Like the rest of the Unlimited-class teams running under the Super Boat International umbrella, Miss GEICO is out of the hunt for the 2015 National Championship. In essence, all Bob Bull’s CMS team needs to do is start to claim the title at the upcoming event in Clearwater, Fla., and with two Mercury Racing 1650-engine-powered, Marine Technology, Inc., catamarans in its stable starting—not to mention finishing—shouldn’t be a problem for the team.
But while Miss GEICO team driver Marc Granet, throttleman Scott Begovich, team manager/crew chief Gary Stray and the rest of the crew aren’t about to make predictions, they haven’t given up hope—far from it—of notching a win in Clearwater and repeating for the third year in a row as the SBI Unlimited-Class World Champion in Key West, Fla., come November. In preparation for the Clearwater Nationals and the SBI Worlds, the team held a practice session today—it’s first since SBI’s Marathon, Fla., race—near its headquarters in Riviera Beach, Fla.
Last time Miss GEICO squared off against CMS was in SBI’s 2015 season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and CMS prevailed. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.
“Gary Stray and his crew have been doing a lot of work on how to run these engines at full speed for a full race without an issue,” said Granet. “At these power levels, that’s no easy task. We still have two to three more test sessions, and an air show next week in New Jersey, to get done before Clearwater. Gary is a perfectionist. But if today’s testing was any indication under the running envelope he wanted, the engines are running very cool. The boat felt very, very good.
“If we had a great record going and had been infallible this season it would be a little easier to play the ‘smack talk’ game,” he added. “But we have to stay focused on the job at hand. Clearwater is coming. Key West is coming. And in all honesty, each of us has a job to do. Each of us knows what he was to do.”
Running against Lucas Oil/Silverhook, Miss GEICO took the win in Clearwater last year, but Lucas Oil claimed the Unlimited Class National Championship. In 2013, Miss GEICO “stepped up” to the Turbine class and ran against the Spirit of Qatar team’s turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic catamaran. But the two boats tangled in a turn, and the resulting spin knocked the Miss GEICO 44-foot Victory cat out of the race.
Granet said he anticipates even stiffer competition this year from Bull’s team.
“Clearwater is always a very fast racecourse, but toward the end of the back straightway it can get a little lump from all the boat traffic,” he said. “I expect the No. 3 (CMS team) boats to push us very hard. Our goal is to push as hard as we can without falling victim to a technical glitch.”
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