Racing returns to Manatee River

The hum of their engines is just one sign of how fact Formula 2 boats go.  Drivers are now counting down the days to the Bradenton Area River Regatta.

"The color, the excitement, the noise, the speed and of course the crashing," said racer Fred Durr.

Fourteen Formula 2 boats will race this year at the regatta.  They go from 0 to 100 in just about four seconds.

"These  boats are so competitive, the engines are supposed to be exactly alike. You can tune them a little differently; basically it's the driving skill and how daring you are," continued Durr.

Those are just a few of the things that'll draw a large crowd of visitors to Manatee County on Saturday, February 4.

"Anytime you can have a signature event that will bring 80,000 to 100,000 people in one day and introduce them to an urban core that they may have never seen is a win-win for everybody," said Elliott Falcione, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Falcione said last year's bad weather cut the expected attendance numbers in half, but 40,000 people came out for its second year. In 2015 Falcione said 80,000 people attend and that brought in $8 million.

This year they're hoping for sunny skies and even more people.

"The idea is, how can you sustain visitation on a year round basis to keep the hospitality industries employees hired year-round. Let them grow. Let them build their reserves a little bit. Signature events like this will," Falcione continued.

The Manatee River becomes the track for the race and events are held on both the Palmetto and Bradenton sides.

Tom Ludwig, the driver for Eno Racing, says one of the best parts is showing off for the audience.

"The Riverwalk that the city built is an amazing viewing area for this race," he said.

Racers say the regatta brings lots of excitement for everyone.

"We even slow down for the turns. We take like three or four G's on the turn," he added.

For more information visit: