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HomeRacingApproaching The Key West Worlds—Four National Champion Perspectives

Approaching The Key West Worlds—Four National Champion Perspectives

In a little more than a month, some 60-plus teams will descend on Key West, Fla., for the Race World Offshore World Championships. Yet just four of them in the American Power Boat Association “Spec” classes—Super Cat, Super Stock, 450R Factory Stock and Mod V—will arrive at the fabled destination with 2023 APBA Offshore National Championship titles to their credit.

The Super Stock national champion Allied Construction Management Services team is approaching Key West in the same consistent way it tackled the 2023 APBA series. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

As even casual fans of the sport know, APBA/RWO world titles in Key West are earned in Wednesday, Friday and Sunday races during the weeklong event. The 2023 national titles, on the other hand, were decided in five races spread over five months. But it’s the frequency of races during the Key West Worlds, as opposed to the actually number, that makes the event so challenging.

You might think that Key West would be the most important event of the year to racers, but believe it or not that depends on the team. Though he’s as competitive as offshore racers get and naturally would like to depart Key West with a world title, throttleman Shaun Torrente of the 2023 Super Stock national champion Allied Construction Management Services team views the Key West Worlds as just three more races in an already excellent season.

“It’s no different to me other than being three races in one week,” said Torrente, who shares the cockpit with team owner/driver Sean Conner. “It’s still some water with some buoys on it. We’ll do our homework, prepare and do our best to win races, just like we always do. If that lines up with the rest of the year, we’ll do just fine.”

Through consistency, commitment and sheer will, MTI’s Taylor Scism spearheaded the now-thriving 450R Factory Stock class.

For Taylor Scism of the 2023 450R Factory Stock national champion TS Motorsports team, claiming her second APBA world title in Key West would cap off more than a fine season she enjoyed with throttleman John Tomlinson. It would put an exclamation point on three years of hard work building the relatively new class.

“Key West will be a very competitive weekend and we’re looking forward to going out there and running our race,” she explained. “We’ve been at it for three years and I feel like every time I get out there I learn something. We have a competitive class. I know we were out there by ourselves three years ago, but there’s seven of us now.”

Though he’d love to back up his 2023 Mod V national championship title, Steve Miklos, the owner and throttleman of the Sun Print team, has not decided if he and driver Steve Fehrmann will compete in Key West. At issue are time and expense.

The owner and throttleman of the 2023 Mod V national champion Sun Print team, Steve Miklos is on the fence about racing in Key West this year.

“For our team, it’s just really hard to be gone for nine days,” he explained. “This Monday through Monday thing is just crazy, and there’s so much down-time in Key West. We’re looking at $9,000 for three bedrooms and a couch. I know a lot people see Key West as a pilgrimage, but it’s not a pilgrimage for me. I live in Florida. I don’t go to Disneyworld, either.

“But we are really torn,” he added. “Right now, the boat is running really well and we have enough ‘spares.’”

Sharing the cockpit with driver Myrick Coil, Tyler Miller of the M CON team fielded two teams this year. (Coil pulled triple-duty this season as he also drives for the Super Stock-class Performance Boat Center team.) In his first Class 1 season with the new Monster Energy/M CON Skater catamaran, he finished on the podium with Coil in the last three races and claimed fourth place overall. Running the smaller M CON/Monster Energy Skater cat with Coil, he also earned a national championship in the Super Cat class.

As he is in everything he commits to, Super Cat-class M CON/Monster Energy team owner/throttleman Tyler Miller is all in for Key West.

It was the team’s second Super Cat national title in as many years. Plus, the M CON/Monster Energy cockpit duo and crew also claimed the Super Cat world championship last year in Key West. That makes back-to-back national and world titles within reach for the team, a fact that is not lost on Miller, who is eager to head for the city at the end of the road for the final Super Cat races of the season.

“Key West is the end-all and be-all in offshore racing,” Miller said. “As we’ve all heard for many years, ‘To be the best you have to win in Key West’ and that is exactly the mission we are on to close out 2023. Coming off the national championship high our team is poised to take on the best teams in offshore, while never losing focus on the task at hand—finish.

“Our emphasis coming into Key West is no different than our approach to running an entire national championship series,” he continued. “Make the start, finish on the podium and put our team in a position to be back-to-back world champions.”

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