After an eventful and challenging first year competing in the 2022 Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 World Championship produced by international powerboat racing promoter Powerboat P1, the XINSURANCE/Good Boy Vodka team has its sights set on a strong 2023 season, which should see at least a half-dozen teams in the class. To enhance the team’s vision this year, team owners Rick J. Lindsey of XINSURANCE and Alex Pratt of Good Boy Vodka recently enlisted the services of Gene Greber, the talented former Unlimited-class crew chief from Missouri who assisted the team—alongside his good friend, veteran offshore racer and entrepreneur Randy Kent—in Key West, Fla., during the Race World Offshore-produced Key West Offshore World Championships in November.
Although the team was unable to compete in Sunday’s double-points finale in Key West in November, the XINSURANCE/Good Boy Vodka crew had a great time at the Race World Offshore event. Photo courtesy Randy Kent
A huge proponent of Greber, Kent is going to be handling team management responsibilities this season, which is sure to lighten the load for Pratt, the team’s owner, throttleman, sponsor, manager, promoter, you name it, who already has plenty going on between Good Boy Vodka and other business ventures.
“There’s a lot of good stuff happening with the team this season, starting with the addition of Gene and Randy, two people with extensive racing experience,” said Lindsey, the president, CEO and chairman of the principal team sponsor, XINSURANCE—a Utah-based business that was established more than 40 years ago to provide customized specialty insurance for ever-changing risks and issues such as specialty liability, property and casualty insurance. “I didn’t know either of them up until recently, but I have no doubt they both want to win and do the best job possible. I met Randy because I bought a DEFCO truck from him during the 2021 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. He seemed like a good guy but I didn’t know anything about his racing history. We feel lucky to have Randy and Gene involved with the team.
“We have other people around them, too, who are good and really want to be around racing,” he added. “Everything going on seems pretty positive, which makes me feel like we’ll overcome the obstacles that were placed between us—whether those were by accident or intention, it doesn’t matter and it won’t stop us from succeeding. To me succeeding isn’t being the best; it’s about competing and having a good time with good people. I think everyone feels like they are in a better position to compete than they were before Key West.”
Greber, who already has the team’s MTI catamaran in his possession, said he is excited about the opportunity to work with Lindsey, Pratt, Kent and the rest of the team, which includes United Kingdom-based driver Miles Jennings.
“This season should be a lot of fun,” Greber said. “I wasn’t looking to return to an offshore racing team, but these guys seem to be willing to do what it takes to build a winning team, which includes bringing Randy on board. I can see they take the racing seriously and aren’t just out there to run laps. Of course I want to win, but my goal is to put the best possible boat on the course for the team.”
The Good Boy Vodka/INSURANCE team is looking to make big strides following its first year of Class 1 offshore racing competition. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Greber added that the speeds the Unlimited-class boats reached are more exciting to him than the top speeds the Class 1 boats run with twin Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines. Although he admitted that the close competition within Class 1 might be more appealing.
“When you’re fighting tooth and nail for every second, or millisecond, in the corner and the straightaways, and you’re blocking and cutting the pin tight, that’s pretty exciting,” he said. “That wasn’t something I was used to in Key West. In Unlimited, usually the boat that got out front first stayed out front and won, well unless it broke.”
Greber laughed and then commented about how nice it will be to focus on dialing in the boat and going racing rather than having to swap out blown engines repeatedly.
“Gene is very serious about his job so I think he’s going to be really good for our team,” said Pratt, who splits time between his hometown of Clearwater on Florida’s Gulf Coast and Southwest Michigan. “I feel like Gene gets us, and I know he gets racing—the same goes for Randy. I expect them to be great partners, which is what a lot of this is about. You need good partners to be successful in this sport.
“Rick has been an exceptional partner in helping me launch this team,” he added. “We couldn’t have done any of this without his support and guidance. We have some big stuff planned together, too, just wait. It’s going to be a fun season—and a much-improved one.”
Pratt, who founded Good Boy Vodka, a premium, lifestyle, vodka brand, in 2020 with a mission to support animal charities and veterans through it’s “Every Pour Helps a Pup” campaign, said he’s enjoying racing Class 1 and has a few fun things in the works this year for his turbine-powered, canopied, 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran that he redid in 2021.
Gene Greber is excited to be the new crew chief for the Good Boy Vodka/INSURANCE Class 1 team. Photo courtesy Randy Kent
Between the offshore race team, DEFCO truck purchases and a dual sponsorship of a drag racing car, Kent said he’s enjoyed getting to know Lindsey and had a great time with the team in Key West.
“I’m excited to be part of this team and can’t wait to see what the Class 1 season brings,” said Kent, who referred to himself as “semi-retired” since he sold a majority stake in his cover business, Marine Concepts, to Kanbrick in June. He’s not fooling anyone though as he’s still overseeing DEFCO Trucks and representing Renegade Powerboats in the Midwest and beyond. Kent, along with his business management skills, brings testing, setup and political navigation experience to the team, not to mention the ability to seek out sponsors and utilize relationships he’s had in the sport for decades.
“I wanted to get involved with Rick and Alex because boat racing is my passion and because I don’t want to see either of them lose interest in the sport or get taken advantage of along the way,” Kent explained. “Class 1 is the pinnacle of racing. It’s been a goal of mine to compete in Class 1, but I’m not here to get in the boat. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be in there, but those days are behind me. So this is the next best thing—to be able to give back and help out, and hopefully be victorious. Having someone like Gene focusing on this full-time is going to help with that part of it.”
Kent said the team plans to do its testing on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks and in Florida in preparation for the first race of the season in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in May.
“We’ve got a crew chief that is a multi-time world champion, a manager with and team owners that know what it takes to get this done,” Kent said, adding that the XINSURANCE/Good Boy Vodka team is headed in the right direction with more progress to follow.
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