“Dammit. That’s not the news I wanted to hear today,” I growled to myself. The bad news traveled quickly, the annual Long Beach-to-Catalina Offshore Endurance race had not only been cancelled for 2019, but according to RPM Enterprises’ Ross Wallach, indefinitely.
Wallach wrote this morning, “Offshore Endurance Racers: RPM Racing Enterprises regrets to announce the cancellation of the 2019 LB2CAT – Long Beach to Catalina & Back IJSBA Offshore Endurance National Championships scheduled for Sunday September 22nd. The event is being cancelled due to lack of committed entries. If you have any questions, please contact RPM RACING at (310) 318-4012 or email@example.com”
The 52-mile-round trip endurance race is one of the oldest offshore PWC endurance races period. Dating back to the mid-1990s, the LB2CAT once required racers aboard ancient 2-strokes to beach at the island town of Avalon to refuel before returning back to the mainland.
After a short hiatus and a transfer of ownership, the LB2CAT became leaner, meaner and more streamlined. No more stops on Catalina Island. No refuel teams needed. Modern supercharged runabouts suddenly cut event times in half. Average speeds rocketed by double.
Racers from across the US, Canada and even Australia flocked to Long Beach, California. Hell, it was the race that earned Kawasaki’s modern (2007-plus) Ultra JetSki its fame as the crowned king of offshore racing. It was the American gold standard of one-day, open ocean, offshore racing.
I had personally raced it 5 times, earning one class championship (Manufacturer Stock) and a Top 10 place. Weather was always a crap shoot; conditions could be densely overcast with mirror-like water; or the skies could be so clear that Avalon’s whitewashed casino was visible from Queensgate while the oceans churned with 6-to-8 foot chop. You simply had to be ready to take a beating.
Wallach had graciously pushed the event back once – from mid-July to September 22nd – but the necessary pre-registration entries weren’t enough to guarantee enough racers to make the event fiscally sound. In recent years, participation had dwindled to low 20’s – a sad death to a legacy event.
If you would like to see the Long Beach-to-Catalina Offshore Endurance race return in 2020, then you must reach out to promoter Ross Wallach at (310) 318-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and do so quickly. Who knows? I might just dust off my helmet and give it another go too.