By this point in the season, the Miss GEICO offshore racing team was supposed to have one race under its belt heading into next month’s Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix on Florida’s west coast. But with the tragic death of offshore racer David Raabe leading to the cancellation of the Offshore Powerboat Association event in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet and throttleman Scott Begovich have not shared the cockpit of their 44-foot catamaran—with the exception of a recent air show and numerous practice and testing sessions—since their disappointing outing at the 2016 Super Boat International Offshore World Championships last November in Key West, Fla.
Last seen on the racecourse in November 2016 at the SBI Key West World Championships (above), Miss GEICO will compete in next month’s Sarasota Grand Prix. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Granet said the entire team is well prepared for the Sarasota contest and has plenty of pent up energy.
“Oh my god, you have no idea,” he said. “When we put our schedule together, we chose to go relatively easier at the beginning of the season then ramp it up as the year progress. We are eager and anxious to get to Sarasota and go racing. It’s been very difficult not having competition around all the time. We miss competing.
“I don’t know what other teams will be there—I think Alex And Ani is committed to coming,” he added. “Until I see them in the parking lot, I don’t worry about them. But all the teams in this class are very fast and very competitive.”
After the Sarasota event, according to Granet, the team plans to compete at OPA races in St. Clair, Mich., Fall River, Mass., and Lake Hopatcong, N.J., and SBI events in Michigan City, Ind., as well as the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., and SBI World Championships in Key West.
In the off season, Miss GEICO team manager Gary Stray and his crew worked diligently to bolster what has been a temperamental engine program, which currently has each turbocharged mill making approximately 1,700 hp.
“Knock on wood, everything is running cooler, faster and, again, knock on wood, more reliably than ever,” said Granet. “We have a lot of ‘development years’ behind us. We are optimistic that some of the big hurdles of turning these motors into real race motors are behind us.”
More recently, they replaced the rudder on their 44-footer. “That has changed the performance characteristics of our boat significantly,” he said.
While the extensive time off the racecouse has been challenging for the Miss GEICO team members, according to Granet, they’ve done everything they can to use it wisely and prepare. In less than two weeks in Sarasota, they’ll see how their patience pays off for the first time this season.
“Every time we take out the boat we treat it as test session,” said Granet. “This team has traveled enough together as a family to know what we have to do to accomplish our goals. We’ve had to use our time as smartly as we could to prepare for whatever competition we will have. Hopefully, we will have all the pieces in place by the time we get to Key West.”
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