The Gleaner

Crowds throng to the 83rd edition of the Régates

The Régates de Valleyfield organizers know how to put on a good show.

Nearly 135,000 people took part in the 83rd edition of the weekend-long regatta, which showcased exciting racing, stellar concerts, and exceptional determination on the part of the organization after violent weather damaged the site and forced the cancellation of the opening concert headlined by Roch Voisine on July 13.

Crews worked Thursday evening to quickly assess the damage and rebuild one of the main tents that had blown over, and the start times for races set to begin the following day were delayed to to allow organizers time to clean and secure the site. Racing got underway Friday afternoon under brightening skies, and the sun shone for the remainder of the regatta.

The Régates is known as the main event on the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) circuit, and this year’s competition did not disappoint with the crowning of a North American champion as well as the youngest hydroplane pilot ever to win in Valleyfield.

The novice class made its debut with an emotional final won by 10-year-old Jayden Théorêt, who mastered the challenging Robert-Théorêt circuit, which is named in honour of his grandfather.


Hydroplanes took to the Lake Saint François Bay in Salaberry de Valleyfield on July 16 for the final day of racing during the famed three day regatta PHOTO Sarah Rennie


In the 2.5-liter class, Grant Liddycoat took top honours on his first visit to the course, while John Shaw was victorious in the Formula 2500 class. Jimmie Stewart and Peggie Ewancio took first place in the Jersey Speed Skiff final, while the Hydro 350 class final was dominated by American Bobby King, who won in Valleyfield for the second year running. Also repeating was American Andrew Tate, who came out on top following a fierce battle with Jeff Bernard in the Grand Prix final. The victory secured his title as the North American champion.

Over 80,000 people attended the hydroplane racing portion of the event, which wrapped up on July 16.

Following the cancellation of the Brittany Kennel and Roch Voisine concert on July 13, over 16,000 fans turned out the following evening for the hip-hop evening featuring La Bronze and FouKi. The Cajun-flavoured closing concert on July 15, featuring Mentana and Salebarbes, brought out over 18,000 concertgoers who later enjoyed vibrant fireworks over the Lake-Saint-François Bay to close out the event. (SR)

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