Though Team Defalco’s New York-based owner/driver Mike Falco and throttleman Chris Hanley of New Zealand had hoped to be up and running in the Class 1 World Championship series a few races into the eight-contest season, supply chain delays and a shortage of qualified labor have sidelined them so far. The fifth Class 1 event of year, the Baystar Clearwater ‘Nationals’ in Southwest Florida produced by Race World Offshore is on tap this weekend, but the team’s 47-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines still won’t be ready in time.
If current plans hold, Team Defalco—the latest addition to the Class 1 ranks—will take to the Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach racecourse next month.
Yet Class 1 fans should have a chance to catch the team in action before they head for the final three races of the series in Key West, Fla., in early November. Falco and Hanley are planning to debut the 47-footer in Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach—yet another Southwest Florida offshore racing event—on October 8.
Produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association, the Fort Myers Beach event is the last of eight races in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. While it is not on the Class 1 schedule, the contest will present a good opportunity for Falco and Hanley to get familiar with one another and their canopied raceboat in a less-pressure environment.
“Their plan is to get started in a low-profile race—at least for Class 1—like Fort Myers Beach rather than a competitive Class 1 series event like Key West,” said Roy Mantle of P1 Offshore, which is producing the Class 1 World Championship Series. “The boat will be ready to race by Fort Myers so they are going to use that as an opportunity to get some practice.”
Though it’s far from certain, Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach fans may get to watch two Class 1 teams in action. Owner/driver Jeff Stevenson and Micheal Stancombe of JBS Racing, which runs a 42-foot MTI catamaran with twin 1,100-hp V-16 engines from Detroit-based Sixteen Power, are considering signing up for the event.
“It’s still a maybe,” said Stancombe.