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Commentary: Unlimited Attrition, Unlimited Expense

News of Unlimited class team owners planning a move to Mercury Racing 1100 engines—or some derivation thereof—as spec/max power for the 2019 season received a rocky reception from offshore powerboat racing fans in favor of a truly “unlimited” category. Social media exploded with comments on the plan, as did the offshoreonly.com message boards. Rarely does news from the offshore racing world spark such spirited debate among its followers.


Competitors in offshore racing’s fastest and most exotic class proposed a power decrease for the 2019 season. Here’s why it makes sense. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

While I’m not qualified to speak to the specifics of the proposed power solution, I have to admit I was gob-smacked by the negative fan reaction to it. Because to my way of watching, the Unlimited class has been underwhelming for years.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the speed, the hardware and the courage and skill of the people involved. I am lucky to count many Unlimited-class racers as friends. Anyone questioning their bravery in the cockpit or commitment to the sport is wildly mistaken.

But as I read comment after comment lamenting the Unlimited-class power proposal, I honestly wondered if those opining had been watching the same product on the racecourse that I had.

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Related Story: Offshore Racing’s Unlimited Class Unified To Decrease Power For 2019 Season