By Vivian Collings
Those with a need for speed can find a thrill in watching this weekend’s power boat races.
The 6th annual RPM Outboard Power Boat Races are coming to Head Lake in Haliburton from Friday, Aug. 19 to Sunday Aug. 21.
Local racer Wesley Hammond is competing in four categories in the Haliburton races this year.
The 25 year old has been competing in power boat races since he was 17, which is why he races with the number on his boat, and it’s important to him to have races in Haliburton County.
“I’m excited to be racing here. I have lots of friends and family coming out to watch so it should be a really fun weekend,” he said.
The races are sanctioned by the Canadian Boating Federation and are hosted by the Toronto Outboard Racing Club (TORC) as part of their summer circuit of races.
This year, the races have 36 sponsors and are back for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Haliburton County local, Barb Hammond (Wesley’s mother), originally brought the power boat races to Haliburton and continues to be the event’s organizer.
Barb is excited to host the event after being unable to since 2019.
“There’s no prize money at the Haliburton races, so the racers do it for the love of racing. We give out trophies to the winners,” she said. “This is a free event and is a fundraiser for the hospital auxiliary, which is in dire need of help because I believe it’s not even running as the auxiliary. The lottery tickets for all the prizes we collect are going through the hospital because I think they’re short of volunteers.”
On Friday, racers and organizers will begin set-up for the races which will give spectators an opportunity to meet racers.
The races begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and a banquet will be held on Saturday night at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre for 85 racers and guests.
Races continue on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at the event, and all proceeds will be given to the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary, and spectators are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the Hospital Auxiliary booth at the event.
RPM is the main sponsor of the Haliburton races with Youngdale Fuels as a sponsor for the four local competitors; Brandon Sutton in boat No. 13, Tammy Everitt in boat No. 34, and Barb’s children, Wesley in boat No. 17 and Andrea Hammond in boat No. 38.
“Because they are a home-town fuel company, when I started this boat racing, years ago, I thought it would be a novel thing to have our home-town team sponsored by a local business,” Barb said.
At the banquet, a 50/50 draw will be held, with half of the funds donated to the Auxiliary.
During the races, Haliburton RPM will allow boaters wanting access to Kashagawigamog Lake to use their docks and boat launch located at 5122 County Road 21 in Haliburton.
“We’d also like to let everyone know that when the boats are at top speeds, we try and get on and off the water as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of noise,” Barb said.