Powerboat racing returns to Brevard County in Thunder on Cocoa Beach

Powerboats sped along the Brevard County coast on Saturday, some pushing speeds of 200 miles per hour. The Thunder on Cocoa Beach fans said it was a heck of a show. 

"It's pretty amazing!" said racing fan Amanda Campbell.

Sixty-seven teams are participating in this weekend's event. Powerboat races will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday. Kerry Bartlett founded the race 15 years ago. He said a 2021 study showed it had a $15 million economic impact on Brevard County. 

"It's a community event – me and my four directors have full-time jobs. We do it for the love of the community and for the love of racing," he said.

The race started and ended at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach, which was set aside for ticketed guests. There were plenty of places to see the action; the seven-mile course stretched from State Road 520 to Minuteman Avenue. Kevin Pruett, a race director, said he expected plenty of fans to show up to watch. 


"We'll probably be close to a hundred thousand, maybe a tad over. If this weather holds up, we'll be over a hundred thousand."

With feels-like temps close to 110 degrees, organizers have set up tents and misting stations for fans. There was also lots of water on hand. It was also wise to bring something to give some shade and wear sunblock. 

"We've got lots of water, we've got our sunscreen, and we're ready for the day," said racing fan Melissa Degel.

Organizers also hope to raise around $20,000 for the group I Am a Freedom Fighter, a local nonprofit aiming to stop human trafficking.