One of the biggest events in Kennewick, and the Tri-Cities in general, is the hydroplane racing at Columbia Park East. Delighting crowds young and old, male, and female, the event is put on by the Tri-City Water Follies and takes place each July in Columbia Park East on the Columbia River. Those lucky enough to own real estate in Kennewick are just a stone’s throw away from the annual fun and excitement of the hydroplane races and the surrounding festivities.
Fun And Excitement for Kennewick Residents
Attendance each year is massive, making it one of the biggest weekend festivals, not only in Kennewick's Tri-Cities area but in the Pacific Northwest region in general. Featuring attractions such as military and civilian air shows, games, music, and, of course, racing, there is something for everyone.
The Kennewick races have received numerous awards, including the American Boat Racing Association’s “Outstanding Race Site Promotion”. It also gets extensive media coverage and is broadcast on local and national television to more than 3 million people. There is also radio coverage, and streaming feeds on the Internet, and it features in more than 100 newspapers nationwide.
What are hydroplanes? They are a type of motorboat, used solely for racing. If you have ever driven on very wet roads and felt your tires lose grip, you were hydroplaning: your tires were running on the water rather than on the road surface. Hydroplane motorboats utilize this same principle, and use the water surface for propulsion and steering rather than for support. At full speed, a minuscule percentage of the boat is actually in contact with the water.
Hydroplane boats follow the same basic design. They have two sponsos (wing-like projections) on either side of the bow on the front. The engine, steering equipment, and hydroplane driver sits in a rectangular section just behind the wide bow. A modern hydroplane has a space between the sponsons, replacing the formerly used curved bows. There are also horizontal stabilizers that keep the boat steady, which replaced the old design of a single vertical tail in the rear center.
There are two classes of hydroplane engines: limited and unlimited. Limited hydroplane use automotive and two-stroke power engines, while unlimited boats use aviation engines. After World War II, surplus internal combustion engines from warplanes were frequently given new life in unlimited hydroplane boats.
There are also two corresponding hydroplane circuits: limited lights and unlimited lights. A limited hydroplane competes according to size class to make sure competition is balanced and even. Unlimited racing, such as that which takes place in Kennewick's Columbia Park East each July, has fewer restrictions and generally uses larger engines than found in limited racing.
Hydroplane racing is exhilarating to participate in, whether as an active participant or an enthusiastic onlooker. There is no wonder why people with homes in Kennewick and beyond flock to Columbia Park East to enjoy the spectacle of extreme racing on the Columbia River.
Related Kennewick Resources:
Related Resources for Along the River's Path:
- Land of Three Rivers
- Kennewick Rivers
- The Columbia River
- The Snake River
- River Recreation
- Port of Pasco
- Richland Steelhead Fishing
- Kennewick Water Follies
- Hydroplane Races
- Naturalist's Paradise