For the first time in a long time ahead of a Supercat-class contest, there is no odds-on favorite for an upcoming event. Not one of the four teams currently committed to the two-day, three-race Offshore at the Ozarks-Cat Edition set for this weekend (October 2-3) in Central Missouri has run a full season with the same driver and throttleman in the cockpit.
Captured here during the 2019 Race World Offshore Key West Championships, M-Con and Dependable Marine will be two of the four Supercat-class teams competing at Offshore at the Ozarks-Cat Edition this weekend. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
That no Supercat team has competed this season—not even at the Offshore Powerboat Association’s Crystal Coast Grand Prix, the first race of the year, earlier this month—adds even more intrigue to the fascinating mix. Here’s a quick look at each team in the fleet coming to the Performance Boat Center-backed Offshore Powerboat Association-sanctioned event.
With two events under their belts in late 2019—Roar Offshore Fort Myers and the Key West Offshore Championships—veteran throttleman Mark Kowalski (of the former STIHL team) will share the cockpit of the Dependable Marine Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran with driver Marty Siersma, whose first races were those last year. On the plus side, the team looked fast and overtook competitors in at least one Key West contest. Thanks to persistent steering system issues, however, those moments were few and far between.
“Marty did a great job and the boat seemed fast even though it was built a little on the heavy side,” Kowalski said. “And the team worked its butt off.”
According to Kowalski, the team will be working with one set of propellers and engines in need of refreshment this weekend. But he’s not conceding anything. “I think this is going to be a very interesting race,” he said.
Despite multiple recent back and neck surgeries, Texan Kenny Mungle still plans to throttle the Gone Again Skater 388 catamaran—a former STIHL boat once throttled by Kowalski and driven by the late J.R. Noble—with rookie driver Christian McCauley. A former top-speed shootout competitor of note, Mungle has two races of offshore competition throttling experience in the boat, so he and McCauley come in as the least-seasoned cockpit crew in the mix. But the 38-footer, which is powered by refreshed Sterling Performance engines, is a proven rocket and Mungle’s unfailing exuberance adds joy to the mix.
“I’m on the sticks and Christian McCauley is on the wheel unless my back gives me issues—we are ready,” he said. “Andy Carracino, Michael Moss and my dad Kenneth Mungle, Sr., have busted butt getting her ready. We are heading out today around noon and we’re going to try to test on Thursday and Friday.”
Should Mungle’s back pain flare up, veteran throttleman Billy Moore will step in to replace him.
Tyler Miller, the Kansas-based owner and throttleman of the M-Con team had hoped to use the 2020 season to fully dial in the team’s new 438 Skater catamaran. Instead, thanks to well-worn COVID-19 circumstances, he logged time testing the 43-footer powered by fresh Sterling Performance engines on the Lake of the Ozarks with Myrick Coil, the throttleman of the Super Stock-cass Performance Boat Center team that took first place in its class in last year’s six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series and finished second overall in the 2019 Race World Offshore Key West Championships.
Miller will throttle and Coil will drive. Miller has six-plus years of racing experience under his belt and Coil has twice that and change, but they have yet to share a cockpit in race conditions. Still, based on combined seat time in offshore races and hardware (though still unproven) they could be considered a favorite of sorts to come out on top at the Lake of the Ozarks, which also happens to be the team’s home-water.
The bigger question is: Will Coil driver for the M-Con team in 2021?
“Well, it’d be nice but you’ll have to refer to Myrick on that,” Miller said, then laughed. “He’s a hot commodity.”
A couple of weeks ago, SV Racing team throttleman Vinnie Diorio and driver Simon Prevost tested their 39-foot Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats catamaran with its new Factory Billet engines on Lake Winnebago. Though Diorio declined to offer performance specifics, he was delighted with what he and Prevost saw from the boat on the Wisconsin waterway.
“It’s bad-ass,” Diorio said. “It’s insane.”
With Diorio and Prevost sharing the cockpit as Supercat-class rookies, SV Racing debuted at the 2019 Race World Offshore Key West Championships and ran all three races in respectable fashion. Though Prevost was a true rookie to the sport last year, Diorio entered the offshore fray a few years back with veteran racer Brian Forehand in Marker 17 Marine, an Outerlimits SV 29 raceboat that competed in Super Boat International’s Super Boat Vee single-engine V-bottom ranks.