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Clearwater ‘Nationals’ Organizers Eyeing Record-Setting 47-Boat Turnout

The owner of the Cox Group, a North Carolina-based marketing, advertising and media relations company, Rodrick Cox has been involved with the Clearwater ‘Nationals’ in Southwest Florida since the first Super Boat International contest there in 2008. And he cannot remember seeing a turnout of teams as large as that of this year’s September Race World Offshore-produced, September 23-25 event, which presently sits at 45 boats including two teams listed as “pending.”

Jackhammer is one of nine Super Stock-class teams set to compete Clearwater, Fla., this Sunday. Photos from the 2022 St. Petersburg Grand Prix by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“I don’t think SBI ever had this many boats in Clearwater,” said Cox, who in addition to his role with the Cox Group serves as race director for Key West, Fla.-based Race World Offshore.

The Clearwater event is the seventh of eight races in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series and the fifth of eight contests in the Class 1 World Championship Series. As it has all season, the Super Stock class leads the Clearwater fleet count with nine registered teams. Also worth noting is the seven-registered-boat Super Cat class and the five-boat Class 1 category, both of which are slated to match their season-highs to date.

So, too, will the 450R Factory Stock class, with the GC Racing, KLOVAR Motorsports and TS Motorsports teams set to compete this Sunday. That means for the second time this season teams in the class will be able to score national championship points, as APBA rules dictate a three-boats-per class minimum for points accrual.

“I’m very excited about that,” said Taylor Scism, who drives the TS Motorsports MTI 390X catamaran alongside throttleman John Tomlinson. “The rest of the season should be great.”

Given that the Clearwater happening is the first Race World Offshore-produced event of the year, Larry Bleil, who founded and heads the organization, is particularly gratified by the registration numbers.

“I think this is the biggest Clearwater race fleet, ever,” he said. “Everyone here is excited for this weekend, and then it’s on to the offshore world championships in Key West.”

With rookie driver Willy Cabeza and veteran throttleman Gary Ballough sharing the cockpit of the GC Racing MTI 390X catamaran and running against fellow MTI raceboats KLOVAR and TS Motorsports, the 450R Factory Class will have its second three-boat class of the season.

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