Great Lakes Grand Prix racing this weekend

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WNDU) - It’s not the “greatest” spectacle in racing but perhaps it’s the wettest.

The 12th annual Great Lakes Grand Prix is on tap this weekend in Michigan City.

In 15 minutes, Miss Geico can apparently travel 42.5 miles.

“We run a 47 foot, victory hull, all carbon fiber boat powered by twin 1100 horse power Mercurys. The boat is capable of 170-miles an hour,” said Team Geico crew member Scott Begovich. “You know when you hit the accelerator, when those twin turbos kick in, the only thing I can liken it to for the lay person who has never done it before, is when you’re on the runway getting ready to take off in a jet, and he powers up.”

Jason Geddes is former Michigan City resident who now lives in West Lafayette. Today he returned to his hometown to get a look at the boats. “The big boats that run on Sunday, it’s just amazing to watch how fast they go on that water and so forth. It’s a sport you don’t get to see up close a lot.”

But plenty of ‘in your face’ moments are built into the Great Lakes Grand Prix.

Saturday night, the boats will trailer up, slow to a crawl, and parade through the downtown.

“Every one of these boats with their rigs polished up, the crews on top, waving, throwing beads, you know, throwing toys out and we go downtown, people everywhere,” recalled Begovich.

There will be racing after 10:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The event has consistently produced a bonanza for bean counters.

“This brings a lot of money into our communities in many ways. Anywhere from $12 to $15 million,”said Jack Arnette with the LaPorte County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “It’s probably one of the largest events in the region north of Indianapolis. We’ve been doing this 12 years and everybody knows and expects the first week of August they need to be here.”

The racing can be viewed for free from the beach at Washington Park but beach goers are asked to park at Ames Field and board a shuttle bus as the beach parking lot will fill up quickly.

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