After two days of high-intensity racing along the one-mile course in front of Captain Ron’s in Sunrise Beach, Mo., there were several awesome runs that stood out during the 28th annual Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. In the end, the overall Top Gun champion was awarded to Don Onken’s American Ethanol Mystic Powerboats catamaran, which posted a 217-mph top speed on Saturday. The run—the only one attempted by driver Slug Hefner and throttleman John Cosker—led to a disqualification that was eventually overturned after the team protested the decision (read the story).
While the event’s highest honor went to American Ethanol for the second straight year (in 2015 the boat ran 208 mph), the highlights of Sunday’s competition came from a couple of not-so-new boats along with some first-timers who won their classes. Following is a quick recap.
• The blazing Black Thunder. In terms of Shootout highlights, the accomplishment of Minnesota’s Dennis Parvey, who drives his 2000 43-foot Black Thunder with his son, Jason, by his side, is one of the most impressive feats in the history of the event, not just this year. The Parveys, who ran 151 mph on Saturday and blew that out of the water right off the bat on Sunday with a 159-mph run, smashed the event’s fastest V-bottom mark with an incredible 165-mph top speed.
According to Jason, the boat could probably run a little faster, but he and his dad are extremely satisfied with their Sunday speed.
“We were fully expecting 155 mph and thought that if we could hit 160 mph, we’d be real happy,” Jason said. “There’s still some left, but 165 mph is pretty awesome. My favorite part is that between us and Garth and Jim, there was a couple of old boats that kicked some ass.”
Check out more images from the last day of the 2016 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.
• Tagge and Melley add two mph. Following up their 192-mph run in their 2002 Skater Powerboats 36 Classic catamaran on Saturday, throttleman Garth Tagge and driver Jim Melley managed to add a couple of ticks to the speedometer on Sunday by posting a 194-mph top speed to record the second-fastest run of the weekend. Powered by a pair of 1,500-plus-hp Smith Power engines that were upgraded recently by engine guru Carson Brummett, Tagge and Melley laid down a perfect pass on the less-attended day of the Shootout.
“Jim and I have spent a number of years getting the boat to handle right—it hasn’t happened overnight as we’ve done a lot of things over the years to the boat,” Tagge said. “The 194-mph run felt good; it wasn’t scary at all. We think we have some more there, but we’re just glad the boat is back on the trailer and it didn’t break.”
Tagge and Melley both gave credit to Brummett for his assistance with the power in the boat. In fact, Tagge, who is from Georgia, said the engines built by the late Brad Smith were already at a high level, but that Brummett took them to “stratospheric levels.”
• Sunsation’s center console challenge. When Sunsation Powerboats decided to up the ante for the center console category at the Shootout, the Algonac, Mich., company wasn’t thinking about a particular Cigarette Racing Team 41-footer powered by Mercury Racing 1100 engines that would come out and set a blistering pace at 104 mph (read the story). Still, when company founder Wayne Schaldenbrand took to the course on Sunday in a 32 CCX with triple Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines, his 93-mph top speed was impressive.
“We’ve been coming to the Shootout for many years, and it seems like every year it gets a little better,” said Schaldenbrand, who was pleased that Sunsation’s 34 CCX with the same power package reached 88 mph on Saturday. “The boat ran right where we wanted it—we’re very happy with how our boats ran this weekend.”
• Single-engine V-bottom honors. With a new addition to the individual Top Gun awards, the single-engine V-bottom category ended in a tie this year. Michigan’s Tyler Crockett laid down a 118-mph top speed in his 26-foot Joker, while Colorado’s Michael “Doc” Janssen and North Carolina’s Brian Forehand ran 118 mph in Janssen’s 29-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats canopied boat. Both competitors were happy with the results and even had a little fun during the awards ceremony (see picture at right).
• First-timers leave with awards. Steve Cleinmark of St. Charles, Ill., said he had a great time participating in the event in his Cougar 22 MTR powered by twin Mercury Racing 2.5 engines. The first-time Shootout participant took on the one-mile course and reached 114 mph and 116 mph.
Other first-time Shootout competitors Kristy and Kevin Kaczan of Michigan had a blast after running twice on Sunday in Unleashed, their 36-foot Cigarette Racing V-bottom. The husband-and-wife team reached 109 mph and 111 mph, and said they were more nervous about the staging and the start then they were about running down the course.
“The run was great—it was cool to see the fans out there,” Kristy said. “We’ll be back next year for sure. And next time we’ll actually practice and test some props. The best part was the camaraderie and support. Everyone here was so nice.”
For complete results from the 28th annual event, click here.