By his own count, multi-time offshore powerboat racing world champion Hugh Fuller has retired from the sport “at least 10 times.” The Delray Beach, Fla., resident—now a grandfather three times over—has shared the cockpit as a driver with some of the biggest names in offshore racing including throttlemen Johnny Tomlinson and Jerry Gilbreath. Fuller has amassed a combined total of 11 national and world titles from the American Power Boat Association, Offshore Powerboat and now-defunct Super Boat International since 2001. Along the way, he earned a reputation as one of the finest and most aggressive drivers ever to get behind the wheel of a canopied catamaran.
The 2023 Class 1 season presents a reunion of longtime friends and former teammates Hugh Fuller and Rich Wyatt in the df Young Mystic raceboat. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
And now he’s coming back as the driver of the Class 1 df Young team for the 2023 season. He’ll be sharing the cockpit of the team’s 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran, which is being repowered with Class 1-spec Mercury Racing 1100 engines, with owner/throttleman Rich Wyatt (right, in the image below). The two have joined forces a few times during the years, but this will be their first Class 1 stint.
“The team is making a big investment in being competitive this year, and that was what I needed to make a full-season commitment,” Fuller explained. “I have raced with Rich before and he’s super talented and aggressive. I’m very aggressive and competitive, too, but Rich also knows I’m not going to do anything stupid. And I know we’re going to have to play a bit of catch-up with the more-experienced teams like Huski Chocolate when we start the season.
“I’ve been keeping myself in the kind of shape I think you need to be in to run a full season,” he added, then chuckled. “Although I just got back from three days with the grandkids at Disneyworld. Age doesn’t matter to me—I still work out and I still feel great. I still stay at it.”
Wyatt ran the latter part of the 2022 Class 1 season with longtime friend and former Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet on the wheel.
“There’s no drama—Marc and I are still friends,” he said. “But in addition to Hugh and I having a 10-plus-year history racing Unlimited class together, he has an extensive history driving with some of the best Super Cat throttlemen. We are both optimistic about the 2023 season and look forward to reestablishing the partnership as we go for a Class 1 championship.”
Tomlinson, who notched national and world Super Cat-class titles with Fuller and will be sharing a Class 1 raceboat cockpit with Carlos de Quesada this season, vouched for his friend and former teammate’s skillset.
“Hugh is a very talented and aggressive driver,” he said. “I think part of that has do to with all the experience he’s had in racecars.”
For his part, Fuller is not heading into the season with a “one and done” approach. He’s excited about the current momentum and growth of the Class 1 category, which has six races on tap this year for the eight teams currently committed to competing.
“I am hoping we get to the 12-team limit this season and have international races next year,” he said. “That would be really fun and exciting.”
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