Boat racing on Lake Guntersville has a history for drivers, visitors, and locals alike

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- Boat racing in Guntersville goes back decades and the drivers, the visitors, and the locals remember when racing was a common event on Lake Guntersville.

"I'm fourth generation here. There's a long history with boat racing here in Guntersville," said Guntersville Police Chief Jim Peterson.

The H1 Unlimited hydroplanes raced in Guntersville in the 60s. There hasn't been boat racing on the lake since the 80s.

That's all changed. "To get this back and to be the kickoff race for their season, and have the Unlimiteds as well as the GPs here, it's pretty special," Peterson said.

Not only do locals remember it, the drivers and owners do too. "I believe my mom has raced here, though," said driver Andrew Tate, "She's originally from California, so she made the long journey over here to race in beautiful Guntersville, Alabama."

"The history goes back to the 60s when they used to run the smaller boats, the inboards, which my husband Mike raced in the 60s down here and had an absolute wonderful time," owner Lori Jones said.

There are family roots, too. "My father's father is from Boaz, Alabama, so we have a lot of family for this area," said driver Tom Thompson, "We come down here all the time."

The boats are powered by a single turbine engine that once powered military helicopters. When the event resumes on Saturday, those engines will be a welcome sound back on the water. "We're very excited about racing here," Thompson said.

The gates open at eight on Saturday. They had to cancel Friday's events because of high winds. The hydroplanes can race in the rain.

Tickets for the event are available at the gate and online.