Is there some kind of magic in the waters of the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri that makes Supercat- and Super Stock-class offshore powerboat racers particularly competitive and successful? Or is the waterway simply incidental and the real secrets of their success are just dedication, passion and a whole bunch of hard work?
With 12 boats taking the green flag for the second time this week in Key West, Fla., the Super Stock class was nothing short of spectacular yesterday. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Either way, Super Stock and Supercat teams from the Ozarks area continued their winning ways yesterday in the second race of the Race World Offshore-produced 2021 American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla.
But not before a couple of Canadians, one former and another current, tried to stop them.
Originally from Toronto, FB Marine Group managing partner Randy Sweers and Texas Bryan Marquardt led for the first four laps of yesterday’s Super Stock race. Though they finished off the podium thanks to engine-saving Guardian-mode issues with the Mercury Racing 300XS outboards on the transom of their new 32-foot Doug Wright Play Tradez catamaran, their effort was remarkable in that they only had 10 minutes of practice time and Wednesday’s race under their belts.
Randy Sweers and Bryan Marquardt put on a show in their new Super Stock 32-foot Doug Wright raceboat.
“That was fun, wasn’t it?” Sweers said as he stood on Duval Street as last night’s raceboat parade and exhibit—a Key West tradition—assembled.
But the checkered flag went to the Lake of the Ozarks-based LPC team of owner/throttleman Loren Peters and new driver Sean Conner, who bested Wednesday race winners Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams in Performance Boat Center. Peters and Conner, who claimed third place Wednesday, finished ahead of Coil and Williams, who were followed by third-place teammates Todd DeFilipps and Brent Holbrook in CoCo’s Monkey/Wicked Powerboats.
“I’m ecstatic about how we finished and very happy with Sean’s performance,” Peters said. “He did exactly what I asked of him—and the results were night and day from the first race. He’s really starting to figure out the turns. He was thrilled to get the win; he definitely didn’t expect for that to happen since this is our first time racing together. We’ll take it though. It was a good race and it was nice to go out there and finish strong.
“The guy who deserves the credit though is Anthony Smith Jr., from H.P. Mafia back in Missouri,” he continued. “I swear he’s the one who made this happen. He nailed today’s setup. He loves everything about this stuff and he’s been taking in every bit of information he can in Key West since the outboard stuff is relatively new to him. I’m pretty sure he goes to bed thinking about boat racing and wakes up thinking about boat racing.”
The Supercat class once again saw six teams take the green flag.
On the Supercat side of the Canadian equation was Lorne Leibel, a veteran offshore powerboat racer enjoying a return to the sport in Canada Homes, a Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran, with throttleman John Tomlinson. Like Play Tradez in the Super Stock ranks, the team led for more than half the race before being chased down by another Lake of the Ozarks-based team, M CON’s Tyler Miller and Myrick Coil.
“We had a great start to get out front and the boat ran well, but I could tell M CON had speed on us because I could not gain anything on them,” Tomlinson said. “We held him off for a few laps but they finally got a good run coming out of the harbor turn and we could not hold them off. Their boat accelerates really well and I think that’s where they had us.”
It was M CON’s second win of the week, which puts the team in a hard-to-beat position heading into tomorrow’s longer, double-points contest.
M CON prevailed in a tight battle with Canada Homes.
“That was the most intense and fun race I’ve ever been a part of; it was unbelievable,” Miller said. “My arm was numb by the time we got to the end. We battled the whole time and it worked out in our favor. Halfway through the race we knew coming out of the harbor turn that we were making up some ground on them. We could feel the fuel burn and the boat starting to lighten up. I was able to run it a little looser from that point and we started making up ground. It really was a combination of water conditions and setup. The Key West track is so unique—every condition in offshore racing is on this track. Long straights, tight turns, tailwinds, huge holes, bumpy stuff, you name it.”
That the M CON team earned this year’s Supercat-class national title in the APBA Offshore National Championship Series didn’t dull Miller’s enthusiasm for the sport one bit.
“My hat’s off to Myrick, he drove unbelievably well,” he added. “He’s been at this for so long and he told me as long as we kept charging we were going to get them. All I know is that we were staring ahead at J.T. and Lorne—two legends—waiting for them to make a mistake and that just wasn’t going to happen. But Myrick was right. We caught them, I think on the sixth lap, and didn’t look back.
“That was so much fun to be able to see Myrick and Johnny battle it out in opposite boats,” he added. “I’ll remember this race forever.”
Enjoy more images from yesterday’s races in the slideshow above.
The Supercat-fleet was joined again by two Extreme-class teams, Huski Chocolate/Huski Wear of throttleman Steve Curtis and driver Carlos de Quesada and the Lucas Oil/E3 team of throttleman Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson. And once again, Huski took the win.
“All good yesterday,” Curtis said. “Gary Stray and the crew are doing their thing now so that it’s all ready for Sunday.”
Though neither the Stock V or Mod V races involved teams from Central Missouri, both featured excellent action and dominant performances. On the Stock V side, Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith of Maryland-based LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness notched their second win of the week—but they had to fight for every inch of it against the aptly named Relentless/Punisher cockpit duo of Travis Petko and Anthony Silveria. They were followed by Chris Colson and Patrick Romeo in Shocker, a Stock V-class team that also delivered strong performances throughout the regular season.
The Stock V class delivered some of the day’s closest competition.
Thrilled as he was to earn another checkered flag and his team’s strong position heading into tomorrow’s race, Lilly isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I’m pumped up and the team is pumped up,” he said. “It’s been two days of deck-to-deck racing.
“Relentless has been running great and we will have our work cut out for us on Sunday,” he added. “We will check water conditions today and test props for what we think tomorrow will bring.”
The Stock V race did have one scary moment when Richard and Julian Garcia of The Firm Racing rolled their boat in the Mallory Square turn. But both emerged mostly unscathed.
The Firm Racing’s second Key West outing did not end well.
A pair of Mod V-class teams that didn’t finish after colliding in Wednesday’s race—and both teams have predictably different perspectives on how that happened—Brian Forehand and Vinnie Diorio in Marker 17 Marine and Nick Imprescia and Ian Morgan in Visit St. Pete/Clearwater finished first and second. They were followed by Boatfloater.com’s Steve and Stephen Kildahl, Wednesday’s first-place finisher, in third.
Marker 17 Marine ran strong from start to finish in the 29-foot Outerlimits V-bottom. Asked what their strategy was heading into the race, Diorio scoffed.
“No strategy,” he said, then laughed. “We just click and we’re smooth.”
Forehand and Diorio were on a mission in their Marker 17 Marine Outerlimits.
As they did Wednesday, the Bracket classes led off Friday’s action. Cigarette Justice League ran uncontested to its second Bracket 100-class victory. In Bracket 200, WeOnTop Racing finished ahead of Team Woody Racing and The Developer/Harpoon Harry’s, Wednesday’s winner.
In the two-boat Bracket 300 ranks, Team Woody Racing (the team fields three boats) finished ahead of Rollin Dirty/Elite Home Racing. Southern Arbor Services took down Gerard Marine in Bracket 600, while Jackhammer topped Gallagher in Bracket 700.
Like the Bracket 200 class, the Bracket 400 and 500 classes had three-boat fields. The GNS Motorsports Racing team finished first, with Simmons Racing in second and Boatracingexperience.com taking third in Bracket 400. The Bracket 500 class contest saw Team Woody take the win followed by Bulletproof and Papamigos.
Tomorrow’s racing action in Key West is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.