 2 p.m.
One of the featured boats will be Miss GEICO, from Jupiter, Fla., which will be piloted by Marc Granet with throttle man Scott Begovich, a native of Bricktown. Miss GEICO, which is 50 feet long, races in the Extreme class.
An earlier version of Miss GEICO won six world championships, but the boat sank in Sarasota, Fla., last year. The new version of the boat will debut soon.
Gary Goodell, 60, of Jupiter, Fla., is one of Miss GEICO's owners. Goodell grew up in Berkeley Heights in Union County and spent summers on Long Beach Island.
"We're excited about coming to Atlantic City, that's for sure," said Goodell, 60. "It should be a lot of fun. Our new boat is capable of going over 200 mph. We'll be testing it in the next 30 days."
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