Madison Regatta

Fans line the banks of the Ohio River in Madison to watch hydroplanes each summer during the Independence Day weekend.

The Grand Prix hydroplanes will be returning to the Ohio River for the 70th running of the Madison Regatta July 3-5, leaders have announced. This year marks the seventh year the piston-powered hydroplanes have been the premier powerboats racing at the largest city on the Ohio River, between Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky.

Madison Regatta President Matt True made the announcement recently at the organization’s monthly membership meeting in Madison.

True said, “Motorsports are huge in Indiana. We have the Indy 500, Brickyard 400 and the NHRA U.S. Nationals and the Gold Cup hydroplane trophy. Indiana is all about motorsports and we are excited to have the Grand Prix hydroplanes back this summer.”

Grand Prix America hydroplanes’ president, Dean Rojas, said, “It is an honor to be asked to participate in the Madison Regatta. Seventy years is a great tradition and the Ohio River race course can be a challenge for our drivers and teams, but that is part of the allure of racing in Madison.”

Ed Preston, driver of the GP-20 The TRUSS Co., and his crew led by crew chief Earl Smith spent 12 hours straight switching out their engine and making repairs to the hydroplane after suffering damage at the 2019 Madison Regatta. Preston eventually came from behind to win the race. He said, “You bet I will be there to defend our victory. We love coming to Madison. The fans, community support, Fourth of July fireworks and the parade all create such a buzz in the riverfront city.” He continued, “The fans and community wait all year to hear the roar of our engine bouncing off the river valley walls, and so do we.”

The Madison Regatta race will be the first of the 2020 summer for the Grand Prix America Hydroplane Series. If this year is anything like last, the first race can also be an indication of how the national championship will develop throughout the blossoming Grand Prix hydroplane season. Last year, Greg Hopp, driver of the GP-15 Miss SuperShine, won the first race of the season in Guntersville, Alabama, and ended up winning the national championship at the end of the season.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth.” Combine the beauty of the river with Independence Day weekend filled with fireworks, a parade, live music, amusement rides for the kids and hydroplane racing and it’s a weekend everyone is looking forward to attending.

Four types of tickets are available online at

Rojas confirmed the racing organization is in discussions for races in Kennewick, Washington, San Diego, as well as few potential new venues. In addition to the Madison Regatta, races that have been on the schedule include Seattle’s Seafair Weekend, July 31-Aug. 2 and Owensboro, Kentucky’s HydroFair Aug. 14-16. Rojas said in the coming weeks, as the summer schedule gets finalized, information will be posted to their Facebook page Grand Prix America Hydroplanes.

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