One of California’s largest on-water festivals, San Diego Bayfair presented by HomeStreet Bank, is set to take over Mission Bay next weekend (Sept. 15-17), and more than 75,000 spectators and RV owners are expected to attend the three-day event on San Diego’s East Vacation Island and Fiesta Island to watch the world’s fastest boats.
Current H1 Unlimited points leader Jimmy Shane of Seattle is hoping to win a third-straight San Diego Bayfair final in the HomeStreet Bank Unlimited hydroplane. Photo courtesy/copyright Erick Bryner/Firedrill Productions
“For more than 50 years, Bayfair has brought families and friends together on beautiful Mission Bay,” said Bob Davies, San Diego Bayfair’s race director. “Bayfair brings competitors from around the United States and fans from across the globe for a thrilling weekend of racing.”
The event features three days of nonstop boat racing, a kids’ zone, plenty of food options, beer gardens and more than 700 RV spots for a rare opportunity to stay overnight in Mission Bay Park.
Once again the main draw are the H1 Unlimited boats, which are going to wrap up their season in San Diego. U-1 HomeStreet Bank driver Jimmy Shane is chasing his third straight national high points championship and a third consecutive Bill Muncey Cup at Bayfair.
Shane, who is an engineer at Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin in Seattle, has a slim 300-point lead over driver Andrew Tate in the U-9 Jones Racing boat. J. Michael Kelly, who won Bayfair in 2015, trails Shane by nearly 600 points. The final standings could look dramatically different after the HomeStreet Bank Bill Muncey Cup Final on Sunday afternoon.
The Grand Prix World Supercharged Hydroplanes also are returning to San Diego with an anticipated eight teams. The piston-powered hydroplanes, which race at speeds faster than 150 mph, are a smaller sibling to the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes.
“We are excited to bring a competitive field of boats that promise to restore the roar on Mission Bay,” said Sam Cole, who leads the Grand Prix World tour. “We have excellent drivers, many who raced in the Unlimited ranks. Fans will be familiar with their names.”
Proving that age is just a number, 70-year-old grandfather Jerry Hopp will be racing his Happy Go Lucky hydroplane in San Diego. It’s a course he’s familiar with since his days competing against the late Bill Muncey, who pushed for the development of Mission Bay Park and founded San Diego Bayfair.
Rounding out the on-water entertainment will be several classes of amateur racing led by RPM Racing.
Testing and qualifying with limited racing takes place on Friday. Heat races and championship races take place Saturday and Sunday. The HomeStreet Bank Bill Muncey Cup for H1 Unlimited is tentatively set for 4:15 pm on Sunday.
“We’re grateful to HomeStreet Bank for returning as the title sponsor and the incredible support from the San Diego Tourism Marketing District,” Davies said. “Bayfair helps showcase San Diego as a world-class tourism destination.”
Single-day tickets start at $25 and a three-day Super Pass is available for $45. Children under age 12 are free. For more information or to purchase advance tickets online, visit www.sandiegobayfair.org.