Iowa-based performance boater Randy Keys has been around boats most of his life but his passion for go-fast boats began more recently and is about to reach another level all because his friend—Bill Allen, the owner of the Team Allen Lawn Care And Landscaping Super Stock-class raceboat—gave him a ride in the S-17 canopied Doug Wright catamaran almost two years ago back on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks.
KLOVAR Motorsports teammates Randy Keys and Bill Allen can’t wait to start testing Key’s new 450R Factory Stock-class MTI 390XR catamaran, which sits on a tilt trailer from MYCO Trailers. Photos courtesy Randy Keys
The former owner of a Wright Performance Powerboats 360 catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R engines that he picked up after taking that ride with Allen and ran up to 106 mph in last year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, Keys recently purchased the first MTI 390XR raceboat, which was campaigned in the 2021 class exhibition season by driver Taylor Scism and throttleman John Tomlinson. Scism, client relations manager for the Wentzville, Mo.-based MTI, and Tomlinson, co-owner of TNT Custom Marine in Miami, are going to be racing in a new boat that is expected to be finished before the season opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., in May.
Keys, who is president and owner of Schaal Heating & Cooling, the award-winning HVAC contractor based in Des Moines that is the primary team sponsor, is planning to race the 39-foot MTI alongside Allen, the world champion throttleman who is going to pull double-duty at most races with talented driver Cody McDowell in the extremely competitive Super Stock class.
Keys said that the team’s new Mercury Racing 450R engines shipped earlier this week so he’s eager to get them on and start testing the boat right away.
“Being new to offshore racing I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m certain I have the right guy in the boat to teach me,” said Keys, who also owns a Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats 390 Sport center console powered by a trio of 450R engines. “I want to have fun and enjoy the people and the places at each venue, but I’m a competitive person by nature so I will do what I can to put my boat out in front. I’m also not naive. I understand the time that everyone else puts into this and the experience that they have. I want to be competitive though so we will put in the time and effort it takes to get there.
“I certainly didn’t dream of being a boat racer my whole life—but in a way, this is kind of a dream come true after hanging around Bill and the team the last couple of years,” he continued. “The entire Team Allen crew has taken us in and become like family to us so we’re very excited to go racing with them this season. Our teams are going to remain separate, but I’m sure we’ll be working together as much as we can. I also anticipate working closely with and learning from Taylor, Johnny and the rest of the MTI team. This is going to be so awesome.”
Along with encouragement from his parents, his brother and his sister, Keys added that he’s thankful for the support from his wife, Victoria, and their three daughters, Addison, Lexie and Olivia. He said the team’s name—KLOVAR Motorsports—is an acronym inspired by his family’s names: Keys Lexie Olivia Victoria Addison Randy. The team already started a Facebook page for fans, family and friends to follow along throughout the season.
Check out the slideshow above for a couple of images of the MTI with its new graphics as well as two of the boat racing in 2021 courtesy of Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to run in a bigger class—we both have a lot to learn and I have a feeling we’re going to have fun learning together,” said Allen, who added that the sport’s newest class and its limited field should be a great way for Keys to get a good feel for the sport rather than trying a class such as Super Stock, which could have up to 20 boats racing this season. “Randy is a go-getter and a great guy. I’m glad he’s shown some interest in the sport because we could use more people like him on and off the racecourse.”
Allen added that he has a feeling the 450R Factory Stock class is going to take off over the next couple of years. Randy Scism, the owner and founder of MTI, agreed with Allen and said he can’t wait to see the new team in action.
“Having Randy and Bill on a team together is going to be awesome,” Randy Scism said. “Billy has a lot of seat time—he’s a really good racer. I think Randy will benefit a lot from the experience. It’s not going to take him long to get comfortable in the boat.
“We’re excited about the season and about the class overall,” he added. “I think 450R Factory Stock is going to grow in a big way. We have five raceboats on order and we understand there are other companies building boats for the class as well.”
At the 2021 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, Randy Keys reached 106 mph in the 36-foot Wright Performance catamaran that he sold at the end of last summer. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
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