Way back in the late 1960’s a small group of enthusiasts pioneered an idea to run and race model powerboats (similar in appearance to their full sized counterparts) on the sea and in doing so achieved a new concept for model racing. The first ‘Chase Boat’ offshore race was held at Torquay in 1967. The event attracted 12 entries and a race took place on the open sea over a course of a couple of miles. This proved to be a great success.
Following this initial achievement, further offshore venues were found – typically at Folkestone, Canvey Island, and Port Talbot Docks. Thereafter a small consistent calendar of races developed over the next couple of years which helped increase the entry level and interest. By 1970 the formation of an organisation to establish the foundations for progressive development of offshore model powerboat racing became essential. An inaugural meeting was held at The Paviors Arms in London late in 1970, to formulate rules and a structure for racing.
THE EARLY DAYS OF OMRA
Before the 1971 season could get underway the Offshore Model Racing Association had been born, and in that same year, the series of races became the first OMRA Championship. Initially most of the early races were Chase Boat events but with the advent of multiple radio frequencies becoming readily available, circuit endurance racing made an entry onto the race calendar, as did racing on a number of large inland lakes which produced conditions similar to the that of the sea. The enthusiasm for offshore model powerboat racing expanded during the 1970’s, and from then on OMRA has embraced the freedom of design, development and all aspects of racing model offshore powerboats.
THE PRESENT DAY
OMRA has provided the national structure for offshore model powerboat racing over 4 decades. Races take place at some of the most picturesque and popular locations around the coast, and on some of the most impressive inland lakes. There is generally something for everyone and the social element plays a very large part within the Association. There is always someone on hand to help, advise and to assist anyone with a problem boat at a pre-race gathering.
FACING THE CHALLENGE
Since 1967 OMRA has provided the leading structure for offshore model powerboat racing. Coupled with the many unique locations for racing the format has created something very unique for the OMRA membership. The different venues make for a great variety of conditions from winds, rough waves, rolling seas, tides, calm water, salt water, fresh water and at times the racing tests ones’ own endurance and patience. No particular boat design is suited to every condition encountered and the ability to set up a race boat to cope with all the variations throughout the season is addictive and enduring…..but most of all it’s fabulous fun! Our gallery gives a really good impression of what OMRA racing can be like.
Application for OMRA membership is open to all, and if you would like to find out more, please contact us for more details or why not come along to one of the race meetings and have a chat with some of the racers. Who knows – you could even end up a national Champion!