In a move that organizers hope will bring the golden age of true “offshore” powerboat racing into the modern era, Powerboat P1 is promoting a pair of events in the two-race 2020 Ocean Cup series this year. Scheduled for early June, the Gateway Marathon Ocean Cup event pits teams against one another and the elements on a 200-mile roundtrip course from West Palm Beach, Fla., to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and back. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, Great Britain’s notoriously grueling Cowes-Torquay-Cowes endurance race August 29-30 will be the second contest in the 2020 series.
A multiple powerboat endurance-racing world record holder, Nigel Hook of the SilverHook team is leading the Ocean Cup charge. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The news was announced in a press release from Powerboat P1, which is based in England but has a U.S. office in Orlando, Fla., this morning.
“The Ocean Cup revives historic races and record attempts and creates ‘new history,’ said Azam Rangoonwala, the chief executive officer of Powerboat P1, in the release.
Leading the domestic charge in both races are endurance-and-closed-course offshore racing veteran throttleman Nigel Hook and his longtime driver Jay Johnson in their 48-foot SilverHook V-bottom. In 2017, Hook and Johnson set the Ocean Cup Key West-to-Cuba world record of 1 hour and 18 minutes. 2017. Two years later, Hook and Swedish co-pilot Michael Silfverberg tackled Gateway Marathon race, which dates back 55 years, and established the current one-way world record of 1 hour, 3 minutes and the roundtrip world-record of 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Familiar names in the domestic high-performance powerboating community, veteran offshore racer Ryan Beckley of Florida and longtime go-fast boat owner/enthusiast Chris LaMorte of New Jersey plan to take on the Gateway Cup course in Beckley’s 30-foot, outboard engine-powered Skater Powerboats catamaran called DoublEdge Motorsports.
“It will be a true offshore run, with a real sense of excitement and freedom, and we are stoked to be taking part,” said Beckley, who earned the 2019 Offshore Powerboat Association Super Stock Class World Championship in Englewood Beach, Fla., last November.
Also committed to competing in the Gateway Marathon Ocean Cup—and adding to its international flair—is the veteran Super Vee-class Sheriff Lobo cockpit duo of Florida-based driver Mark Niemann and throttleman Shameel Mohammed, a Trinidadian who owns the team.
Sheriff Lobo’s Mark Niemann and Shameel Mohammed are looking forward to competing and hoping to establish a class record in the Gateway event.
“I’ve been competing professionally in offshore circuit racing for over a decade, so to compete in an event which revives the true spirit of our sport is thrilling,” said Niemann, who is originally from Germany, in a press release from the team. “There is just no substitute for the challenge of racing in constantly changing conditions in open ocean waters.
“Powerboat P1 with their expertise in promoting top-class events, in partnership with APBA, who keep the record books of our sport, create the perfect alliance for such an historic event,” he added.
Organizied by the British Powerboat Racing Club, the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes event has run annually for six decades, the happening appears to be moving into a new era with Ocean Cup series inclusion.
Ryan Beckley and Chris LaMorte are planning on tackling the Gateway Cup.
“The British Powerboat Racing Club is delighted to incorporate the second round of the Ocean Cup 2020 series into the 60th running of the famous Cowes-Torquay-Cowes offshore powerboat race,” said Christian, the race director for the event, in the release. “We have already received firm commitments for entries from the United States, Bermuda, Italy, Sweden and France to name a few. We recognize there is a longstanding relationship with the racing community in the United States and very much look forward to welcoming these competitors for many years to come.”
Added Rangoonwala, “Like Nigel Hook, we want to keep alive the true spirit of powerboat racing and add real value. It’s great to continue our relationship with the SilverHook team and we’re excited about the two Ocean Cup events this summer.”
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