With the July 7 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix less than a month away, veteran offshore racers Chuck Broaddus and Mark Niemann, got in their first practice sessions together earlier this week in the 40-foot Broadco MTI catamaran in St. Clair, Mich. Broaddus and Niemann will compete in the Supercat-class ranks in the Sarasota contest, which is the third stop in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series.
The driver of the boat, Broaddus announced that he was teaming up with Niemann, who will throttle, in mid-May for a 2019 “reunion tour.” In addition competing in Sarasota, Broaddus said that he and Niemann plan to enter the APBA series race in St. Clair, Mich. (July 27-28) and the Race World Offshore contests Nov. 3-10 in Key West, Fla.
Chuck Broaddus (left) and Mark Niemann ran together for the first time this week (click image to enlarge).
The cockpit duo ran the 40-footer on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We are really happy and ready to go for Sarasota,” said Broaddus. “Our plan for Sarasota is to go out, have a good safe race and get some seat time together in a competitive environment, not necessarily go there as a threat to win, though winning is always good. The way you work together in practice is nothing like how you work together in a competitive environment. In Supercat class, the races are won and lost in the turns and we want to take the time to get dialed in together. So we’re not going to ‘rush in’ to our first race.
For a closer look at the Broadco’s new graphics package, check out the slideshow above.
“Our communication in the boat was excellent and Mark was smiling ear to ear,” he continued. “He was completely impressed with the way the MTI drives—it’s on rails. Eventually, I had him accelerating hard coming into the turns and hard on the way out of them, and he was amazed at how well the boat handled through the turns.’
In addition to having Frank McComas, the Broadco team’s engine man, go through the boat’s twin 750-hp engines top to bottom (they earned a clean bill of health) Broaddus had the catamaran completely rewrapped—and had its bottom painted black.
“It’s a more minimalist design than some of the more-involved wraps we’ve done in the past,” he said. “It has a kind-of-cool, old-school theme.”
According to Broaddus, the team is still considering competing in the Roar Offshore event Oct. 10-12 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., which is the final race in the APBA series. They will make that decision after reassessing where they are after competing in St. Clair.
“Mark and I jelled in the boat and that is so important,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to like who you are racing with or it just doesn’t work and you don’t have fun. Mark and his wife, Kim, are fantastic people, and they’ve been in the marine industry and offshore racing forever. We want to be competitive, but we also want our racing together to be less stressful and fun. Ultimately, that’s what we’re after.”
Parked in front of the historic St. Clair Inn, which is currently being renovated and should be ready in time for the St. Clair River Classic, the Broadco MTI catamaran is ready for Sarasota.