Veteran offshore racer Ryan Beckley would be the first person to tell you that his Super Cat-class 30-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran is less than competitive against the 32-foot Doug Wright cats that dominate the class. But Beckley loves offshore racing as much or more than anyone in the sport, so for years he has stuck with his program of renting out the driver’s seat of his 30-footer and doing the very best he can as a throttleman. And though a new Skater raceboat reportedly is in his future, he currently works with what he has and follows his heart.
Throttleman Ryan Beckley and driver Tom Kennedy looked picture perfect in flight during Tuesday’s practice session during the weeklong Race World Offshore Key West Championships (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Beckley and driver Tom Kennedy are heading into tomorrow’s double-points finale of the Race World Offshore Key West Championships with hopes of a good showing. That they finished in the back of the Super Stock-class pack on Wednesday and Friday hasn’t dimmed their enthusiasm. Plus, Beckley has done well in rough-water races—he finished first in wild water off Cocoa Beach, Fla., a few years back—and tomorrow’s water conditions are predicted to be in the four-feet-and-lumpy range.
For Beckley, the annual trek to Key West is a homecoming. He was raised here. He grew up with offshore racing in his backyard. While most kids find the sports idols in football, baseball and basketball, of Beckley’s heroes were offshore racers. And as soon as he could afford a raceboat of his own, he bought one. That was more than 20 years ago and his passion for the sport remains as strong as ever.
Fly level, Ryan Beckley. Regardless of where you finish, you’ll always be a winner in our book.