There is a new team joining the newest class in offshore racing via MTI’s 450R Factory Stock-class concierge service, and everyone involved is excited to see the catamaran compete on the racecourse for the first time later this week in Michigan City, Ind. Featuring the youngest driver in the class—and that’s saying something considering 17-year-old Logan Adan drives the 38-foot Doug Wright Powerboats cat—the Mead Family Racing team is going to have 16-year-old Caleb Mead on the wheel alongside veteran throttleman and three-time world champion tunnel boat racer Shaun Torrente of Shaun Torrente Racing.
After testing its MTI 390XR on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks last weekend, the Mead Family Racing team is ready to make its 450R Factory Stock-class debut at the Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, Ind. Photo courtesy Brad Glidewell/Brad Glidewell Photography
Torrente, who also throttles a Super Stock-class MTI with owner and driver Sean Conner, and Mead, who is the youngest son of longtime MTI customers, Zane and Amanda Mead of Texas, are going to be racing the 390XR raceboat that Taylor Scism and John Tomlinson raced in 2022, earning the sport’s first 450R Factory Stock-class world championship in Key West, Fla., in November. It’s actually TS Motorsports number two; the first one is now the 151 Express boat.
Dubbed MF Racing, the new team, which will be supported by an MTI crew led by Milton Calafel, similar to the program utilized by the GB Racing team of Willy Cabeza and Gary Ballough, spent a few days in Miami in early July testing the boat, which was wrapped to match the Mead family’s 48-foot MTI cat and its MTI-V 50 performance center console. This past weekend the team regrouped at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri for two more days of testing, which went well according to Zane Mead.
The Mead family—Zane, Amanda, Caleb and Caden—are looking forward to the Mead Family Racing team’s first 450R Factory Stock race of the season. Photo courtesy Brad Glidewell
“I’m not surprised Caleb wanted to go racing—I used to put him in the backseat of my 40-foot MTI and drive around the lake for nap time,” said Zane Mead, adding that Caleb’s older brother, Caden, is going to be part of the team and help at the races. “Some people put their kids in their mini-vans, I put my kid in a boat. And that’s just how the kids grew up. We got our first MTI in 2008 so that’s all they know. I remember from the minute Caleb could pull himself up on the glass in his diaper, he’d stand there and say ‘boat, boat, boat,’ when any boat went by. He’d sit there for an hour and say ‘boat’ over and over.
“Our family friends who we met on Possum Kingdom Lake outside of Dallas, the Caldwells, who also own MTIs, are kind of the ones who kicked all of this off,” he continued. “ John’s son, Cooper, started jet ski racing and Caleb asked me about maybe racing jet skis. I told him no because I don’t know anything about those, but then I said, ‘How about we try out Randy’s new boat racing deal?’ He agreed that sounded fun so we decided to try it, and here we are now. I think he’s super excited and I know Caden, Amanda and I are super excited for him.”
Zane Mead was referring to MTI founder Randy Scism, whose daughter, Taylor, is in her third season racing 450R Factory Stock. The Scisms, of course, are thrilled that someone they’ve watched grow up is going to be racing one of their boats.
Check out the slideshow above for more pictures of the Meads and their raceboat, which matches their 48-foot MTI. Photos courtesy Brad Glidewell and Zane Mead
Caleb Mead, a teenager who chooses his words wisely and sparingly, said he is eager to get out on the racecourse and start learning the ropes.
“I’m stoked—I’m really ready to race,” Caleb Mead said. “When we went to Miami it was fun and it was more exciting than I thought. There’s a lot more to it than I was expecting, too. I have a lot to learn. But that’s OK because this season is about finishing races and gaining experience.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” he added. “My dad’s had these types of boats for a while and when I found out about Bob Bull and Randy (Scism) racing, I’ve told my dad and Randy that I’ve wanted to do this for years. I can’t wait to get out there. I have to thank my parents and my brother for their support, and also the Scism family for everything they’ve done to help me.”
Rookie driver Caleb Mead (right) received an offshore racing crash course during a test session in Miami with his throttleman, Shaun Torrente (left), and MTI’s Shaun Peters (with hat) and Milton Calafel. Photo courtesy Zane Mead
Both Caleb and Zane Mead added that they’re thrilled to have Torrente on the team.
“Shaun came highly recommended by Randy and Taylor and that was all we needed to hear,” Zane Mead said. “We met him in Miami for the first time and enjoyed being around him. He and Caleb seemed to hit it off. He brought his daughter, Isabella, so it was nice to get to meet her.”
While he’s looking forward to getting to know the Mead family better, Torrente said his primary goal during the Offshore Powerboat Association-sanctioned Great Lakes Grand Prix presented by XINSURANCE is to get Caleb comfortable behind the wheel of the canopied raceboat.
“Caleb is a fantastic young man and I’m grateful that the family—and MTI—trusts me enough to join him and teach him how to drive,” Torrente said, following a couple of days of testing earlier this month. “He’s going to need some time; we all know that and that’s completely OK. He’s young and inexperienced but he is eager to learn.
“For our first race in Michigan City, we’re going to go as hard as he’s comfortable with in the conditions we’re handed,” he continued. “Our goal is to take care of the equipment and finish the race.”
That’s always a good goal—especially for a team’s first race.
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