The father-and-son team behind the widely popular bright-green Cleveland Construction Talon, Ed and Shawn Smith announced today that they’ve acquired a 388 Skater Powerboats catamaran to compete in the 2014 Superboat class on the Super Boat International (SBI) circuit.
According to Ed Smith, the owner of Rivers Bend Marina in St. Clair, Mich., the Cleveland Construction Offshore Racing team is shooting to have the boat ready for the SBI season opener in Charlotte Harbor, Fla., in April.
“The buzz over the new boat is overwhelming to the team,” said Smith, who was recently inducted into the 2013 Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame in Michigan. “This is going to be a phenomenal addition to our program. It’s going to be a step up and we’re going to have some learning to do. The competition in the class is so close. We can’t wait.
“Everyone here has such a passion for racing and we love the sport,” he continued. “But none of this would be possible without the support of Cleveland Construction. Mark Small and his company are what made this new boat happen. I can’t say enough about all of our sponsors honestly. We’ve developed quite a relationship with all of them, and we hope to continue our success with the new boat.”
Formerly the Talk’N Trash 38-footer that Vinnie Rifice and Jimmy Winters raced in the Superboat 750 class, the boat, which will be powered by a pair of Scorpion Racing engines, is being outfitted with additional safety equipment before heading to the paint shop soon. Smith said the graphics, which he promised to be flashy, are being done in the sponsor’s corporate colors—silver, burgundy and black.
So gone is the green from the team’s well-used 1995 37-foot Talon cat, which Smith purchased in 2003. At the moment Smith said he doesn’t have any plans for the Talon, which the team raced on both the Offshore Powerboat Association and SBI racing events over past decade. He did say he’d be open to offers if anyone is interested in racing it or turning it into a pleasure boat.
Although Smith admits he’s going to miss the power—the Talon has a pair of 1,000-plus-hp engines—he’s looking forward to learning the boat and having a canopy over his head for safety purposes. He also can’t wait to race against guys he’s know for many years such as Robert “JR” Noble of Team Stihl and Tony Marcantonio of JD Byrider.
“From what we’re hearing, there could be as many as 12 cats in the class next season,” Smith said. “This could be some of the best racing this sport has seen in years.”