There is a simple maxim used in all competition sports reporting: If you win, you’re in. In their purest form, sports are a meritocracy. Glory is earned and failure is—eventually at least—forgotten. And that’s part of what makes the sports world so great.
Put another way? No one remembers, save for players on the losing team and their fans, who lost the World Series.
Although the 12-boat Super Stock class managed to get through the first turn in Key West, Fla., without incident on Wednesday and Friday, today’s race was red-flagged before a lap was completed after the CR Racing team went over and the Play Tradez boat started taking on water after a collision with Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping. No one was seriously injured in the incident. Photos by Pete Boden/copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
And so we begin our final report from the 2021 American Power Boat Association/Union Internationale Motonautique Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., with the story of Stock V-class racers Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith of the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team. That they won their third race in a row against stout competition in the form of the Relentless/Punisher and Shocker teams was paradise-found for the LSB cockpit duo, who went winless during the regular season in their new 29-foot Extreme V-bottom.
“I guess we can put that bonfire party on hold for now,” said Lilly, who drives and owns the boat, which he built with his own hands. “This week was so needed.
“I credit our success today, first of all, to all members of our crew—this was a big team win,” he continued. “I credit all the testing we did and the way Kevin and I are able to make a plan, stick with it, not second-guess anything and just let that big girl run.”
Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith won all three races to earn the Stock V world championship in the team’s LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness 29-foot Extreme.
Though Friday’s race was the closest for the LSB team thanks to another sensational performance by the Relentless/Punisher cockpit duo of Travis Pettko and Anthony Silveria, Sunday’s contest may have been their most challenging.
“They moved the Bracket 300 class from the Mod V race-start to our race-start,” Lilly explained. “We are running 91 mph into the first turn and they are running 95 mph into the first turn, so we went through there six boats wide. It was an s-show. We just snuck through—for a moment there I couldn’t see anything and just had to go by memory for where the turn buoy was—but we got through OK. It was the same thing in turn No. 2, five or six boats wide. Kevin told me, ‘Leave room for Relentless, they’re on your inside.’ I said, ‘OK, just don’t lift.’ I think we almost collided.
“Experience definitely comes into play when you’re dealing with crap water like that,” he said.
LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness led Relentless/Punisher by 66 seconds when the checkered flag flew. That was a good thing, as the LSB raceboat had a trim tab failure for the last several laps.
“Good thing it was stuck in the up position,” Smith said, then chuckled. “We got a little flighty and had to back off a bit, but it was final.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from Sunday’s final day of racing from Key West.
For the longtime LSB throttleman, earning a world championship in Key West is a first.
“It has not set in yet,” he said. “I just got back to my phone and it’s blown up. It’s incredible.”
Smith paused to gather his composure. “She didn’t let us down this weekend,” he said in reference to the team’s 29-footer.
Added Lilly with a chuckle, “I think we also won a UIM world title. I don’t know what that means yet, but I will.”
As they did in the Wednesday and Friday races, the Mod V-class teams joined the Stock V class. The impressive rookie Visit St. Pete/Clearwater team of Nick Imprescia and Ian Morgan notched its third win of the year while Brian Forehand and Vinnie Diorio in Marker 17 Marine, which won Friday’s races, exited the course with an engine issue.
“Something in the motor let go,” Forehand said.
Boatfloater.com’s father-and-son team of Steve and Stephen Kildahl finished second, which combined with their win on Wednesday and third-place result on Friday was enough for the team to earn a world championship, the younger Kildahl’s first in Key West.
The father-and-son Boatfloater.com team of Steve and Stephen Kildahl won its first championship in Key West in the Mod V class.
“It took me 14 years but I finally got one,” he said. “I finally have the monkey off my back.
“We had to beat Marker 17 to win the championship,” he continued. “We bumped with them coming into the harbor turn, but that was just good, tough racing, and we battled with Visit St. Pete. They had a six-second lead on us, but we knew we could finish behind them and still get the world championship so we put it in cruise mode.”
In sharp contrast to the LSB tale above, the Super Stock-class Performance Boat Center team of Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams didn’t come to Key West with a poor regular-season outing. On the contrary—having won an APBA national title in 2019—their 2021 national championship run came to a winner-take-all contest at the final race of the regular season in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. Though the win—and national champion bragging rights—went to Shaun Torrente and Eric Belisle in CMR Roofing and Construction, Coil and Williams, who run a Doug Wright catamaran like many teams in the class, came to Key West with plenty of momentum and no lack of confidence.
As bad luck would have it, the CMR team rolled in Wednesday’s race and never regained its typically fast form. But that didn’t mean Performance Boat Center could just cruise through two more races and head back to Missouri with a world title. Coil and Williams won on Wednesday with their fellow Lake of the Ozarks-based teams of Reese Langheim and Ricky Maldonado taking second in the Jackhammer Victory cat and Loren Peters and Sean Conner finishing third in the LPC Doug Wright. On Friday, LPC took the checkered flag and Performance Boat Center finished second.
Performance Boat Center teammates Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams finished second on Sunday to win the Super Stock world title.
The stage was set for another winner-take-all Super Stock-class battle—but one that never materialized. Following a restart—and a 30-minute delay—thanks to a first-turn, first-lap pile-up between Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping, CR Racing and Play Tradez in which no one was seriously injured at least one boat sustained signifiant damage, the Jackhammer team of Reese Langheim and Ricky Maldonado took the lead with LPC and Performance Boat Center chasing hard and gaining. But LPC rolled (not an unfamiliar occurrence for Peters who now has four such incidents to his credit) in the Mallory Square (habor) turn with only a couple of laps remaining. With LPC out of the mix, Coil and Williams maintained their position in second place behind Jackhammer and cruised to a Super Stock world championship.
That was a first for Williams as a throttleman, who formerly handled driving duties with Coil throttling the team’s 32-foot Doug Wright raceboat.
“It was quite a bit different,” Williams said. “I feel more comfortable throttling than driving, and Myrick is amazing on the wheel. We make a good team. I definitely want to throttle next season, and we’ll be running the Mercury Racing 300Rs on the boat.”
As it has been throughout Performance Boat Center’s Super Stock-class career to date, consistency was the key to success this week, Williams explained.
“Just run a consistent race and get on the podium, that’s our strategy,” he said. “But in 2019, we always felt like we were a little under-propped and we weren’t seeing the top speeds we wanted to. This year, we went a little bigger.”
The extremely competitive Super Stock class had the largest entry fleet in Key West this year.
The Super Stock contest produced two more firsts, both for the Jackhammer team.
“This is the first time we’ve won a race in Key West and the first time we’ve run on Sunday here,” said Langheim, the owner and driver who shares the cockpit with throttleman Maldonado. “We have been down here three years and we rolled every other year.
“It was fun, for sure,” he added. “As soon as we took off, we knew we had the setup. It was awesome.”
A smart betting person would have picked M CON to take home the Supercat-class world title after dominant wins on Wednesday and Friday. But then, smart people don’t bet on offshore racing given the nature of mechanical things such as propeller shafts, which have been known to break in competition. And that was exactly what knocked M CON’s Tyler Miller and Myrick Coil out of today’s Supercat contest and contention for a world championship.
With five boats in the class, the Supercat field put on a good show for racing fans throughout the week.
Miller was, of course, his usual resilient self after a disappointing finish to a brilliant week of competition.
“Live to race another day,” he said.
The departure of M CON, which had a substantial lead over Canada Homes and WHM Motorsports, opened the door for WHM Motorsports to take the checkered flag. While that’s fairly common stuff for longtime WHM throttleman Jay Muller, the Supercat win was another first for driver Brit Lilly, a rookie in the class.
Running strong all week with a pair of second-place finishes, Lorne Liebel and John Tomlinson are going home with the Supercat world title in their Canada Homes Skater catamaran. Tomlinson, who is grateful to be bringing another world championship back to TNT Custom Marine in Miami, said the entire Canada Homes team was happy with the outcome.
By finishing second in all three races, Lorne Leibel and John Tomlinson won the Supercat-class world championship in the Canada Homes Skater.
“That wasn’t the way we wanted to win a world championship, but we’ll take it,” the legendary throttleman explained. “I feel for the M CON guys but I’ve been there before—I’ve lost three world championships on the last day just like that. One year it was with Dave Scott, another year it was in the CMS MTI and the last one was in the Gasse MTI. That’s the thing about Key West, you really have to finish all three races to have a shot at the championship.
“As soon as we saw M CON go down, I backed off by about 5 to 6 mph and we just worried about finishing not trying to catch WHM,” he added. “It was a pretty uneventful race at that point. It was a long 10 laps with Lorne and I just watching all the instruments and making sure we didn’t make any mistakes. We knew what was at stake so we just maintained all the way to the finish.”
As previously reported on speedonthewater.com, the APBA world championships for the Bracket classes will be decided next week in Englewood Beach, Fla., at the Offshore Powerboat Association’s final event of the year. But Key West event-producer Race World Offshore had its own “world titles” for the Bracket-class competitors who slugged it out this week.
The Developer/Harpoon Harry’s team of Eddie Tamberino and Scott Brown finished first, third and first to finish atop the Bracket 200 class podium.
Running uncontested in all three Key West races, Cigarette Justice League earned the Bracket 100-class title. In Bracket 200, The Developer/Harpoon Harry’s team won today and earned the overall victory—the same went for Team Woody Racing in Bracket 300. In the Bracket 400 ranks, Simmons Racing earned the win this morning but GNS Motorsports Racing is going home with the title.
As it did all week, another boat out of the Team Woody stable won today and took the overall win for the week in the Bracket 500 class. Gerard Marine is going home with the Bracket 600 title over Southern Arbor Services. In Bracket 700, Jackhammer claimed its third checkered flag this week and is exiting Key West with top honors.
To win—and be in—you actually have to compete and in that regard the Extreme class proved disappointing today as Huski Chocolate/Huski Wear didn’t last long before breaking down and Lucas Oil/E3 did not start. Two teams running as “Exhibition” boats—Sweet Beans and JBS Racing—did turn laps on the course with the Huski outfit.
For complete results from the APBA/UIM Offshore World Championships, visit the Race World Offshore website results page.
Key West Worlds, 2021: Points Chase Updates
Key West Worlds 2021, Day 2: M CON Repeats, LPC Steps Up And More
Key West Worlds 2021, Day 1: Fresh Starts All Around
2021 Key West Poker Run And Offshore World Championships Coverage