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Desert Storm Changing Shootout Course to Three-Quarter-Mile Format

Following a conference call with committee members who were brought in to advise on the top-speed portion of the Desert Storm Poker Run, Phantom Productions—the producers of the popular event in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.—announced it is going to change the distance of the course from one mile to the three-quarter-mile format that the country’s other notable top-speed events switched to in 2017.

dspr m31 shootout

Steve Sundling plans to run Captain Hook, his DCB M31 Widebody catamaran, in the Desert Storm Poker Run Shootout. Photo by Erick Bryner/Firedrill Productions

“It was unanimous that we change to the three-quarter-mile course for both safety reasons and for continuity with other events around the country,” said Christina Crane, who runs Phantom Productions, which took over Desert Storm from LakeRacer LLC in May 2017 (read the story), with Jimmy Nichols. “Jimmy and I wanted to come up with a game plan on how to better the shootout portion of our event so we invited a group of participants, sponsors and non participants to join five members of our staff, including me, Jimmy, our safety director and our shootout organizer, to provide quality feedback.”

Crane said that along with the change in course length, the tech inspections for this year’s shootout are going to be done on land before the boats go in the water for the Saturday’s spectator-friendly event, which caps off a full calendar of events that begin on April 18.

“Everything is on track regarding the event,” Crane said. “The welcome party is going to be at Horizon Motorsports and we’re working to build an awesome ‘Eye of the Storm’ event in the middle of Thursday’s Street Party. We’ve made some major changes, such as moving to the London Bridge Resort (read the story), and we’ve also been changing little things that may not be noticeable but should improve the participant experience.”

According to Steve Sundling, the Southern California owner of a DCB M31 Widebody catamaran with twin 1,300-hp Pro Marine engines who has participated in the top-speed event for the past four years, the decision to shorten the course was a good one.

“All in all, I think the fact that the organizers are soliciting feedback from participants is a positive thing,” Sundling said. “For the big guys, they’ll still be able to get close to their number whether it’s on a mile or a three-quarters-of-a-mile course. If you’re truly a shootout guy and you know what you’re doing, you really only need three quarters of a mile to get to your speed. For me, I’m also excited about the new inspection process and getting that done before everyone puts their boats in the water.”

Sundling, who confirmed he’ll be participating in Desert Storm again this year, said he’s looking forward to another fun event on Lake Havasu.

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