In 2015, the Miss GEICO offshore racing team left Marathon, Fla., without taking a competitive lap at the then-new Super Boat International venue. Heading into this Sunday’s Unlimited-class contest, the team members are—with two full-race Offshore Powerboat Association victories to their credit—both carefully optimistic that their engine program is back on track and eager to succeed in a venue that driver Marc Granet described as “one of the lowest points of the 2015 season.”
“Not only did we have to deal with the disappointment of not getting to run, we broke motors, which was financially devastating,” said Granet, who is currently on his way to Marathon from the Miss GEICO team’s headquarters in Riviera Beach, Fla. “We were in full stride to the bottom, which was the SBI Worlds in Key West (Fla.), of not being able to finish a race.”
Heading into the Marathon contest after two successful races, Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet said that he and throttleman Scott Begovich “haven’t been this excited to race in awhile.” Photo from the 2016 OPA Atlantic City Veterans Grand Prix courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
“Knock wood, everything with our engine program has been going great so far,” he continued. “With the flat water of Marathon, it will be a fast race for the bigger boats—there definitely will be a little dog-fighting going on. It’s going to be flat, which means everyone will be running full rpm, and it’s going to be hot. When it’s flat and hot, you’re pushing your motors to the limit lap after lap, and that’s where they have problems—and the area where we’ve been working so diligently to solve them.”
A jumped belt on an oil-pump prevented Miss GEICO from competing in the first race of the SBI season in Cocoa Beach, Fla.—the mechanical issue occurred while the boat was in the milling area prior to the start. While frustrated and “feeling a little snake-bit,” the team members were relieved it was a minor problem rather than anything “systemic” in their retooled engine program.
Five Unlimited-class teams are currently registered for the Marathon event: Jeff Harris and Rusty Rahm in Wake Effects, a 48-foot MTI catamaran; defending world champions Bob Bull and Randy Scism in CMS, a 52-foot MTI catamaran; Mike DeFrees and Gary Ballough in CRC/Sunlight Supply, a 48-foot MTI catamaran; Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson in Lucas Oil/SilverHook, a 48-foot V-bottom; and Begovich and Granet in Miss GEICO, a 44-foot Victory catamaran.
“They’re all blisteringly fast raceboats with crews who know what they’re doing,” said Granet. “It’s going to be very competitive.
“Scotty and I haven’t been this excited to race in awhile—we’re just so pumped to compete,” he continued. “Even if we do have a problem, we know we’re on the right path now. We know we can run hard and that the boat is powerful and fast.”
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Racers Play Rough in OPA Season-Opener
Miss GEICO Team ‘Hitting Reset Button’ On Engine Program