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Key West Picture Coming Into Focus

Let’s get this out of the way up front: There is no love lost between the leaders of Race World Offshore and the Offshore Powerboat Association. From possible collaboration to definitive alienation, the two race-producing outfits—both currently divisional clubs under the American Power Boat Association—have irked each other at every turn. Combining forces with Powerboat P1, OPA produced the most successful series in offshore since the early 2000s, while RWO struggled to attract boats to its first race but had far more success in its second event.

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Quality will reign over quantity during three days of offshore racing next month at the city at the end of the road. Photo from the 2019 RWO event in Clearwater, Fla., earlier this month (click image to enlarge) Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

But for RWO founder Larry Bleil, his organization always has been about first and foremost bringing “first-class, professional racing” to Key West, Fla. And in the Request for Proposal process, which seemed to drag on endlessly to longtime observers of the sport, RWO won the five-year contract to produce the early November races.

What will the racing in Key West look like next week? Expect outstanding turnouts in the Supercat and Super Stock classes. No less than seven Supercat teams have committed to competing there this year. As for the Super Stock fleet, it will—barring attrition—see no less than 10 teams racing on all three days.

None of teams that ran in the Class One ranks of the APBA series are coming to Key West, so the “big boats” will be the Supercats, which produced some of the best action this season. Of note, former Super Vee Extreme-class competitor Vinnie Diorio of Wisconsin will team up with Canadian Simon Prevost for their first Supercat race in a 39-foot Outerlimits powered by twin Factory Billet engines. Also worth noting, the Supercat-class Broadco team will be returning to Key West for the first time since 2015.

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