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Quake the Lake races set for June 14

Power boat racing is said to be a fast and potentially dangerous sport if racers do not take wind, water and boat conditions into consideration when hitting speeds up to 130 miles per hour. Quake the Lake is one of the most popular Twin Cities Power Boat Association events in the state. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham

They say it’s one of the most dangerous sports out there.

“It’s the most dangerous sport on the planet,” corrected Donny Lick, professional power boat racer and this year’s race director for Quake the Lake.

The race, which is coming up Saturday, June 14, at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, is a Twin Cities Power Boat Association event.

Powered by roughly 70 racers this year, Quake the Lake is also expected to bring in a lot of spectators for an event that Lick promises to be one of the best around.

“It’s by far our favorite race site,” said Lick, who has been racing professionally since 2001. “It’s an adrenaline that you can’t even imagine.”

Quake the Lake will run six classes ranging from beginners going around 50 miles per hour, to professionals topping speeds of 130.

“Yeah, we don’t mess around,” laughed Lick, who says racers start off right on the shoreline by the fans.

“We do two back-to-back 10-lap heats racing an oval in the water,” said Lick, who says competitors race for their best time out of the two heats.

Although this is a sanctioned American Power Boat Association event, racers for Quake the Lake are only competing for trophies and overall season points. Their goal is to crack the top 10 in the nation, at which point racers will find themselves traveling all over the U.S. racing for money.

But in Minnesota, every race like this is a big deal.

“We have the biggest local club with the most members, and we hold more races than any other club in the U.S. and that races boats in outboard performance craft,” said Lick, who says they do about six of these races every year. “So we’re doing some good things around here.”

Lick says his team, Fly’em High Racing, has done its fair share of traveling throughout the country competing, running more races in 2007 than any other team in the country.

He says Quake the Lake in Detroit Lakes always proves to be a popular one.

 There will be a live radio broadcast from Big 98.7, as well as food and drink specials out on the patio at the Holiday Inn and a raffle set up for a $30,000 pontoon.

Lick says these events can get pretty exciting for spectators and pretty dangerous for racers if they’re not “listening to their boats.”

“You gotta pay attention because if your boat is telling you to slow it down, and you don’t, it’ll knock you down every time,” said Lick, who says it’s not unusual for boats to roll in these races. “When you’re in a boat accident, tunnel boats pack air up underneath, and if you get too aggressive, you can get in trouble because you’re upside down and in the water,” said Lick, who says he’s “blown over” every boat he’s ever had.

“I’ve knocked myself pretty good, but I’m like a cat,” he joked.

The right weather, he added, is necessary to the safety of the race.

“When the wind blows the wrong way, tunnel boats and wind don’t get along at all — it flips them over — but when the wind is down and everything is nice, it’s just a fun event.”

Lick says not only do these races feature a variety of racers at different levels of experience, but there are some that actually hand-make their own power boats.

“They build them right there in their own garages, and they are beautiful, capsuled boats,” said Lick.

The event goes from noon to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“The kids love it, mom and dad love it, everybody that comes out to see boat racing loves it,” said Lick. “And many here (in the lakes area) can connect to what we’re doing more because everybody around here seems to have a boat.”

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