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  • Paul Kitagaki Jr. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    H1 Unlimited officials pulled the plug on holding local hydroplane races this year. Pictured is the final race during the Big Wake Weekend at Folsom Lake on June 2, 2013 in Sacramento, Calif.

  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Steve David guides the Oh Boy! Oberto Miss Madison boat to victory in the first H1 Unlimited Hydroplane race at Folsom Lake since 1967.

  • Placer County Sheriff’s Office

    Robert Richards, Jr.

Folsom Lake hydroplane racing promoter arrested

Published: Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 - 12:30 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 - 12:41 pm

The promoter of last summer’s hydroplane racing on Folsom Lake called “Big Wake Weekend” was arrested for defrauding the event vendors.

Robert Richards Jr., 54, was arrested by Placer County Sheriff’s detectives on Tuesday after a search warrant was served at his Folsom home. He was booked on suspicion of defrauding by false pretenses and for passing bad checks.

The sheriff’s office investigation began when vendors at the three-day event of speedboat racing, picnics, live music and beer gardens reported they were not getting paid. One man owed $200,000 was paid by a check that bounced, according to a sheriff’s office press release.

An ensuing investigation turned up more vendors allegedly defrauded by Richards. He has since been released from jail after posting bail.

Richards has many years of experience promoting NASCAR, IndyCar and other motorsports, according to a Bee story prior to the hydroplane event. After seeing a hydroplane demonstration on Folsom Lake several years ago, he decided to bring the races to the lake.

The event was held at Granite Bay and featured bleachers, a media tower, food and other vendors and a stage.


Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

Read more articles by Bill Lindelof



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