By Deborah Gertz Husar Herald-Whig
QUINCY — A third water race is coming to Quincy.
Twin Oaks Club, in association with Quincy 5 Miler, will sponsor kayak races on Sept. 10. The one-mile course will be on Quincy Bay, just behind the Twin Oaks facility at 2707 Bonansinga Drive.
Up to 60 racers will be accepted for the inaugural event, which begins at 10 a.m. and continues until all classes are complete. Awards will be given for first, second and third places in each class.
Organizers see the race as a way to build on Quincy’s water racing heritage — and to tap into the growing interest in kayaks in the area.
The idea with all three races — Quincy 5 Miler, Bear Creek Grunt and the kayaks — is to “get people on the river,” said Rob Heiden, co-founder of Quincy 5 Miler. “We should have all bases covered, the one mile here, the Quincy 5 Miler and the Bear Creek Grunt is 15 miles.”
Bob Nall, past president of Twin Oaks and one of the race organizers, said the kayaking provides a family-friendly activity for all ages.
“I think it’s something we can look forward to growing each year,” Nall said. “We’ve got the biggest river in the middle of the U.S. We need to take advantage of it.”
The event renews a tradition of racing on the upper Quincy Bay that dates back at least to the late 1800s when races started at the north end and finished about where Twin Oaks is now. By the late 1960s, powered racing boats took to the water at Twin Oaks as part of Booster Day, the club’s annual fundraiser, but over the years, the bay silted in making it impossible for powered racing boats to navigate.
The kayak races will have entries in three categories — recreational boats, sea kayaks and unlimited — and classes for men and women.
Heiden expects racers for the 5 Miler on Sept. 16 and the Grunt on Sept. 17 to come early for the kayak races, but he said the Twin Oaks event also will draw more novice and local racers.
“The 5 Miler is more out on the river, so there’s current, waves and boat traffic to contend with. The Twin Oaks race is right here in the bay, in shallow water, no waves, no current, nothing to deter racers,” he said.
The setting also caters to spectators, with food and drink available along with an unobstructed view.
“You’re able to see the whole race right from the club here. You won’t lose sight of the racers,” Nall said.
Registration and more information about the Twin Oak Club’s kayak races are available online at quincy5miler.com and by calling Twin Oaks at 217-222-0662.
Advance registration deadline is Sept. 9. Day-of-race registration will be available starting at 9 a.m. The $25 entry fee will be paid at sign in on race day.
Food and drink will be available for sale.
The public is encouraged to attend at no charge.