2024 Roar on the River Recap



Highlands, NJ - All of us at OPA Racing want to thank the fans in Highlands, NJ. We’re touched by the reception we were given. We would like to thank the Highlands Business Partnership, and all of those who made it their business to put on an incredible event. The inaugural Roar on the River was a major success.

The first race of the day saw Class 700 with ten teams in the field. The lead was established early by the C7 entry of Team Shocker. Eventually being overtaken by Team Hamma Sticks. Who held the lead for most of the race. Before being overtaken by Team Progression and Team Shadow falling to third place. In the end, Team Hamma Sticks prevailed as one of just three teams that did not breakout of the class bracketed speed. The field saw rookies like Bayrippers, Student Driver, and 3rd Edition. With BayRippers and Student Driver placing second and third. 3rd Edition, with rookie Johnny D’Elia on the wheel and veteran racer JD D’Elia on the throttles took their first green flag as a team. OPA Vice President Nick Smith had this to say; “ Having JD D’Elia race with his son Johnny for the first time on our course was a humbling experience. It’s proof of the time and energy we’ve put into growing Class 7. And an honor for me to have met one of the racers that inspired me as a kid to be where I am today.” Class 700 was the highlight of the afternoon as it usually is.

The second race of the day was Stock Vee, Class 500, and Class 600. Stock Vee was a tight battle between Typhoon and Wazzup. Changing the lead multiple times. Before Typhoon established the lead. The rookie team of Nick Smith and Joe Reilly Jr. put up a strong fight against the veteran Randy Schluess. Coming up just a few boat lengths short in the end. Class 600 was decided early when Ultimate Boat Racing Experience had mechanical problems. Pushing Team Moderation to their first checkered flag of the new season. Class 500 saw Bounty Hunter do battle against the Class 500 entry of Shocker. Shocker seemed to be out to a commanding lead. But suffered a breakout disqualification giving the win to Team Bounty Hunter.

The third and final race of the day saw Class 400, Class 300, and Super Vee. The Super Vee entry of Knucklehead Racing put on an incredible show. Echoing through Highlands. The team of “Evil” Ed Smith, and Ed “Smitty” Smith, ran to display a beautiful expression of race course dominance. Showing the fans why Knucklehead Racing is the “baddest Vee on the sea”. The Class 400 race saw the return of Saris Racing with some substitutes in the boat. Johnny Saris, Mike Lang, and Caitlyn Esancy (Gladys) soon to be Saris, took to the course as bride, groom, and best man. It didn’t take long for Saris Racing to establish the lead, which was never in question. Crazy Rhythm saw the return of its original pilot "Red" Neal Crane, and Owner, Jerry Hayden, who drove his boat to a second place finish. While the rookies in Team Hamilton brokeout, but had a strong showing for their first time on the race course.

The inaugural Roar on the River was a resounding success. It’s safe to say OPA Racing has found a new staple on the OPA Racing Series. We can’t wait to come back to Highlands, NJ. And see our new fans, who’ve proven to be some of the best the sport has to offer.