No stranger to success in Key West, Fla., veteran offshore powerboat racing throttleman John Tomlinson departed the place last November with a couple of titles to his credit. Tomlinson claimed a Union International Motonautique world championship in the 450R Factory Stock class with Taylor Scism, his TS Motorsports teammate, in an MTI 390XR catamaran. He also earned a Race World Offshore Key West Championship title that week in Class 1 with Carlos de Quesada in Allegra Motorsports, a 50-foot Victory catamaran.
Sharing the cockpit of the Allegra Motorsports team’s Victory catamaran with owner/driver Carlo de Quesada, throttleman John Tomlinson earned a 2022 Race World Offshore Key West Championship in Class 1. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
For most offshore racers, such success constitutes one heck of a weekend. For Tomlinson, it was business as usual. But none of that business is accidental.
Like his friend Shaun Torrente, a fellow offshore competitor and three-time F1 H2O tunnel-boat racing world champion, Tomlinson doesn’t simply preach the gospel of practice and testing. He lives it. Scism, who headed from St. Louis, Mo., for Lake X in St. Cloud, Fla., for more testing of her third new raceboat in as many years, said they put approximately 70 hours on their 39-footer in 2022.
Of those hours, roughly nine were accumulated during actual races. The rest? Testing and practice.
John Tomlinson and Taylor Scism earned the first UIM world title in the 450R Factory Stock class in 2022.
“I think we put just as many total hours on the first raceboat,” Tomlinson said. “We started practicing with the new one three weeks ago at the Lake of the Ozarks. Randy (Scism) ran it with me.”
At Lake X, the team will set up a buoy course. The plan is turn lap after lap.
“The more time you get in any raceboat, the better,” he continued. “Taylor doesn’t need me to coach her anymore—we’re past that—but we still need to practice.”
On the Class 1 side, Tomlinson said that he and his Allegra Motorsports teammate are approaching the season in much the same way. He expects to begin rigorously testing the catamaran with de Quesada about a month from now in advance of the 2023 Class 1 World Championship series season-opener, May 18-21, in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
In both classes, Tomlinson explained, extensive practice and testing sessions would be impossible without reliable power, meaning supercharged Mercury Racing 450R outboard engines in 450R Factory Stock and turbocharged 1100 Comp engines in Class 1.
“You can just run and run those outboards forever,” he said. “Same with the 1100s—unless you burn them down with overheating or submerge them in a roll-over, you can run those engines for two seasons without having to rebuild them.”
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