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Detroit gearing up for 100th.

By Mike Brudenell - Detroit Free Press

This summer's APBA Gold Cup in Detroit will mark 100 years of powerboat racing on the Detroit River.

So expect a big splash at the "UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest featuring the APBA Gold Cup" event Aug. 27-28, when up to 13 unlimited hydroplanes could participate.

The recently formed Detroit Riverfront Events group is working closely with West Coast-based H1 Unlimited to make the Detroit race date bigger and better than ever.

"We are looking to improve the total event," said Detroit Riverfront Events member Douglas Bernstein, a longtime unlimited hydroplane booster and official. "We want to grow and sustain unlimited hydroplane plane racing in Detroit for another 100 years. We want to make this year's Gold Cup more than just a race -- we want to make it a Detroit event second to none."

In the past, the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit drew huge crowds to the river. In its heyday, in the 1960s and '70s, hundreds of thousands watched the big Thunder Boats roar down the Detroit River course.

Bernstein and his group saw the Hydrofest regain some of its former glory last year with the backing of the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. The racing was fast and furious, with Jimmy Shane (Miss Madison Racing) winning the unlimited final in thrilling fashion.

"We had just 67 days in 2015 to put the race together," Bernstein said. "Thanks to the UAW-GM, we have a lot more time to make this a classic this summer."

Bernstein is also looking for volunteers to work the August Gold Cup event.

Tickets are already on sale for the 2016 APBA Gold Cup weekend in Detroit. For information, visit For sponsorship opportunities, call the office of the Detroit Riverfront Events Inc. at 313-329-8047.

Contact Mike Brudenell: Follow him on Twitter @mikebrudenell.

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