The Toronto Outboard Racing Club (TORC) is bringing powerboat racing back to Haliburton the Aug. 20-21 weekend.

Event organizer Barb Hammond said she was “so happy to say” the TORC racing weekend was returning to Head Lake after being cancelled throughout COVID-19.

She said the general public can come to the town docks on Friday, Aug. 19 to “meet the racers and see their set-up of boats.”

The racing begins Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and goes until approximately 5 p.m. Hammond said times are “dictated by the number of breakdowns, accidents and unexpected interruptions of pleasure boat traffic.”

On Sunday, they’ll start at 11 a.m. “respecting the church services” and plan to end at 5 p.m.

Hammond said their two main sponsors are RPM and MacEwen Fuels along with “many more local businesses again supporting.”

The event is free to all spectators and organizers are again partnering with the Haliburton Hospital Auxiliary to raise money for the hospital. Spectators buy tickets for various prizes, there’s a 50/50 draw at the racers’ dinner and TORC makes a donation, historically $1,000, Hammond said.

There will be a Saturday night dinner and dance for 120 at the Pinestone Resort and Conference Centre.

Hammond noted the local racers’ roster has expanded to four Haliburton County participants. They include Wes Hammond, Andrea Hammond, Brandon Sutton and Tammy Everitt.

Wes Hammond, who lives in Eagle Lake, said it was exciting to be coming back.

“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to race so it’s nice to get back to it.”

Being a hometown boy, he loves the Head Lake stage of the races.

“It’s close to home. There’s lots of friends that come to see it. it’s easy to watch. There’s nothing better than racing in front of your family and friends.”

There’s been races in Tweed June 11-12, Gravenhurst June 25-26, and upcoming is Erinsville July 23-24.

Competing in two classes, Hammond is near the top of the leaderboard in both. He normally races a few more classes but added, “it’s been going well considering it’s been busy with COVID and I didn’t have much time to use my boats over the last couple of years.”

Barb Hammond said the TORC family is looking forward to its return to the Highlands.

“Sponsors have stepped up generously, racers booked rooms back in February and everyone is positively pumped. “It’s good for the town, the hospital, and gives our community a free event during financial hard times.”