In just a few days, Blake and Brock Gratton will be testing their new race boat—a 28-foot P1-28SS Panther that the twin brothers will be campaigning on the 2012 P1 SuperStock USA circuit. And while getting into the boat will be an emotional undertaking, the sons of world-champion offshore racer Joey Gratton, who died in an accident at the Key West World Championships in November, are excited about the opportunity.
Peters & May stripes, the Gratton Racing team is looking forward to competing for the checkered flag at the season opener in St. Cloud, Fla., from March 29-April 1. Neither brother is ruling out the shot of a 2012 P1 SuperStock USA national championship either, but they said Gratton Racing stands for much more than checkered flags. It’s about promoting three major aspects of racing—family, safety and the love of the sport.Donning the
“We want to show people that Gratton Racing is all about the sport,” said Blake, the team throttleman, in an interview this morning. “We love racing with all of our heart and want to continue racing in honor of our dad. We’re just excited to race. It’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last 15 years since we were kids going to the events with our dad.”
Blake said the appeal of P1 SuperStock USA is that all the boats are identical so it truly is about which team gets around the course the best that day. The short-course format, which makes the racing more exciting for spectators, adds to the allure.
The 30-year-old twins said their mom, Priscilla, who regularly attended their father’s races, is supportive of their decision. Blake said she expressed some concern about safety, but soon realized how important the subject is to P1 SuperStock USA and its director Martin Sanborn‚ not to mention her own two sons.
“When we heard that P1 SuperStock USA officials were talking with leading respectful safety specialists, it influenced our decision to race this season in a big way,” Blake added. “Safety is obviously important to us because of what our dad went through.”
Xplode Marketing, a successful internet marketing and web design company in Sarasota, Fla., raced in the 2011 P1 SuperStock USA season finale in San Diego. The brothers finished in third place in their P1 debut and their father was with them all weekend, providing pointers and teaching them lessons about offshore racing. “It was nice to have him support us at a race for once,” Blake joked. Surely that weekend will be a big motivator for the twins this season.Blake and Brock, who own own
“I can only imagine how emotional it’s going to be at the first race, but the truth is, we have to stay positive,” Blake said. “All I know is that my dad lived his life to the fullest and we have no regrets. If he was here, he would have wanted us to race P1 this year.
“When people think of Joey Gratton, they think of the Gratton family,” he continued. “Everyone expected to see his family at the race and our goal is to continue with that. You’ll see our wives and our mom out there with us. We plan to keep the family atmosphere alive.”
That positive family approach is one of the reasons Peters & May, a leader in global boat transportation that supports various boat-racing teams and organizations, is excited about the partnership with the Gratton Racing team.
“It’s a privilege to be associated with the Gratton family,” said David Holley, CEO of Peters & May, which sponsors a P1 boat in both the United Kingdom circuit and the one in the States. “First of all, the sport will benefit from having them involved as racers. And second, they should be able to create a lot of awareness in regards to safety.”
After the tragic accident in Key West, the Gratton family created the Joey Gratton Foundation to celebrate the life of Joey Gratton. Based on his passion for kids and sports, the foundation links the two together by providing less fortunate children with the opportunity to actively participate in an organized sport that values personal integrity and leadership skills in a fun and healthy learning environment.
“We know the accident is still fresh in everyone’s minds,” Blake said. “So while it is still fresh, we want to make sure we keep moving in the right direction.”