Watercross racers hit Lake Osoyoos this weekend

About 50 racers are expected to participate in this year's Lake Osoyoos Cup, with racers coming from the northwest and Canada.

About 50 racers are expected to participate in this year’s Lake Osoyoos Cup, with racers coming from the northwest and Canada.

Submitted by Northwest Jet Sports

OROVILLE — About 50 watercross race teams are expected to fill Deep Bay Park this weekend for the second Lake Osoyoos Cup.

“We’re excited to have Northwest Jet Sports racers coming back to Oroville,” event coordinator Raleigh Chinn said Monday, noting this year’s event features an international field with stand-up and runabout racers expected from both the U.S. and Canada.

Chinn, Oroville Chamber of Commerce President Clyde Andrews and race director Roger Harnack have coordinated the event for two years.

Watercross racing is like motocross on water, with high-speed straight-aways and hairpin turns. Since it’s on water, course conditions vary lap-to-lap.

“The event is the season-opener for the Western Canadian Watercross Association and Rounds 5 and 6 for the Northwest Jet Sports Association,”Harnack said. “Racers have preregistered from as far away as Saskatchewan in Canada and Twin Falls, Idaho.”

Registration opens at 7 a.m. in the park, with racing expected to begin about 11 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Boaters and fishermen are encouraged to make plans to use a different launch during the race window each days.

The event is free for spectators, but locals who want to try their hand at personal watercraft racing can get in on the action. Competitors must purchase an International Jet Sports Boating Association membership.

Racers are required to wear helmets, life vests and back protection, and have kill tethers on their “boats.” They will compete in a variety of classes broken down by age, gender, skill level and watercraft.

“We have a class for everyone,” Harnack said.

Last month in Oregon, the X-2 class was the largest, with 13 racers. And in recent years, vintage skis — those general more than 20 years old — turned out en masse at some events.

Harnack said there is likely to be a large junior class, featuring racers from 10 to 15-years-old, as well as large novice classes.

Lake Osoyoos Cup racing will also likely draw a lot of Hydrospace entries from Canada. Hydrospaces are stand-up skis with four-stroke powerplants.

Volunteers are needed to assist racers with scoring and safety in the park and on water, Harnack said. Anyone with a sit-down Jet Ski who wants to volunteer should come to Deep Bay Park by 9 a.m. each day.

This is the first of two personal watercraft races in North-Central Washington this year. The next race will take place July 18 and 19 during the Apple Pie Jamboree in Pateros.

In conjunction with the races, The Oroville Senior Center will be hosting breakfast at 1521 Golden St. from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday morning. There is a nominal price for breakfast.

In the park, a vender will be renting bikes and kayaks, and may also offer concessions, Chinn said.

And on Saturday evening, America’s Family Grill, 1518 Main St., will be hosting a meet-and-greet for racers, their families and friends, fans and community members.

“We’re sure everybody is going to have a fantastic time,” Chinn said.

“Come spend the day enjoying some fun in the sun,” Harnack added.