Although the outcomes are technically unofficial pending the official results from the Offshore Powerboat Association, today’s Lake Race presented by Performance Boat Center on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks provided an extremely exciting second round of action in the American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship series produced in conjunction with OPA and Powerboat P1.
From the Super Cat class (above) to the speed-bracketed classes, the racing at the 2019 Lake Race in Central Missouri was extra competitive. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
With more than 50 boats on hand for the race that took place on a new course with new host locations—Camden on the Lake Resort and Shady Gators in Lake Ozark, Mo.—the seventh annual event, which was produced by a dedicated group of board members along with longtime organizer Alvin Heathman, did not disappoint. Some of the closest races of the day came early on in the spec classes as well as in the always-competitive single-engine V-bottom classes.
In the Pro Stock V class, which had five entries, the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team’s Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith rebounded from what they said was a disappointing second-place performance in Cocoa Beach to claim the victory in Central Missouri.
The LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team ran a strong race to win the Pro Stock V class.
“I think we had her dialed in today,” said Lilly who was already on the road heading to the team’s shop in Maryland following Saturday’s awards ceremony at Camden on the Lake. “I liked the new course—it gave the drivers a little more to do and was little more fun because of it. The guys from the Play It Again team gave it a good run—they’re definitely getting better. And we were happy to see that the Fastboys team was OK after rolling the boat earlier in the race.”
In the similar and just-as-competitive Super Vee Extreme-class race, the Marker 17 Marine team of throttleman Vinnie Diorio and driver Brian Forehand walked away with the win ahead of Boatfloater.com and JRA Boat Sales.
In the highly anticipated Class One International race, Miss GEICO, 222 Offshore and Victory all ran new Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines in their Victory Team-built catamarans, and the No. 3 Victory Team boat driven by Salem Al Adidi and throttled by Eisa Al Ali prevailed in the 10-lap race. The Miss GEICO boat, according to the team’s crew chief Gary Stray, suffered propeller damage from some debris in the lake that eventually forced the team’s Steve Curtis and James Sheppard out of the race.
Although the Miss GEICO team looked good racing around the new Lake Race course, one of its propellers was damaged by some debris in the water, forcing the team to exit the race early.
“We’re all very excited about the win, especially after everything we went through to get the boat to the race,” said Ricky Maldonado, a Florida-based Victory Team representative who was integral in getting the No. 3 catamaran to the race after the boat was caught up in permit issues in Mississippi. “In the end it worked out, but for a while there we weren’t sure if we’d even make it.”
Maldonado said his Victory Team counterparts also were hard at work in Missouri helping the Jackhammer team of Reese Langhelm and Brad Wade get ready for its first Super Stock race of the year, and providing the FJ Propeller team of Gary Ballough and Darren Kittredge any assistance when necessary.
In the end, the Super Stock victory went to local racers Casey Boaz and Rob Unnerstall in the CR Racing Doug Wright catamaran with Shadow Pirate—the class winner in the season opener in Cocoa Beach—taking second and Performance Boat Center’s Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams finishing third ahead of FJ Propeller and Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping.
CR Racing’s Casey Boaz and Rob Unnerstall ran a flawless race to win the Super Stock class at the 2019 Lake Race.
During the day’s fourth race, seven Super Cat class competitors took to the course, and the team that drew the pole position placement ended up taking home the victory. With Anthony Smith on the throttles and owner Aaron Hope at the wheel, the AMH Motorsports 38-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran ran away from the competition for most of the flat-water race.
“We needed to win this race, especially after we drew the pole position.,” Hope said after the race. “It was a fun course with a couple of dog legs in it—it took more driver skill than some of the straight-down-the-beach courses we’re used to. I’m really proud of this whole team. They spent so many hours getting the boat ready for this weekend. We couldn’t do this without each of them.
AMH finished ahead of the Pro Floors Racing and Performance Boat Center teams as the apparent third-place finisher, WHM Motorsports, was penalized for missing a buoy.
“Our day started great but we kind of blew the first turn and were unable to catch back up,” said Grant Bruggemann, throttleman for the Pro Floors Racing MTI owned by driver Wayne Valder that finished second to follow up its first-place performance at the season opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla. “About halfway through the race we had a water hose leak so we took it easier and were fortunate to come away with a second. We definitely had fun this year at the lake. The new venue worked well and it seemed like everyone enjoyed it and the new course. We’re going to keep pushing to get better for the next race.”
In the speed-bracketed classes, the racing was tight with the Class 2 checkered flag going to the Mom Ain’t Happy team of Scott Blumberg and Andy Sanders and the Class 3 victory going to Louis Giancontieri and Val Fiorillo in Giancontieri’s Strictly Business Fountain. The winners in Class 4 and Class 5 were Simmons Marine’s Jim Simmons and Jason Zolecki, and Specialized Racing’s Mark Gallagher, respectively.
Check out more images from today’s racing on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
In the Class 6 action, the Deception Offshore team of Jesse Schmig and Travis Lofland edged out the Smith Brothers team of Pete and Rich Smith and the third-place Rum Runner team of Mike McColgan and Fran Vellutato.
The Class 7 winners—Tomahawk’s Scott French and Jeremy Bisson—ran uncontested as did the Pontoon-class winner, David Doris, and the winners of the Vee Extreme (Knucklehead Instigator) and Unlimited (Team CRC) classes.
“The new location was great,” said Lake Race board president Jeff Dorhauer, who is the fire chief of Osage Beach Fire Protection District on Lake of the Ozarks. “I don’t think the old course at the dam could have accommodated as many boats as we had this year. We’re very happy with how everything came together, but we also know we have room for improvement next year.”
The third event in the APBA Offshore Championship series—the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix—takes place July 6-7 on Florida’s West Coast.
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