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Morehead City hosts Crystal Coast Grand Prix over weekend

The 2020 Offshore Powerboat Racing season wrapped up it’s season-opening weekend in Morehead City on Sunday.
The 2020 Offshore Powerboat Racing season wrapped up it’s season-opening weekend in Morehead City on Sunday.(WITN)
Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. (WITN) - The 2020 Offshore Powerboat Racing season wrapped up its season-opening weekend in Morehead City on Sunday.

After a four-month delay to the start of the season because of the pandemic, teams from across the United States competed at this weekend’s Crystal Coast Grand Prix.

“We had great plans and a lot of anticipation for the 2020 season,” said OPA President Ed Smith. “In spite of early cancellations, we’re especially excited to finally return to racing with our season opener in Morehead City. We’ve partnered with local organizer, Jeff McCann, to create a safe event for racers and fans alike.”

The competition was highlighted by the Miss GEICO Racing Team out of Riviera Beach, FL, whose catamaran overturned in the final lap of the Sarasota race back in July of 2019.

The Crystal Coast Grand Prix is the team’s first competition after 13-months of repair and restoration work on the boat.

“Because of the pandemic, races have been canceled or postponed. Local ordinances forced us to close our facilities for a while,” said GEICO Crew Chief Gary Stray. “After returning to the shop, we had extra time to ensure the boat was in top performance condition. We’re looking forward to racing in Morehead City and seeing the restored Miss GEICO compete against some of the best racing teams in the U.S.”

The 11-time championship team’s boat was driven by extreme sports icon Travis Pastrana and APBA Hall of Champions inductee Brit Lilly.

The 47-foot catamaran travels with more than 2,200 horsepower at speeds up to 160 miles per hour.

More than 40 teams from across the country took part in the competition, with races beginning at noon on Sunday.

Spectators were given an opportunity to watch the races from designated areas on Sugar Loaf Island as well as the Morehead City waterfront.

The races were free and open to the public.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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