With Super Stock-class Jackhammer throttleman Ricky Maldonado moving to the 450R Factory Stock class after three seasons with the Illinois-based team, owner/driver Reese Langheim had to find a new throttleman for the upcoming season. But he didn’t have to look far as Maldonado’s son, Julian, will throttle the team’s 32-foot Victory catamaran.
The son of former Jackhammer throttleman Ricky Maldonado, Julian Maldonado will join Reese Langheim in the cockpit of Jackhammer this season. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
In 2022, Julian Maldonado throttled the Steele Industries team Super Stock-class raceboat with owner with owner/driver Dominick Steele.
“We’re thrilled to have Julian throttle for us,” Langheim said. “Ricky and I had a great run together and we’re all good, but it was time for a change.
“Julian and I ran together in the 2021 Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Englewood Beach,” he added. “We won both races.”
The younger Maldonado also throttled the Jackhammer team’s Bracket 700-class boat for the past three seasons.
Jackhammer team owner Reese Langheim (right, with Sterling Performance engines principal Mike D’Anniballe in the foreground) is hoping to repeat his 2022 season result with another Maldonado in the cockpit. Photo by Cole McGowan copyright Powerboat P1.
The Jackhammer team finished first in the 2022 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. Langheim and Maldonado entered the Race World Offshore-produced Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., with high hopes. But an incident with the Super Stock PlayTradez raceboat—the PlayTradez cat took a flyer and connected with Jackhammer moments after landing—effectively ended the team’s hopes for a world title.
The incident also left the Jackhammer team with significant repair work to do in the offseason.
“We completely took the boat apart, fixed the holes and de-rigged it,” Langheim explained. “All we have to do is put it back together.”
It’s going to be a busy year for Julian Maldonado, as he also will throttle alongside Steele in a 38-foot Doug Wright Powerboats catamaran, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-season. In addition, Maldonado plans to continue throttling the Jackhammer team’s Bracket 700-class raceboat.
And all of that will have to fit with running Manatee Marine Unlimited in Palmetto, Fla., a full-service dealership he owns with Sara Langheim. Still, the 25-year-old Maldonado, who just returned from a trip to the Dubai International Boat Show, is eager to get started.
“Reese and I are pretty synced up in a boat,” Maldonado said. “The way our friendship is, we just understand each other very well. We don’t have to talk very much in the cockpit.”
Captured here with Dominick Steele (left), Julian Maldonado has a strong history with the Jackhammer team.
At some point in the distant future, Maldonado’s throttleman services will no longer be required by the team. Sara Langheim will eventually—a key word to be sure—move into the Jackhammer driver’s seat and her husband will take the sticks.
“That’s the plan for down the road,” Sara Langheim said, then laughed. “I would love to do it right now, but someone has to raise these kids,”
“We would do it this year but, yeah, someone has to raise them,” her husband said, then laughed even harder. “I don’t like the kids that much, so I don’t want to raise them.”
Langheim and Maldonado shared the cockpit at the 2021 OPA Englewood Beach Waterfest World Championships and won both races.
That could be a while as the Langheim’s youngest child, Callie, is just six years old. In the meantime Julian Maldonado has the seat.