ONTARIO – A series of improvements to the Ontario Speedway will greet spectators this summer and fall when speed boat racing shifts into high gear.
The track, at the old Ontario Golf Course south of the Ontario Municipal Airport, consists of a 2,000-foot circular set of channels where jet boats race on 30 inches of water.
The track opened last year and featured several race events throughout the summer.
This year, the first competition will be Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, said general manager Ronda Gibbons.
Gibbons said the course and the area around it will look different this summer because the track itself will be wider to add another layer of safety and to give spectators more room to watch. Track improvement will help in another way, said Gibbons.
“We sank the track down two feet so now the water should drain as it should,” said Gibbons.
About eight acres around the track was also seeded with grass and the dirt berm that encircles the track widened.
Those upgrades, said Gibbons, will give spectators a better experience by allowing more freedom of movement. The track will be longer and faster, she said.
Gibbons said another added attraction this year will include a carnival area at the south end of the track next to where food vendors will set up.
“It is fenced in and a secure kind of area,” said Gibbons.
While there will also be a beer garden near the track, Gibbons emphasized the aim is to create a family-friendly atmosphere.
The initial racing event in August will also feature the Jeff Miller Band. A race at the track Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 will be headlined by EllieMae Millenkamp, an Idaho singer and alum of NBC’s “The Voice.”
Tickets cost $15 for a day and $20 for a weekend pass. Children under 5 get in free.
“We really try to make it affordable and fun for the families,” said Gibbons.
John Breidenbach, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the sprint boat track is a “good thing” for the community.
“It brings new faces into town for a sport that a lot of people follow,” he said.
He said he hopes the sprint boat venue continues to grow.
“I was excited about it last year and I am excited about this year,” he said.
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