As it happens, the best race of the 2015 Super Boat International Key West World Championships was the last race of the weekend. Today’s Superboat-class contest saw nine catamarans take the green flag. And before the first lap was finished, there were eight cats in the field as Key West first-timers HP Mafia barrel-rolled shortly after completing the first turn. Unhurt in the crash, the father-and-son duo of Anthony Smith and Anthony Smith, Jr., exited their 38-foot Skater through its bottom escape hatch.
The last race of the 2015 SBI Key West Worlds delivered the closest competition of the event, as witnessed by this photo of Cleveland Construction and WHM Motorsports dicing it out in the early going. Photos copyright Jason Johnson/Speedonthewater.com
The incident didn’t affect any of the other teams, particularly front-runners Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller in Mauff’s 40-foot Skater WHM Motorsports, and Ed Smith and throttleman Keith Holmes in the Cleveland Construction 38-foot Skater. They were followed by driver J.R. Noble and throttleman Mark Kowalski in Stihl, a 38-foot Skater. On the second lap, Cleveland Construction edged its way past WHM Motorsports.
That was the way things stayed through the early portion of the 9.75-lap race on the 4.5-mile course until Stihl overtook WHM and began cutting down the distance between itself and Cleveland Construction. Between turns No. 1 and No. 2, as well on the first third of the straight following turn No. 2, sea conditions saw all of the cats catching big air and landing—at least at times—on the edge of control.
By the last lap and three quarters, Stihl had whittled Cleveland Construction’s lead to three or four seconds and when the checkered flag came out it was less than that. Still, Cleveland Construction finished first.
Said Holmes of Stihl’s chase to catch Cleveland Construction: “They were the ones who had to catch us so they were the ones who had to do all the pushing.”
“That was one hell of a race,” said Holmes. “We saw Stihl coming in our rearview mirrors, but we were keeping what we had to do out in front of us. They were the ones who had to catch us so they were the ones who had to do all the pushing. Once we got past that last hole on the last lap I kept it pinned all the way to finish line. I told Ed that’s what I was going to and he said, ‘Do whatever it takes.’ It was an awesome race, and Ed did a great job.”
While the official results for the 2015 SBI Key West Worlds are not in, WHM Motorsports looks to be the 2015 Superboat-class World Champion with a second-place finish Wednesday, a first-place finish on Friday and a third-place finish today.
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