Bradenton approves new boat race event on Manatee River

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Another powerboat race gets the green light. This coming on the same day the Sarasota County commission approves more than $80,000 for the annual Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix.

The Suncoast is quickly becoming a worldwide destination for rowing, but the area continues to draw in major boat races of a different kind.

The City of Bradenton, along with Palmetto, will host a major powerboat regatta on February 6th and 7th of 2015, taking place on the Manatee River.

“It's another way of putting Bradenton on the map, which is one of the things we are interested in,” says Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston.

As we first reported in February, some 75,000 spectators are expected to watch the Formula 2 powerboat race, and at the same time participate in a number of activities on dry land. “We know we'll be having people come from around Tampa Bay. We think it will be fun for people who live in Bradenton and Manatee County. That's what I focus on.”

Just south of Bradenton, in Sarasota, Lucy Nicandri is focused on another powerboat race: the 30th Annual Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix, scheduled for early next month. “We've got nine days of fun; 15 events going on. The boats are pre-registered to race; close to 40, which is an increase from last year. We had 30.”

On Wednesday, Nicandri received $81,000 from the Sarasota County Commission to support the regatta. She believes elected officials are realizing the importance of sporting events like this. “Powerboat really started on the west coast of Florida. It grew in the 80’s. I think the event in Charlotte County and the one in Manatee County can only enhance sports tourism and what it brings to the community and offers different venues.”

Now with the new regatta planned on the Manatee River, really the only hurdle left is allowing the promoters to get everything set up. The City of Bradenton is also in talks with Florida DOT to close down the north lane of the Green Bridge during the race, allowing spectators to watch from there.

The Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix starts June 28th, and race day is Sunday, July 6th.