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HomeRacingNew Full Send Bracket 400 Team Set The For Lake Race

New Full Send Bracket 400 Team Set The For Lake Race

Josh Jones, the owner of the rookie Bracket 400-class Full Send offshore racing team grew up watching races on Lake Michigan. Since then, the 45-year-old, who lives in West Olive, Mich., with his wife, Billijo, has dreamed of competing in the sport.

This Saturday, he’ll get his first chance. Jones and his fellow rookie teammates will compete in the Lake Race, the second stop in the eight-event American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series, on the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri.

Josh Jones’ 36-foot Pantera sportboat will be part of the Bracket 400-class fleet on the Lake of the Ozarks this Saturday. Photo from Rock The Coast 2019 by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“I have been a fan of the sport my whole life,” he said. “I used to see all the big boys roll back in the ’80s and ’90s in Saugatuck and Grand Haven, and one of my goals was to someday be out there.”

A little more than five years ago, Jones began searching for a boat to turn that dream into a reality. He hoped to buy an Apache V-bottom, but couldn’t find one that worked out for him. But he did eventually buy a 2006 model-year 36 Pantera Survivor V-bottom, reportedly the first one built, powered by a pair of 675-hp engines. For the next few years, he ran it with his wife and their friends in West Michigan Offshore events.

Buying the boat required a husband-and-wife negotiation.

“At that point, we still had two other boats and I had dragged her all over the country to look at boats to buy,” Jones said, then laughed. “She told me I had to sell the other boats before we could buy it.”

“I just wanted him to sell the boats and buy the new one so he would stop talking about,” Billijo said, then laughed.

Dressed in its racing livery, Full Send is ready for the Lake Race.

Before entering the sport this year, Jones talked with Bracket 400-class world champion Matt Soper of the Old School team, who retired from offshore racing this season. Jones also was at the APBA series race last year in St. Clair, Mich., where he watched the “Clash of the Titans” between the Old School Cigarette and Apache Predator teams.

“That pretty much sealed the deal,” he said. “So I reached out to Matt. He helped us a bunch.”

Jones, who will throttle the 36-footer, will be joined in the cockpit by driver Alex Nykerk and navigator/mechanic Sanders Ellen. Their goal is to earn Bracket 400-class national championship this season before heading to the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in November in Englewood Beach, Fla. (As previously reported on speedothewater.com, all American Power Boat Association and Union International Motonautique V-bottom world titles will be decided in Englewood Beach.)

“We plan on running every race on the OPA schedule,” said Jones. “We’ve done a lot of poker runs on Lake Michigan and this boat is great in rough water. But we know that competing will be a lot different.”

The all-rookie Full Send crew will have plenty of strong competition this season.

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