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Cocoa Beach Carnage: Breaking Down The Breakdowns

Super Boat International offshore racing fans depressed that the next event in Marathon, Fla., is more than a month away should take heart. The time off the racecourse gives a number of teams the long break they need to regroup and repair the damage their equipment sustained during last weekend’s (May 15-17) season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla.

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Like most of the Stock-class catamarans in Cocoa Beach, Papa’s Pilar Rum flew high and ran hard before breaking. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix (click image to enlarge).

The most obvious Cocoa Beach casualty was to Broadco, the Superboat-class MTI catamaran that sustained significant structural and engine damage during a violent rollover. Shortly after Broadco’s accident, the WHM Motorsports Skater Powerboats cat headed back to the docks with electrical problems. Running the rest of the Superboat-class race solo after Broadco’s roll, even class winner Stihl had an engine fire as it idled back to the docks. As for Cleveland Construction, a U-joint failure kept it from completing the first lap.

Perhaps the worst carnage occurred in the Stock class. Before the race had even started, Papa’s Pilar Rum ran into Reliable Services Group, which broke a gearcase during the race. Powerhead problems eventually slowed Papa’s Pilar Rum. (Both boats finished eight of nine laps). Smart Marine Service dropped out with a broken gearcase early in the race and FJ Propeller/GB Racing went out early with engine overheating problems. Stock-class winner Talbot Excavating was the only outboard-powered catamaran to finish all nine laps, but lost a gearcase in practice the day before.

“Last year in Cocoa Beach, the same thing happened in our class,” said Ryan Beckley, the owner and throttleman of Reliable Services Group, which finished second. “That’s just the kind of water that is going to eat up gear boxes. It is what it is.”

As for the Unlimited fleet, all of the boats that started—CMS and Miss GEICO—finished the race. That class saw it’s attrition the day prior with the second CMS cat kept on the sideliness because owner/driver Bob Bull’s back surgery recovery hadn’t progressed as far as he would have hoped and the Envy team discovered metal particles in the oil of one of its BPM drives. Rather than spend the next day-and-a-half understandably depressed, owner/driver Chris Cox and the crew from the team had a healthy water-gun fight on Saturday afternoon. Said Cox, “That improved everyone’s spirits.”

The next SBI race is July 3-5 in Marathon, Fla.

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