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Offshore Racing 2016 Preview: Unlimited-Class Cameos


The defending Unlimited-Class World Champion CMS team will run one boat on a more-limited schedule this season. All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

After taking home National and World Championships in Superboat Unlimited class in 2015 without losing a race, Bob Bull and his CMS team will be scaling back in 2016—and right from the start. The team will miss the season-opener May 15-17 in Cocoa Beach, Fla., because throttleman Randy Scism’s daughter Chelsea is graduating from Vanderbilt University.

As reported in a comprehensive feature—“How CMS Ruled The Worlds”— in the 2015 November/December issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine, when the team does race it will most likely do so with one of the two MTI catamarans it campaigned last year. The CMS group likely wil run both boats at the offshore world championships in Key West, Fla., in November, though that isn’t guaranteed.

“We’re going to pick the highlights,” said Scism.

Closer to home, The CMS team will be at the Lake Race in its home waters of Lake of the Ozarks June 2-4 in Central Missouri, followed by the SBI race in Marathon, Fla., on June 24-26. Of course, the orange and black attack will be in full force at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout at the end of the August.

During the off-season, the Miss GEICO team focused on returning reliability to its engine program, which was problem-filled in 2015.

“Coming off Key West we had a lot of work to do,” said driver Marc Granet. “The guys got right to it and took everything we had apart and brought in renowned experts to look at what our capabilities are and where we want to go.”

The team is running its own 1,650-hp turbocharged engines and found what Granet called some “fundamental issues that the previous engine team made that were relatively small issues that created big issues.” Engineers from Indy Car, Formula 1 and NHRA racing were brought in to analyze the team’s engines and make the appropriate changes, according to Granet.

For a quick look a the SBI Unlimited class of 2016, check out the slideshow above.

Granet and throttleman Scott Begovich will run the team’s 44-foot Victory hull at the Annual Space Coast SBI Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach on May 13-15. The following week the team will head north for the Offshore Powerboat Association’s Point Pleasant Grand Prix in New Jersey May. The team will stay in the Garden State for the OPA’s Atlantic City Grand Prix on June 17 and then head to Marathon, Fla., for the SBI event there on June 24-26. A week later, it will be the annual event in Sarasota, Fla., during the July 4 weekend and at the end of August, Miss GEICO will be at the Inaugural Mentor Super Boat Grand Prix in Ohio on August 26-28. Finally, the team will wrap up its season at the SBI National Championship in Clearwater, Fla., the last weekend of September and then Key West in November.

“We’re excited,” said Granet. “We’re looking forward to redeeming ourselves and winning back the Superboat Unlimited title.”

The only V-bottom team in Superboat Unlimited, Lucas Oil Silverhook, will be back running the full SBI season in 2016. Veteran throttleman Nigel Hook will again be joined by driver Jay Johnson in the cockpit of the sleek red V-bottom powered by twin Mercury Racing 1075 SCi engines (upped to 1,200 hp) and BPM surface drives. The team is one of the few in the sport to use telemetry that enables mechanics to monitor the engines in real time during a race.

As far as the rest of the Superboat Unlimited fleet, the competition for Miss GEICO and Lucas Oil Silverhook will be sporadic throughout 2016. Mike DeFrees will be campaigning his 48’ MTI, Team CRC, in 2016, but as of this writing we hadn’t been able to reach him to learn more about his plans for the year.

As we reported recently, the Speed Racer team will have a new driver joining owner/throttleman Randy Kent in the cockpit of the 44’ MTI catamaran. Rusty Rahm, owner of Wake Effects shop in Lake of the Ozarks will run a limited schedule in 2016, gaining seat time before he builds his own Superboat class MTI for 2017.

From the Mystic Powerboats camp, the bright green Envy boat is getting new Stotler turbocharged engines for 2016, but the team’s schedule is uncertain. We also reached out to the Alex and Ani team and will provide updates once we have them. A hit with fans during the Key West Worlds for the past few seasons, the Alex and Ani 42-foot Platinum catamaran will return this season, but the team also hasn’t finalized its schedule.


Fan favorite Alex and Ani will be back in 2016.

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