Mark Kowalski, the longtime throttleman for the J.D. Byrider Super Boat International Superboat-class catamaran, has joined the Stihl team. He will share the cockpit of the team’s Skater 388 cat with J.R. Noble, the driver and owner of the team, who is based in Orlando, Fla. Kowalski lives outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
“We are really excited about it,” said Noble. “With all the experience he’s had and all the experience I’ve had we should have no trouble running together. As it stands right now, we are going to run on the SBI circuit, and we are planning on running every race, though maybe not New York City depending on scheduling.”
According to Noble, John Tomlinson, Mike Thomas and the rest of the crew at TNT Custom Marine in Miami will maintain and handle major service—if needed—of the Stihl cat during the 2014 season. TNT recently rebuilt the boat’s drives, replaced its gimbals, handled some superficial fiberglass repair work and is in the process of reinstalling the boat’s refreshed Scorpion Racing engines, which arrived at the TNT shop last Friday.
“We’re a little behind, but as soon as TNT gets the engines back in the boat we can work out a testing schedule,” said Noble. “It all depends on how fast they can get the boat back together.
“Between races we’ll take the boat to TNT,” he continued. “All the stuff that came down when Grant left the team (read the story)—I have no problem with that because the guy has to make a living—but it did kind of set us back because we had everything torn apart. Thankfully, Johnny (Tomlinson) has been just great to work with. One other thing that was been great in all of this is all the people who called to offer their services. I really appreciated that.”
(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image)