Billy Mauff, the high-voltage veteran offshore racer and owner/driver of the Supercat-class WHM Motorsports team, reckons he’s burned through four of his nine lives. Two of them he credits to roll-overs on the racecourse and one to a snowmobile wreck this winter in Wyoming that, he said, “almost ripped my arm off.” Most recently—as in this month—the 64-year-old plumbing contractor who lives in New York found himself tapping on death’s door with intestinal issues that have knocked him out of the sport for the rest of the season.
Brit Lilly (right with Miss GEICO throttleman Steve Curtis) will pull double driving duty in the WHM Motorsports and LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness raceboats in Key West this year. Photo by Cole McGowan copyright speedonthewater.com.
“Every day you’re above the ground rather than below it is a good one,” said Mauff, who in his typically unstoppable fashion is back to work (though at a gentler pace for the time being). “But my doctors don’t want me to get back in the boat for Key West in November. So I’ve asked Brit Lilly to drive the WHM Motorsports Skater catamaran with (throttleman) Jay Muller.
“Brit is the right guy for the job,” he continued. “He has lot of experience including driving the Miss GEICO cat. He’s been around racing since he was a kid. I used to race against his dad, Art Lilly, and there was no harder guy to beat in offshore racing than Art Lilly. If ever there was a guy who could run a boat, it was Art—and, as the saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
Mauff paused, then laughed. “Plus, Brit has been able to say right-side-up with Steve Curtis in Miss GEICO,” he said. “If you can do that, you’ve achieved a lot.”
Though he won’t be behind the wheel this year in Key West, WHM Motorsports team owner Billy Mauff will be there to cheer on Lilly and Muller in his 40-foot Skater Powerboats raceboat. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
For Lilly, who is 35 years old and lives in Arnold, Md., it’s been an up and down—but mostly down—season. He and his longtime throttleman Kevin Smith got off to a strong start with two wins in his the new 29-foot Extreme Stock V-class LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness raceboat he built himself at the Lilly Sport Boats shop. Since then, Lilly and Smith and have dropped four races straight. Adding to the misery, Lilly had been swapping the Miss GEICO driver seat with his friend Travis Pastrana for what they both hoped would be their first full season in the cockpit of the 47-foot catamaran. But Miss GEICO dropped out of the sport last month.
So the invitation to drive the WHM Motorsports raceboat during the three-race, Race World Offshore-produced American Power Boat Association Offshore World Championships (Nov. 7-14) in Key West, Fla., came at just the right time.
“Racing in Supercat in WHM—it sounds wild to even say that,” Lilly said. “My dad raced against Billy for many years, so racing with a team like that is a dream come true. And I am super-pumped to be able to race with Jay. We’ve been friends for years and it shouldn’t take us very long to mesh together.
“And I’m about to race in a Skater,” he added. “This is the top of the world for me.”
A few weeks from now, Mauff will fly Lilly to Cocoa Beach, Fla., for his first test-and-practice session with Muller and the WHM Motorsports crew. Muller, who gave Lilly a heads up that the invite might be coming, is confident Lilly will excel behind the wheel of the team’s 40-footer.
Muller (rear) will pull double throttleman duty in Key West with Albert Penta in Phase 5 and Lilly in WHM Motorsports.
“I’m looking forward to racing with Brit,” he said. “We will be testing quite a bit to make sure we are fully prepared for Key West.”
Though he won’t be in the cockpit, Mauff will be in Key West in November to watch Muller and Lilly earn what he hopes will be world championship No. 19 for his team. If they claim this year’s Supercat title, the trophy will go home with Lilly.
Current plans have both Muller and Lilly pulling double-duty in Key West. Muller is set to throttle the Phase 5 Super Stock-class 32-foot Doug Wright raceboat. Lilly will drive his own LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness 29-footer in the Stock V ranks.
Mauff described himself at being “50 percent” of his former energetic self at work. But he is planning on a full recovery and has no intention of leaving the sport.
“I will be back in 2022, I can tell you that,” he said. “I will continue to run until I lose my wits and become a danger to other racers.”
He paused and chuckled again. “I have seen them come and I have seen them go, and I’ll probably see them come and go again.”
Inside SOTW Mag: The Brit Lilly Interview
WHM Motorsports Coming To Key West
Mauff On The Mend But Out For Clearwater, Fort Myers Beach And Likely Key West
CR Racing, Shocker And More Earn Checkered Flags In Clearwater
Lilly-Built Extreme Raceboat Ready For Paint, On Track For Cocoa Beach Green Flag
Lilly Embraces Learning Curve In Miss GEICO Practice Session
Lilly And Smith Headed For APBA Hall Of Champions
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