Although today’s 31st annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri was shut down early when one of the spectators in the massive fleet was reported missing and divers were sent in to find the man, there were several notable runs to bring some positive news to the day.
Ron Szolack’s Skater Powerboats 388 was clocked at 169 mph during the first day of the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri. Photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
With a 169-mph pass, Ron Szolack and Myrick Coil recorded the top speed on Saturday in Szolack’s Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran powered by twin Sterling Performance Engines. California’s Dave Megugorac laid down the next closest speed at 156 mph in his DCB Performance Boats M44 Widebody catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines.
“We just ran kind of conservative our first time down the course—it was Ron’s time in the boat and I was still getting my feet wet so we took it somewhat easy,” Coil said. “We were going to run again but didn’t get a chance to with the course being closed for the first time in the event’s 31-year history because of an incident in the spectator fleet. We plan on making a couple of runs tomorrow and will be happy if we can get it to 180 mph. After watching videos of our run today, I know I can loosen up the boat a little more.”
Although he’s glad that he and Szolack are in the position their in, Coil knows even a 180-mph pass tomorrow may not hold up to win the overall Top Gun title as the four-time defending overall Top Gun champion—American Ethanol, Don Onken’s 51-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran—has the potential to run more than 200 mph. While the team’s only run of the day fell short of its expectations with a 143-mph pass after mechanical issues slowed the boat down, driver Tony Battiato and throttleman John Cosker were planning to make a second pass, but never got the opportunity because of the course closure and now have to wait until Sunday to give it another go.
Check out the photos of Saturday’s Shootout action in the slideshow above.
In the V-bottom field, Tyler Crockett of Michigan recorded an impressive 128-mph top speed in his 26-foot Joker Powerboats model, while Ben Robertson ran 126 mph in a Fountain Powerboats 42 Lightning that his company, BAR Marine Group, recently repowered with Mercury Racing 1550/1350 engines. Robertson was a bit disappointed as the boat went into guardian mode during the only pass he made today, but he’s expecting to come out and lay down a much bigger number on Sunday.
At 123 mph, the fastest outboard-powered catamaran speed of the day went to the father-and-daughter team of Randy and Taylor Scism of MTI in its twin Mercury Racing 450R engine-powered 340X.
“We were thinking that 120 mph would be a good speed and we went out and ran 123 mph so we were very happy with that,” said Taylor Scism, who ran the Shootout with her father—the owner and founder of MTI and the original Shootout Top Gun champion—for the first time last year and went 116 mph in a 340X with twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines.
Amongst the event’s pontoon fleet, which seems to be increasing every year, Brad Rowland, who was inducted into the Bob Morgan Memorial Hall of Fame earlier in the week, ran 112 mph, which is two mph faster than the speed he ran in 2017 on the Shootout’s new three-quarter-mile course.
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