The final offshore races of the 2022 season, the Offshore Powerboat Association Englewood Beach/Waterfest World Championships are on tap this weekend. An estimated 40 to 45 teams already are in town and more will be arriving throughout the day in the Southwest Florida waterfront community. OPA president Ed Smith said he’s expecting “50-ish” teams to compete, which is down from last year’s record-setting 69-boat total but understandable given the lodging challenges in the area left by Hurricane Ian.
There will be plenty of offshore racing action in Englewood Beach, Fla., this weekend. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Teams in the V-bottom classes will vie for Offshore Powerboat Association and Union Internationale Motonautique world titles based on their Saturday and Sunday results. In an intriguing wrinkle, Saturday’s race has been added to OPA’s own national championships and those champions will be crowned Saturday evening.
Bracket classes will comprise the majority of the fleet. As it usually does in Englewood Beach, the Bracket 700 class will have the largest group with 11 teams expected to compete this weekend.
On the spec-class side, LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team owner/driver Brit Lilly said he is expecting five Stock V teams including his own to show up, which would meet the minimum number of teams required for a UIM title. Super Stock-class representative Ryan Beckley said three Super Stock teams—his 32-foot CELSIUS Doug Wright catamaran not among them this year—are expected to compete in Englewood Beach this weekend.
Likewise, newly crowned UIM world champion Taylor Scism of TS Motorsports said she’s expecting three boats—her MTI 390XR included—to compete in the 450R Factory Stock class.
At least one Extreme-class boat, the 42-foot JBS Racing MTI catamaran piloted by Jeff Stevenson and Micheal Stancombe, also will be in the weekend mix.
Though it likely won’t have any competition, the JBS Racing catamaran will put on a show in Englewood Beach.
A race-by-race schedule has not been released as registration is still open, but competition is slated to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, according to the OPA website, on the four-mile, seven-turn course.
All of the action will be streamed live on the OPA Racing Facebook page. Speedonthewater.com contributing editor Eric Colby and chief photographer Pete Boden will cover all the action for the daily high-performance powerboating news site.
The Englewood Beach racecourse includes seven turns.
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