For the better part of three decades, New York’s Billy Mauff has been a force in offshore powerboat racing. The 64-year-old, multi-time world championship-winning owner and driver of the Supercat-class WHM Motorsports team is known as a ferocious, take-no-prisoners competitor on the course and one of the sport’s most outspoken and colorful characters off it. But since September 8, Mauff has been in the fight of his life with internal organ issues that landed him in the hospital in critical condition.
Though WHM Motorsports likely won’t see the racecourse again this season, team owner, driver and general bon vivant Billy Mauff is fighting hard to come back from life-threatening illness. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“When I finally convinced him to go to the hospital apparently his colon and intestines had multiple perforations, which caused abscesses and severe infection throughout his intestinal area and eventually caused him to become septic,” said June Mauff, his wife. “The doctor said if had I not gotten him to the hospital he would have died.
“He is doing much better both mentally and physically,” she continued. “The first few days were extremely rough. He was in a lot of pain, which took a toll on him mentally. Like many people in similar situations, he suffered bouts of depression. Close friends, his doctors and I told him he could fight like he would if he were racing or continue to ask why this happened to him. He could walk the hospital halls to build up his strength to help in his recovery or he could stay in bed and allow himself to be beaten. He chose to fight to live.”
Mauff is taking the same full-speed-ahead approach to healing that he’s well known for in offshore powerboat racing. Photo by Cole McGowan copyright speedonthewater.com.
Though Mauff said her husband has made “a remarkable recovery so far,” he still has a lot of work and healing. The WHM Motorsports team is out for the Race World Offshore event in Clearwater, Fla., later this month as well as next month’s Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach race, the final contest in the second-year American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series.
The team, which includes longtime throttleman Jay Muller, also is unlikely to compete in the Race World Offshore/APBA Offshore World Championships (Nov. 7-14) in Key West, Fla.
“The lesson everyone should learn from Billy is no matter how great of shape you think you are in or how strong you think you are, stress can kill,” June Mauff said. “You have to take care of yourself and get your yearly physicals and checkups. Unfortunately, life catches up with all of us no matter how young we may feel or crazy of a lifestyle we may live.”
Concern for Mauff quickly spread through the offshore racing community. Since yesterday afternoon, the WHM Motorsports Facebook page has been flooded with more than 100 messages of support from fellow racers and fans for the well-known racer, commonly known in the sport as “The Plumber” for his New York City plumbing business.
“It’s hard to keep a good man down,” wrote Rich Luhrs, the APBA Offshore Commission chairman. “God bless, my friend.”
Wrote Lindsey Miller, the wife of Supercat-class M CON team owner/throttleman Tyler Miller, “Your fun-meter will be off the charts in no time. Tyler and I, along with our entire team, are wishing you a speedy recovery.”
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