The Formula 1 ChampBoat Grand Prix Series is returning to the turbulent -- and potentially stormy -- waters of the Allegheny River today, and tour president Mike Schriefer couldn't be happier.
"It's fantastic," he said. "This venue is one of the most treacherous natural marine race courses we have in North America and is one of the original Formula 1 curcuits for North America. We're glad to be back."
It's been two years since the series visited Pittsburgh, the site of the tour's first United States race in 1981, and today's competition is one of the most anticipated events of this weekend's Three Rivers Regatta.
The racers will hit the water this afternoon at 3:30 for two-lap qualifying time trials. The 10-lap heat races will begin at 4, and the 50-lap final is set to start at 6.
And though thunderstorms are in the forecast, Shriefer said they shouldn't have a large effect on the course, which is one of the roughest on the tour without any help from the weather.
"Not only do you have rolling swells off of the bottom of the river, which are hard for a 17-foot boat running at 140 miles per hour to handle, but instead of having a bank where the wave can dissipate, the seawalls throw it right back at you," said Tim Seebold, a winner of Formula 1 races in Pittsburgh 1995 and 1996 and last year's ChampBoat series winner. …