Boat racing enthusiasts from Canada to Florida plan to descend on New Martinsville, West Virginia this summer for the first annual New Martinsville Vintage Regatta aptly dubbed, “Thunder on the River.”
Turns out, New Martinsville, located in Wetzel County, was once one of the nation’s premier locations for national competitions in the sport of hydroplane racing.
Over 50 world records in the sport have been set on the New Martinsville course, which is known as, “the fastest fresh water course in the world.” In the Regattas’ heyday, over 20,000 people would flock to the shore of the Ohio River annually to catch a glimpse of their favorite racers and the speediest boats.
Now, a group of volunteers who grew up watching hydroplanes skim across the Ohio at the New Martinsville Regatta are committed to resurrecting the community’s former pastime and bringing vintage hydroplanes back to local waters.
In early autumn each year, the fastest boats and best drivers would travel to the town to compete for speed records and the chance to be named one of the best drivers in America.
This June, the boats are making their return to the Ohio, where folks will be able to meet the drivers, examine the boats, and watch as they glide across the Ohio at speeds up to 120 MPH bringing back the sight and spray of bygone years.
Catch this blast from the past in New Martinsville on June 17 and 18, 2017 at noon on the grounds of the old Magnolia Yacht Club! The event is free and open to all. Learn more about the event!
If you would like to become an event sponsor, volunteer or register a boat please contact Penny Morris @ 304-771-4853.