Like all teams in the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 World Championship Series produced by P1 Offshore/Powerboat P1, 222 Offshore Australia hasn’t competed since July 3 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. The team is in Michigan City, Ind., this weekend for the Great Lakes Grand Prix—the third of eight races in the Class 1 series—on Lake Michigan.
The 222 Offshore Australia team will be back in Class 1 action this weekend in Michigan City, Ind. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Skye Gregory of Summyt Sports Marketing, the Australia-based media relations firm working with 222 Offshore Australia, recently caught up with team crew chief Peter Muddy” McGrath and asked him three questions. Here’s what McGrath, an accomplished offshore racer in his own right, had to say.
How do you feel the year is going for the team?
We’ve had a little bit of a tough start, but really, the boat has performed well given it was parked up for two years without being touched. It’s always hard when you’re based in another country and you’re trying to run a boat in a competition from the other side of the world. We fly into the U.S. about one to two weeks prior to each race and then spend a week after the race doing mechanical checks before heading home to Australia. The first race in Cocoa Beach we had a great start, but we had a mechanical failure a few laps from the finish, which ended the race for us. It’s a long way to come not to finish a race
Once we got back to the workshop it was a scramble to arrange the gear to be fixed, then we had to leave them with it, fly home and then we flew back and scrambled to rebuild before heading off to the next race. So it’s difficult and not always easy but we make it work and we’ve built a good network of suppliers in Florida, so that certainly helps.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Michigan City race?
The Michigan City race is a little different to what we normally do. First, it’s a lake. But it’s also freshwater, so we sit lower in the water than we would in saltwater. Conditions wise, our boat is ideal in rougher weather, so we always like a bit of chop on the water. It’s funny, because most people when they see it’s rough always say ‘conditions will be tough out there, I bet you guys wish it was nice and smooth’, but the reality is that we like it rougher. In 2019 we had a little chop on the day, so it wasn’t too bad—because it’s freshwater, the chop gives us some air under the boat and it doesn’t suck to the water, so we tend to be a little quicker. In a perfect world if we could order the conditions this Sunday, we’d have a strong wind come in it’ll be a nice rough day on the water. But whatever the conditions, we adapt and change our setup to suit, so let’s see what the day brings.
Captured here with 222 Offshore Australia team owner/driver Darren Nicholson (left) McGrath is bullish on the team’s prospects for a Class 1 world title
You finished second in the 2019 Class 1 Championship Series behind the Victory Team. Without them racing this season, how do you feel your chances are at taking the championship?
We certainly had a strong end to the year in 2019 and we felt we were competitive in the latter races, so going into 2020, we were going to build on that momentum. Of course, in 2020, the whole world came to a halt and we were grounded in Australia. With the gear left standing for two years without any attention, we’ve had some gremlins pop up in the boat and it cost us the win in Cocoa Beach. But we’re starting to build that momentum again, but racing is certainly unpredictable, so anything can happen. At this stage, we have as good a chance as any of the teams to take out the Class 1 Championship—we’re all competitive so it’s shaping up to be a good year here in the U.S.
The month-long dry spell for Class 1 competition ends Sunday.
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