No sooner had Grant’s Signature Racing announced it would not be renewing its contract with Broadco Cat 5 Offshore Racing—followed the next day by the Broadco team’s announcement that it was leaving the sport—did speculation begin on which team Grant Bruggemann and the crew in his Bradenton, Fla.-based shop would be with next year. Smart money was betting that the veteran offshore racer and setup man would hook up with the Super Boat International Superboat-class Stihl team, an outfit Bruggemann raced with for eight years before hooking up with the Broadco team two years ago and earning a Superboat-class world title with in 2014. And smart money proved correct as Bruggemann announced his partnership with Stihl this morning.
With Grant’s Signature Racing on board and a new raceboat on the way, the Stihl team is hoping for a reversal of fortune next year. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“J.R. Noble (the owner and driver of the Stihl team) and I have come to an agreement to ‘put the band back together,’ which all sounds good to me,” said Bruggemann. “We want to get that Stihl Skater 388 catamaran back up front consistently and get some national and world championships. As of right now it’s a three-year deal with an optional extension.
“I am very excited to be back with Stihl Southeast and J.R.,” he added. “He’s a great driver—he’s been at it quite awhile now.”
After taking a Superboat-class national championship in 2014 and ripping a drive off the transom of its Skater 388 catamaran in the final day of racing during 2014 SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., the Stihl team headed into the 2015 season with high hopes—and a new 38-foot Skater cat in production at the builder’s facility in Douglas, Mich. But between persistent engine problems and damage to the boat during an incident at the SBI event in Marathon, Fla., success never materialized for Noble and his now-former throttleman Mark Kowalski.
Early in the 2015 season, Noble had hoped that the new Stihl raceboat might be finished in time for the SBI National Championships and/or the Key West Worlds, but the timeframe proved to be too tight. The Stihl team did save its best race of the season for last, running hard to track down Cleveland Construction—but still coming up short—in Sunday’s final contest.
Grant’s Signature Racing will handle the rigging of the new Stihl raceboat boat. Brugggemann said he hopes to have the cat in his shop early next year and expects no surprises in the rigging and setup of the 38-footer.
“From what I understand, the boat is out of paint now,” he said. “Peter (Hledin) at Skater will do his usual pre-rigging, and then it will come to us. Back when J.R. and I first met in 2007 we rigged his 32-foot Doug Wright cat,” said Bruggemann. “We originally rigged the Skater 388 he is selling now as a Cat Lite, and when the Superboat-class evolved we re-rigged it with 750-hp engines.
“We’ll be ready for testing well in advance of the first SBI race in Cocoa Beach (Fla.),” he added. “We’ll make sure everything is up to speed and go through our usual testing procedures. The Skater 388 is a predictable boat that I know very well, so I think testing and setup with go quickly.”
Editor’s Note: J.R. Noble was unavailabe for comment when this story went live. Look for an interview with the Stihl team owner on speedonthewater.com on Friday.
Broadco Out Of Offshore Racing—Equipment For Sale
Grant’s Signature Racing and Broadco Part Ways
Stihl Skater Catamaran for Sale
Cleveland Construction Takes Hard-Fought First Place in Final Key West Race