Scheduled to start—after a minor delay—in the next hour, today’s Offshore Powerboat Association St. Clair River Classic in Michigan will feature a father-and-son battle in the Super Stock catamaran class. Out of offshore racing since the late 2000s, former Reliable Carriers Super Cat-class competitor Jerry Chastelet will join Gary Ballough in the cockpit of Ballough’s 32-foot GB Racing Doug Wright cat, while his 19-year-old son Taylor Chastelet, will share the cockpit with Chris Schoenbohm in Smart Marine Services, another 32-foot Doug Wright cat. The senior Chastelet will handle the driving duties for Ballough, while his son will throttle—for the first time in an offshore powerboat race—with Schoenbohm behind the wheel.
Ready for the water, Smart Marine Services will have a new throttleman today in young Taylor Chastelet.
“Gary is running 200XS outboards turning 7,600 rpm, and I’m running the 280-hp, 2.5L engines turning 7,600 rpm,” Schoenbohm said. “Our tunnel width is the same, so it should be a good, close battle. We’re exited about it.”
“We have to vote next week on which engines to use for the class,” he added.
Both Ballough and Schoenbohm hold world titles in the class. Taylor ran with Ballough as a driver for much of the 2014 offshore racing season.
For Schoenbohm, getting Taylor up to speed as a throttleman is particularly important as Shaun Torrente, his throttleman so far this season, has commitments overseas racing in the Formula One tunnel boat class. The plan is for Taylor to stand in for Torrente when he isn’t available.
“Taylor has no fear and no anxiety about racing,” Schoenbohm said. “He’s going to be great. He’ll be with me for the next couple of races. That’s the plan.”
Editor’s Note: Look for a wrap-up of today’s OPA St. Clair River classic on speedonthewater.com tomorrow.