Sean Davison Speed Boat

Sean Davison, 13, gets some air during a speed boat race practice run.

It was a close call, but the Long Beach Sprint Nationals speedboat race is officially scheduled for this weekend at Marine Stadium.

After a long battle with the city, organizer Ross Wallach was able to get the permits and insurance in place to receive the green light for the event, and it hasn't been easy, but it is better late than never, one racer said.

Sean Davison Ready, Set, Race

Sean Davison said he's ready to race during this weekend's Sprint Nationals.

"I'm really glad that I get to race this weekend," 13-year-old Sean Davison said. "I love racing."

Davison picked up speed boat racing four years ago, at just 9 years old, he said, adding that he likes going fast as much as he likes being on the water, making the sport a perfect fit for him.

Water sports run in the family too. His 14-year-old brother, Jason, competed in the Catalina Ski Race last month, winning second place in his age group. His father, Todd, owns Gretchen's Auto, a shop that works on both cars and boats.

His mother, Michelle, said that she's just happy her sons have found a sport that they both enjoy.

"It's scary but I know they have control and know what their limits are," she said. "It doesn't stop me from being nervous, but I have to let them do what they enjoy."

Michelle recalls when Sean's boat was hit and he was thrown into the water last year during a race. That's when she knew her son was able to keep a clear head and race on.

Sean Davison: Sprint Nationals

"Someone hit his boat, he fell out into the water and my heart sank," she said. "But he waved his arms, let everyone know that he was alright, and then was ready to get back to the race."

Davison echoed that he's always ready for a chance to get on the water.

"I love the adrenaline I get," he said. "We can't take the boats out whenever we want — they go too fast — so when I can race, I am happy."

Davison will be joined by more than 70 others competing this weekend. And although the races are scheduled, organizers are still struggling to meet all of the city's financial requirements, Wallach said Monday in a Facebook post.

"The City has more than doubled our fees for the permit. We need to raise that final $15,000 in order to cover these added costs. Any sponsors, businesses, or anyone looking to help SCSC out it is greatly appreciated it," he wrote. "Make no mistake the race is on, we're just trying not to sink SCSC into a financial hole given these additional costs that literally just got handed to us."
Donations can be made by going to and searching for "2019 ARP Long Beach Sprint Nationals Memorial Race."
The Long Beach Sprint Nationals is happening from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, and Sunday, Aug. 18, at Marine Stadium.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Youngsters 5 and younger are free. Additionally, military and veterans will be admitted for free. All tickets will be available the day of at Marine Stadium. Parking also will be available for $20 per vehicle.

For more information about the 2019 ARP Long Beach Sprint Nationals — The Greg Duff & Phil Bergeron Memorial Race Presented by Nick Rose Insurance, go to

Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at

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