While the No Vacancy offshore racing team of owner/driver J.J. Turk and throttleman Travis Lofland had hoped to race in Marathon and Sarasota, Fla., during the July 4 weekend, the ambitious duo has had to scrub that plan and will compete only in the Sarasota Grand Prix Powerboat Festival. Lofland, who calls Sarasota home when he’s not crab fishing in Alaska—viewers of the Discovery Channel “Deadliest Catch” reality television program know him as a veteran deckhand currently working on the Cornelia Marie—said he and Turk are disappointed they could not run both races, but the logistics made it challenging and a schedule change sealed the deal.
Lofland and Turk raced together for the first time at the SBI season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.
“Our class is racing now on Sunday in Sarasota instead of Saturday—and racing Sunday in Marathon—so even if we had worked it out with SBI (Super Boat International) officials to have our pre-race technical and safety inspection early Sunday morning it wouldn’t be possible,” said Lofland. “Our plan was to have a representative at the required meetings for Marathon, finish the race on Saturday in Sarasota and then head down to Marathon for the inspection before the race.”
Lofland said that although he had hoped to run with Turk in what would be essentially two races in approximately 24 hours in the team’s 30-foot Phantom V-bottom, he’ll be thrilled to race in front of his hometown crowd. Still, he said he regrets that the team could not compete in both events.
“How could racing in both Marathon and Sarasota not be good for the sport?” Lofland asked. “I still wish somehow we could have done that, but I’m happy to be supporting the city where I live—my home—when I’m not in Alaska. And we’re looking forward to competing on the SBI circuit for the rest of the season.”
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