Jackson freshman racing to become rookie of year

By Kate Agbayani | Jun 21, 2019
Courtesy of: Steve Olesen

The American Power Boat Association (APBA) recently announced Peter Olesen as its 2018 Modified Outboard Rookie of the Year.

Currently in his freshman year at Jackson High School, Olesen started hydroplane racing last December.

He became interested in the sport after his father brought him to the Hydroplane and Race Boat Museum. Olesen’s father always talked about hydroplane racing.

They decided to put their names in a ballot that would allow them to build a boat through the museum’s boat building program.

Luckily, they ended up being selected, which kickstarted Olesen’s career in the sport.

“That was the push we needed to do it,” said Steve Olesen, Peter’s father. “We’d talk about it for years, but we never pulled the trigger.”

Hydroplane racing is comprised of 10-12 powerboats. The boats take three laps around different courses depending on the location.

There are many different class types in hydroplane racing.

The one Olesen is in is J-class (Junior class). It is for hydroplane racers between the ages of 9-15.

Olesen started racing last summer, where he placed seventh in the 200-mod class at Nationals in Moses Lake.

Olesen and his family started building their new boat, a 300 super stock hydroplane, last December and finished the boat a month ago.

They used their new boat to compete in the annual Silver Lake Regatta at Silver Lake in Everett on June 1. Olesen placed fourth overall out of 10 boats in the competition.

The season continues on till September and starts again the beginning of next year. The schedules can be found Apba.org/racing-schedule.html

Their first season was a large learning curve for them, Steve Olesen said.

Peter Olesen and his father wants to continue to gain better control over their new boat, so that next season they can be more prepared in the water. They also plan to eventually build a faster boat as Olesen moves up in class.

“Driving is super fun,” Peter Olesen said. “It’s very inclusive and (there is) lots of learning involved, but down the road I want to drive faster boats.”

Even though Olesen has growing interest in the sport, he has no current plans to pursue it as a professional career but rather hopes to pursue the Air Force. However, that has not stopped him from doing his best on the course.

No matter his plans for the future, his father believes that hydroplane racing has helped him learn discipline and how to be safe, traits that will be beneficial to him the Air Force.

Olesen’s father also believes that it’s brought a great experience to him and everyone else involved in the sport.

“It’s a family-oriented sport, Peter and I, friends and neighbors, spend hours in our garage learning how to build [a power boat],” Steve Olesen said. “There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s a great experience for families, great for kids to grow ... It’s also been a great thing for Peter.”

Overall, Olesen and his father find that the sport brings people together.

“Your competitors want you there to be helped out,” Peter Olesen said. “You compete on water, but everyone jumps in to help on land.”

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