Thursday, May 23, 2024

Powerboat great Greg Foster dies at 63

American powerboat racing pioneer Greg Foster passed away Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 63 years old.

Foster began his career in off-road racing before entering powerboat competition in the 1970s, winning the 1974 National High Points 72cc Inboard Hydro championship. He was part of the “California Gang” that reigned over the powerboat scene through the 1980s and 1990s. On 5 March 1980, Foster set the world water speed record in his “Second Generation” runabout boat at 119.58 mph (192.44 kph).

By the 2000s, he decided to focus on running his crane rental service and went out with back-to-back North American titles in 2001 and 2002, though returned for another championship in 2017.

Between those titles, he also returned to his off-road roots by competing in the Mint 400 and Best In The Desert races like its premier event Vegas to Reno, racing a Class 1 car. In 2013, Foster entered the inaugural Stadium Super Trucks race weekend at the Sand Sports Super Show, finishing eighth in the first two races and sixth in the last. He also took part in the Catalina Ski Race.

Foster continued to race in the UIM F1 H2O World Championship with his last win in 2019. While he stepped back again to focus on his cancer fight, his former F1H2O team-mate Brent Dillard paid tribute at the Grand Prix of France in June by putting his logo on his helmet.

“Always an optimist, hoping to beat his aggressive cancer, Greg refused to sell any of his racing equipment feeling that he would beat the odds and be back on the UIM F1 H2O starting grid in the near future. That hope never came as he passed away peacefully early this week finally reaching the ‘finish line of life,’” recounted a eulogy from F1H2O. “He was a bright shining star in the sport of powerboat racing. Gone too soon and will always be remembered as a funny, generous man, who forced his fellow competitors to push and race hard while on the edge keeping them honest, or, he’d find a way to take the ‘top step’ when the race was done!

“Greg Foster lived life to the fullest in his 63 years, earning glory on the water, while living life with gusto off it as well!”

Greg Foster: 11 December 1959 – 17 July 2023