Though they run in significantly different classes, the Superboat Production 3-class Black Pearl and Extreme-class Twisted Metal teams have much more binding them together than keeping them apart. First and foremost, the teams share throttleman Billy Glueck who runs with driver/owner Gary Jones in the Black Pearl team’s 38-Fountain V-bottom powered by twin Mercury Racing 525 EFI engines, and with driver/owner Brett Lee Furshman in the Twisted Metal boat, a 40-foot Fountain with a pair of 850-hp engines.
The Black Pearl team heads into the first race of the SBI World Championships tomorrow not just as the 2014 National Champion in the Production 3 class, but as the 2013 SBI World Champion in the class. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
To top it off, when the first two races of the annual Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., kick off tomorrow, both teams will head into their contests as defending world champions in their respective classes.
For Jones and Glueck, who also claimed the 2014 SBI National Championship title in Clearwater, Fla., this year’s season was nearly perfect. In every SBI race of the year with the exception of the Pensacola, Fla., event, the Black Pearl team claimed first place. Competing at the SBI events in Sarasota (Fla.) and Clearwater, Twisted Metal twice finished second to the Hooters/Instigator team, which earned the 2014 National Championship in its class.
With a record of two losses in two races against the Instigator team this season, the Twisted Metal team is hoping for a reversal of fortune in Key West this week.
Tomorrow, Black Pearl will run in the first race and Twisted Metal will compete in the second. If all goes well, that gives Glueck about an hour to get from one Fountain raceboat to the next. Asked if the fatigue of running back-to-back ever becomes an issue for him, Glueck laughed.
“It’s funny, every time I do the two-race thing I wonder how much more I can keep doing it,” he said. “But it’s fun and we all have a good time when we’re out there. And it’s good for me to warm in up in Gary’s boat first.”
“I have the best throttleman in the business, in my opinion,” said Jones, who added that today’s test sessions in the Black Pearl went well and created no need for major repairs in the engine compartment—always a major post-testing bonus in Key West’s brutal three-race format. “He’s a good teacher. Our biggest challenge is that we have the smallest power of any V-bottom in the class, so we have to make it up in the turns.
“We prefer rough water because, basically, we have the balls to run in it,” Jones added, then laughed. “We have another competitor down here, Strictly Business, and they have the balls to run in it, too. So we’re looking forward to running against them. We just loaned them the power steering pump off one of our spare engines.”
On the Twisted Metal side of the equation, Glueck said that he and Furshman are eager to mix it up with driver John Stanch and throttleman Giancarlo Cangiano in Hooters/Instigator, another 40-foot, which is powered by twin 700-plus-hp engines. (The boat is owned by famed offshore racer Peter Meyer.)
“I think it will be a heck of a race (series) no matter what,” said Glueck. “Neither the boats nor the people in them are adversely affected by rough conditions. Both crews can run in anything. It’s going to come down to propeller choice, setup and a little luck.”