Coming off back-to-back race weekends in Michigan and Indiana, the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series returns to Florida September 2-4 with the St. Petersburg Grand Prix presented by Visit St. Pete/ Clearwater. The P1 Offshore-produced contest is the sixth of eight races in the APBA series, and the four weekends between the August 7 event on Lake Michigan and the upcoming contest on Tampa Bay gives competitors a much-needed break to refresh/repair their equipment—and time to tend to their businesses back home.
The Jackhammer team holds a commanding regular-season points lead in the Super Stock class. Photos by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.
If current boat counts in Class 1, Super Cat and Super Stock ranks stand, time away from the racecourse for teams has proven beneficial for the second-year event. Those classes are on track to have their biggest turnout so far in the regular season, according to their official representatives.
The 222 Offshore Australia team notched its first win of the eight-race Class 1 World Championship Series in Michigan City, Ind., earlier this month.
Class 1 rep Steve Curtis said there could be as many as seven teams, but most likely five, in the St. Petersburg mix. The usual-suspect Huski Chocolate, 222 Offshore Australia, Good Boy Vodka/XINSURANCE and JBS Racing teams are committed, and Team Defalco is slated to make its 2022 season debut in the Southwest Florida event. Plans for the St. Pete race are unconfirmed, he added, for the Lucas Oil/E3 team but by the time the green flag flies there could be a “new” Class 1 team on racecourse. (Curtis declined to offer additional detail on that team.)
With its Great Lakes Grand Prix victory, Graydel has earned two checkered flags in the Super Cat class so far this season.
With Graydel, Justice League, LiquorSplit, M CON, Pro-Floors Racing, SV Offshore Racing, Team 360/Dramatized Offshore Racing and WHM Motorsports committed, fans can look forward to eight Super Cat teams vying for top honors on the likely flat-water racecourse. That’s the word from M CON team owner/throttleman and class rep Tyler Miller.
“And we have a close points battle in Super Cat going on so this race really means a lot to several teams,” Miller said.
For the Justice League cockpit duo of Don Urfer and Richard Davis, the race will be the second of their rookie Super Cat season. The St. Pete contest will be third race—technically speaking—for fellow Super Cat-class rookies Will and Tina Rodgers of Team 360, as they competed in the APBA series season-opener and the unsanctioned first-year LuminSea Miami Powerboat Races, which were cancelled for a variety of reasons.
Not seen in the APBA series since the season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., Will and Tina Rodgers of Team 360/Dramatized Offshore Racing are planning to return to action in St. Petersburg. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The throttleman for the CELSIUS team and representative for the Super Stock class, Floridian Ryan Beckley said his class is looking at its strongest turnout to date this season with 12 teams likely to hit the racecourse. Joining the usual suspects of Big East Construction, CELSIUS, CMR Roofing and Construction, Jackhammer, LPC, Performance Boat Center/FASS, PlayTradez, Steele Industries, Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping and S-39 will be Atlas and (in its first race of the season) Wicked Powerboats.
Editor’s note: Fans can enjoy all the action from the September 4 St. Petersburg Grand Prix live on the P1 Offshore Facebook page, starting at 10 a.m.
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