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Thunder on the Niagara returns to Gratwick Park

Fri, Jul 29th 2022 07:00 am

Event set for Aug. 6-7

Submitted by Bill DeGlopper, APBA V&H reporter

The Niagara Frontier Boat Racing Association and Hydroplane Racing League of Canada is pleased to announce this year’s boat racing event. Thunder on the Niagara returns to Gratwick Park, North Tonawanda, on Aug. 6-7. The major sponsor for the sixth year is Snyder Industries Inc. 

This year, the race is called the Legend’s Memorial Regatta in honor of Mike Endres and Ken Brodie Sr. Mike was the former commodore of NFBRA and past APBA GP national champion. Ken was an outstanding driver and winner in a series of flat bottom and inboard boats in both the USA and Canada.

Hydroplanes in many classes will race on the Niagara River in this terrific two-day event. Racing both days will begin at 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Over 50 race teams will attend with hopes of capturing class top honors, points and awards as part of the HRL racing series. These high-performance craft can reach speeds of 170 mph in the Grand Prix class.

A number of race boats and teams have WNY connections. The reigning GP HRL champion is GP 777, Steeler. Sponsored by Snyder Industries, its crew includes Islanders Gary Roesch (current NFBRA commodore) and Mike Geblein. The GP-50 entry of Ken Brodie Jr. has the Don Less family as integral crew members, assisted by Hank Armstrong and John Neblecky. Amanda Brodie will enter her hydroplane, Miss Behaved, which has been driven to victory this season by rookie Islander Eddie Kanfoush in several earlier races.  

The two-day event includes food and craft vendors, and a fine car show courtesy of the Buffalo Motorama group. Lyle Dinsmore’s Miss Gangway, H-6 vintage Lauterbach hydroplane will also run flyby laps for the fans’ entertainment both days. 

The event attracts thousands of spectators and entrants from all over the U.S. and Canada. An entry from the Lupton’s of New Zealand and Australia is also expected.

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