PRESQUE ISLE, Mich. — For the first time on Grand Lake Presque Isle Yacht Club and Top O’ Michigan Outboard Racing Club partnered to hold the first ever Fireside 500 stock outboard race. These aren’t your average speed boats on Grand Lake. The sleek wooden or fiberglass crafts travel around 60 miles per hour.
“Really just got to pick your way through the traffic. There’s a lot of boats out there,” said day two’s marathon winner Joshua Pearson. “There’s a lot of wakes and stuff, so you can find a good clean line and you can really let the motor sing, and run and go fast.”
Athletes have to travel all over to compete in American Power Boat Association races.
“It’s the second longest marathon we have in Michigan and that’s huge for us because they’re pretty low as it is,” said outboard nationals competitor Dustin Pearson. “For Top O’ Michigan Club to put on this race at this lake was great and I’ll definitely be back.”
Three year racer Dominick Trolian won the junior marathon on day two, which was a 25 minute race.
“It’s all about boat positioning and where you are in the boat and how you control the boat, because if you don’t respect the boat, the boat won’t respect you.”
Speed and position are even more important in the stock outboard short coarse.
“The 25 runabout, there was some pretty good competition in that. I really had to keep on my game,” said Dustin Pearson. “It’s pretty rough out there, so it made it interesting.”
Grand Lake and it’s islands are a beautiful location to hold a race, but for competitors like Pearson, it’s not his first time racing in the area.
“For me it’s really special because my first win ever was in Alpena, downtown Alpena, where we used to race over there,” said Joshua Pearson. “It’s really cool to come back 30 years later and get another win.”
Presque Isle County hopes to see racers like Pearson again next year for the second annual Fireside 500.