After three seasons of battling mechanical woes that included engine and drive issues that led to sporadic competition in offshore powerboat races, Chris Cox, the owner of the Envy team that fields a 50-foot Mystic Powerboats C5000 catamaran, is calling it quits. The good-natured and gregarious Cox and his throttleman/engine builder Herb Stotler attracted a solid fan base since they started sharing the cockpit of the 50-footer in 2014 in SBI’s Superboat Unlimited class, despite their infrequent appearances on the racecourse.
Though Envy appeared infrequently on the racecourse in the three years it ran in the SBI’s Superboat Unlimited class, the team developed a substantial following and became a fan favorite. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
With a fourth-place overall finish at the 2016 SBI World Championships in Key West, Fla., against seven other Superboat Unlimited-class competitors, the Envy team is exiting the motorsport on a high note. Completing every lap of the three-race SBI Worlds, the team finished fifth on Wednesday, third on Friday and third on Sunday.
“It’s just time to turn the page,” said Cox, who announced his departure from the sport last week on his Facebook page.
Cox added that he plans to use the canopied catamaran for poker runs unless he sells it, though he has no timetable for a sale. “Like everything, it’s for sale at the right price,” he said. “I have a few offers already, but nothing that’s making me think it’s really for sale.”
Running with Stotler-built engines, Cox developed a good-natured rivalry with his Stotler engines stablemate Serafino “Jimmy” Cazzani, the owner of the Alex And Ani Unlimited-class team, which fields a 42-foot Platinum catamaran. (The 42-footer previously was owned by Cox, who ran it under the Super Heat team banner.) Their often-amusing, lighthearted and engaging verbal jousts, particularly on their Facebook pages, often led to friendly wagers on given race outcomes.
Cazzani said, with his usual bluster, that while he’ll miss his back-and-forth with Cox he is returning this year more energized than ever with new stern-drive hardware to handle his turbocharged 1,600-plus-hp Stotler engines. Even with his chief rival out of the picture, he said he’s eager for the season to start.
“After much research and debate, we’ve decided to make a major capital investment, Mercury Racing M-8 drives are the solution,” he said. “We had considered surface drives but she handles the rough so well it wasn’t work taking the risk of disturbing anything. These are rated for 1,600 foot-pounds of torque versus the Mercury Racing No. 6 drive at 1,160 foot-pounds of torque. Problem solved. Now our Stotler turbo engines will be able to shine. Herb is a great and underestimated engine builder. The motors we developed are phenomenal.
“I let Scotty Begovich (the Unlimited-class Miss GEICO team’s throttleman) fire the first salvo for 2017,” he continued. “It should be fun. He and (Miss GEICO driver) Marc Granet are easy prey.”
The Alex And Ani team is returning this season with new Mercury Racing M-8 drives to handle the power from its turbocharged Stotler engines.
Cazzani said his jewelry giant sponsor also is returning to back the team this year, though “their monetary involvement is a mystery at this point.”
“I’m for sure attending the Offshore Powerboat Association in Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey in May and the Lake Race in Missouri in June,” he said. “I’m itching to tackle Randy Scism and Bob Bull in CMS. Seriously, I think we can give any boat in our class a run now that the drives will take the power.”