Back in the United Kingdom since early December to enjoy the Christmas holiday, Miss GEICO offshore racing team throttleman Steve Curtis is eyeing the 2021 offshore racing season with hope—and a whole lot of pent-up energy he hopes to expend on the racecourse next year. Curtis spearheaded the Class 1 movement for the six-race inaugural American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship season in 2019, and while the class didn’t materialize as envisioned, it did attract a consistent, three-team international fleet—the United States’ Miss GEICO, 222 Offshore of Australia and the Dubai-based Victory outfit—at all six races. The class had momentum.
Steve Curtis (left) mentored extreme motorsports legend Travis Pastrana through his first season in the cockpit of the Miss GEICO team’s 47-foot Victory catamaran. Photo by Coleman McGowan copyright Miss GEICO.
Then came 2020, which saw 222 Offshore and Victory teams locked down in their home countries for the year. The Miss GEICO team ran uncontested in the three events produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association—the only three races of the year. Through those events and practice sessions, the team was able to get seat time for then-new Miss GEICO drivers Brit Lilly and Travis Pastrana. Both have committed to return for the 2021 season.
For the time being, Curtis, is spending time with Abbie, his significant other, and their children at their quiet home—made even quieter by the current COVID-19-forced lockdown—in the English countryside. Restrictions allowing, he plans to return to his Florida home-base this month.
A few days before we said good riddance to 2020, we caught up with the multi-time world-champion by phone. Here’s what he had to say.
How goes life in the U.K. at the moment?
It’s good to be back in Jolly Old England, but we’re in level-four lockdown so it’s not exactly the epicenter of the social world. We’re not supposed to leave home for anything other than food or medicine. All shops, restaurants and bars are closed.
Powerboat P1 announced a Class 1 schedule for 2021 with St. Petersburg and Key West (Fla.) in the mix. What’s your take on it?
I think any schedule this early and confirmed is a great thing and it’s always fun to race in Key West. Just need to make the courses longer now for Class 1, just to bring back more of a challenge and a bit of offshore heritage and romance of the big catamarans.
A pair of offshore racing veterans, Curtis and Brit Lilly gelled quickly in the Miss GEICO raceboat this year. Photo by Coleman McGowan copyright Miss GEICO.
What do you have in mind?
I think at least seven-mile laps and maybe a couple of 12-mile ones thrown in for good measure. The current average lap length is four to five miles. Cocoa Beach had the longest course of the year in 2019, and I think that was six miles.
Though you didn’t have a lot of time in the cockpit with either of them, you had two drivers to share the cockpit with last year. That must have been interesting.
(Laughs) Brit is very good and very laid back in the cockpit. Travis wants to go flat out all the time (laughs again) I need more seat time with Travis, but the last race we learned a lot together.
Any New Year’s resolutions?
To get things back on track in offshore racing—and to get out of the house more often.
Curtis and the entire Miss GEICO team are looking forward to a competitive Class One season in 2021. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Miss GEICO Confirms Cockpit Roster For 2021
Commentary: Good Karma For Miss GEICO
Miss GEICO Team To Launch ‘Community Drivers’ Program In 2021
Optimistic And Focused Miss GEICO Team Looks Ahead To 2021 Season
Pastrana In For 2021 Miss GEICO Season