The second contest of the APBA Offshore National Championship Series, the Lake Race has new leadership focused on its financial future. Photo from the 2021 Lake Race by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.

Lake Race Leadership Focused On Economic Sustainability

Written by Matt Trulio

When it comes to most offshore powerboat races in the United States, there are two race-producing entities-the local organizing team and the American Power Boat Association member-organization bringing the APBA sanction to the venue-involved in each event. For the Lake Race June 2-4 in Central Missouri, that means a new-for-2022 board of directors led by president Jeff Dorhauer, one of the founders of the annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.

On the racing-organization side, the New Jersey-based Offshore Powerboat Association is handling the event, the second contest in the eight-race APBA Offshore National Championship Series,
Layton added that the second and fifth 47 Reapers are sold boats and that hull No. 4 is going to be a company demo, meaning it likely could go to a customer if that person is OK with Adrenaline using it for rides and promotion at various events throughout the year.

The second five-engine, 47-foot-long, 12-foot-wide beauty, which is black and blue and shown in the slideshow below, is expected to hit the water in early summer with hulls three and four to follow during the coming months. Layton is excited to get more 47 Reapers on the water and in production.

"I don't really know what to say except that we are super proud of this boat," Layton explained. "It is, in a lot of ways, more than I expected it to be. It's classy, stylish and muscular all at the same time. It was a two-and-a-half-year project, but we put a lot of systems in place while we were developing the first one so that we could build the pipeline for production, which is why we expect to get hulls two through four delivered this year."

After testing the first 47-footer during the past few weeks, Layton said he's been impressed with the boat, which is powered by five Mercury Racing 450R engines. (The boat is available with four outboard engines.)

"So far the performance has been great, and I have some pretty high standards," Layton said with a laugh. "The boat accelerates like crazy and it tracks perfectly. I want to say that it feels light, but it's 20,000 pounds so I guess the best description is that its nimble for its size. It is very predictable and it takes on rough water with ease. We've run it up to the mid-80-mph range with plenty of rpm left so we have more testing to do.

"The thing is rock-solid," he added, explaining that the boat is 100 percent composite construction with vacuum-infused epoxy throughout the build. "The hardtop is all carbon and it didn't move or rattle in the 4- to 6-footers we encountered testing at the Jupiter Inlet. The boat is probably overbuilt, but I can live with that. It's all epoxy-infused. The structural grid is infused; heck even the seats are infused."
Along with all of the proprietary hardware, hinges and such designed by Layton and company, Layton pointed out that he already has trailers for the first five 47 Reapers in production. While he's likely to be up to his neck in CAD design and production schedules, Layton said that he's available to answer any questions at 706-359-6899.

"We're looking forward to being on scene with the boat so people can see it in person," he continued. "The more feedback we can get, the better."

The event has struggled financially in recent years and, according to Dorhauer, was anything but a sure thing this season.

"It didn't look like the race was going to happen this year for financial reasons," said the retired firefighter. "My goal is to get the Lake Race financially sound again in the next few years.

"This year, we built a budget-that was the first thing we did," he continued. "My years with the Shootout and the fire service taught me that you can't succeed without that. Then we started looking for where we could cut costs. This year, for example, we've traded out sponsorships for golf carts rather than paying cash to rent them."

The long-term plan for the Lake Race, Dorhauer explained, is to have each race generate enough "seed money" to fund the following year's event. Making that happen will require a strict adherence to the bottom line, as well as leaving no potential revenue stone unturned.

"It won't happen this year, but until we get solvent with this thing we have to be really, really careful how we spend," he said. "And we have to take a dollar-by-dollar approach to fundraising. You don't find too many $50,000 title sponsors out there, and we don't have one this year. A lot of people in the community have stepped up to make the Lake Race happen this year.

"Every dollar counts," he added. "You can't turn your back on a sponsorship deal no matter how small it is."