In a major way, both the ALEX AND ANI and Miss GEICO offshore racing teams could claim victory at last weekend’s Offshore Powerboat Association season-opener in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. Both finished the race—a feat neither Extreme-class (Unlimited-class in Super Boat International parlance)—was able to pull off in 2015. And while Miss GEICO throttleman Scott Begovich and driver Marc Granet took the checkered lag in the team’s 44-foot catamaran in OPA’s rough-water contest at the historic offshore racing venue in the Garden State, ALEX AND ANI throttleman/owner Jimmy Cazzani, who piloted the boat with driver/engine builder Herb Stotler, was encouraged by the result.
A mistake in a turn cost ALEX AND ANI the early lead it had over Miss GEICO in last weekend’s OPA Point Pleasant Grand Prix. Photo courtesy/copyright Cody Edmunds/Edmunds Photography.
“I’m convinced they had nothing on us,” said Cazzani, who in the weeks leading up to the Point Pleasant Grand Prix waged a good-natured war of words on Facebook with Begovich. “We were in the lead for awhile. If Herb didn’t get hurt, it would have been an epic race.”
According to Cazzani, Stotler’s harness loosened near the midpoint of the race.
“I think on lap two we got by Miss GEICO and stayed there for a while,” said Cazzani. “However by lap four or five Herb’s belt had loosened up. The poor kid was bouncing around like a pinball in the cockpit.
“Naturally I’m like, ‘Suck it up’ but we did slow down a little, he got adjusted and our race resumed,” he continued. “You should have seen his helmet after the race—the top was all scratched up from banging on the canopy mechanism. Thankfully, Herb was OK other than a few black and blues on Monday. He’s tough.”
According to Cazzani, lap traffic, combined with a driving error, cost ALEX AND ANI the lead on the sixth lap.
Begovich agreed. “I think they had a little faux pas when they got behind one of the little boats in a turn,” he said. “In that kind of water, it’s really hard to make up ground. You just hold your position.
“That’s my hometown—I had almost like a high school football reunion in the pits,” he added. “It was rough water, Jersey water, water I’m comfortable with.”
After the race, Cazzani said he discovered what he believed was paint from Miss GEICO on the 40-foot ALEX AND ANI cat.
“I saw this blue and yellow slime on the left side of our boat presumably left there by Granet as payback for a hose-down,” he said.
Early in the race, Miss GEICO took a hose-down from ALEXI AND ANI.
“It wasn’t from us,” said Begovich. “We accidentally bumped another boat in the crane area. I was hoping it was ALEX AND ANI, but it wasn’t.”
The next time the teams meet will be June 19 at the OPA Atlantic City Grand Prix in New Jersey.
“We’re going to smoke Miss GECIO for sure,” said Cazzani. “We’re not hiding.
“I’ve obtained a Miss GEICO RC boat I intend to use it as a voodoo doll and I’ve added a psychic and mind-reader to the team,” he added, and then laughed. “Nothing in the OPA or SBI rules prevents this, so know I’ll know what Marc and Scotty are up to even before they know.”
Told of Cazzani’s new additions, Begovich laughed. “He’s going to need a lot more than that,” he said.
Cazzani’s new secret weapon—a “voodoo doll” Miss GEICO RC boat—in its rivalry against Begovich and Grant.