Constantine hosts U.S. Title Series Championship Races
CONSTANTINE — The U.S. Title Series Championship Racing Association hosted their annual hydroplane and runabout boat races on July 21-23 at Constantine American Legion Post 223.
The US Title Series, founded in 1982, is recognized as the premier PRO outboard racing series in the United States. The United States Title Series’ vision is to establish a class of outboard racing competitions between the best professional outboard racing teams that boat racing has to offer, to promote the sport of powerboat racing, and to develop a series of outboard racing competitions across the country, putting the sport on a national level as is any other professional sport.
A U.S. Title Series event consists of a two-to-three day program generally with testing and practice laps on Friday and PRO racing on Saturday and Sunday. The racing program averages a three-to-four hour time frame each day. The eleven classes in the U.S. Title Series are based on the type of boat and the size of the engine. Engines are specifically designed for racing, burn methanol fuel, and are manufactured all over the world. A separate race is run for each class consisting of three heats per class and four laps per heat. There are three distinctive types of boats in the U.S. Title Series: Runabouts, Hydroplanes and Capsules.
Constantine American Legion Post 223 has hosted boat races since 1957. Veteran racer Dan Kirtz from Bristol, Ind., who attended this weekend’s event, said his parents raced in Constantine in 1957.
“My dad Mel Kirtz started racing in 1937. He and my mother Mary were in Constantine at the first race in 1957, and they got me involved. I got interested when I was 9-years-old,” he said.
Kirtz, who is 76, won his first national championship in 1968. He won others, and ran three classes.
“I won 30 national and three world championships,” he said. “In 1996 I had health problems. Then twenty years later, in 2016 I won a Pro-National Championship in the 500cc class. This year I raced in the Michigan Outboard Boating nationals and won.”
Dan Kirtz said his brothers Jerry and Tom were also racers, and won national championships.
“Racing has gotten expensive. The number of boats is dwindling a bit, the classes have gotten a little slower, but we still have some avid facing families,” he said. “It’s not just a young man’s sports, and it’s a family sport.”
Rich Krier started racing in 1960.
“I race in the 250cc and 350cc runabout class. It’s a fun sport, but it’s gotten expensive,” he said. “It doesn’t feel you’re going as fast as you do on the water; I go 90 miles per hour, and boat designs have changed over the years,” Krier said.
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