As reported first this week on the Hammer Down Boating Facebook page, veteran offshore racer Keith Holmes is taking on the throttling duties for the Cleveland Construction team. Holmes will be joining driver Ed—known to his friends and fans as “Evil Ed”—Smith in the cockpit of the team’s 388 Skater Powerboats catamaran, which will run a brand new pair of 750-hp racing engines from Ilmor Marine. He is replacing Smith’s son, Shawn, who in addition to taking on more responsibility with his family’s marina business will be getting married this summer. (The younger Smith will be the team’s crew chief and will be available to throttle, schedule allowing.)
The Cleveland Construction team plans to run a full SBI Superboat-class season this year. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
In addition to its usual array of Offshore Powerboat Association events it near its home base, the Cleveland Construction team is planning to run a complete Super Boat International season in the Superboat class this year. Even for Holmes, who has competed in offshore racing since 1993, running a full SBI season will be a first—as it will be for the Cleveland Construction outfit. To top of it, Holmes still plans to run several races with his longtime cockpit partner Barry Glovick in Cat Can Do, a 40-foot Skater class. (Fortunately for everyone involved, Cat Can Do typically doesn’t compete in SBI events and not does meet Superboat-class hull specifications so Holmes won’t face the challenge of needing to be in two boats at one time.)
Smith and Holmes have not raced together. They hope to begin practicing in Florida next month. In the meantime, C.K. Motorsports, the high-performance service and rigging shop in Nuncia, Mich., co-owned by Holmes, are rebuilding the catamaran’s drives.
“The drives are all torn down now,” Holmes said. “One of them needed a new prop shaft, and we are installing all new lower cases on them.”
Experienced and talented teammates in their own right, the father-and-son Smith duo get a seasoned and skilled throttleman in Holmes, who ran his first Modified-class race in 1993 and has been competing ever since. Holmes and Glovick successfully campaigned a 35-foot Motion catamaran, the former Udderly Fantastic raceboat owned by dairy farmer Andy Trauth in regional, national and world championship American Power Boat Association competition. With the demise of APBA Offshore LLC in the early 2000s and the decline of offshore racing in general, the Cat Can Do team faded somewhat—but never disappeared—from the offshore racing scene. Holmes and Glovick have continued to run races that appealed to them and fit into their schedules.
Between the Cleveland Construction and Cat Can Do teams, Holmes said he plans to run 12 races this year and that he’s grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to the upcoming season.
“With the Superboat class coming back the way it has, I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Holmes said. “I’ve always been very competitive and very aggressive. I grew up in a big family and I played hockey all my life—I coached hockey for the past 15 years and I stay very active. I run 25 to 30 miles a week and train at the gym every day. I like to keep busy, I think.”