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OPA Fall River Grand Prix Sees Tight Battles

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Rich and Peter Smith dominated the eight-boat Class 6 fleet. Photos courtesy/copyright Cindi Hudson.

Yesterday’s Offshore Powerboat Association Fall River Grand Prix was an absolute success. The Massachusetts weather could not have been better, the town was extremely supportive, the staff and volunteers were beyond helpful and the racing was particularly epic.

One of the most impressive performances of the day came from the vintage 36 Skater Lightning Jacks, which gave the Alex And Ani, a 40-foot Platinum Superboat, a serious run for its money. Lightning Jacks driver/engine Builder Josh Wall and throttleman/owner John Wooley pulled on Alex And Ani throttleman/owner Jimmy Cazzani and driver/engine builder Herb Stotler at the start, which ignited a battle that would last most of the race until Alex and Ani had to retire early with a broken drive.

Although they put on a great show, the two boats were not in the same class, so both came home victorious.

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Sharing the cockpit for the first time, the father-and-son duo of Rob and Vinny Winoski took second place in Bronx Phantom.

Wall also took victory in the Class 5 entry Coastal Boat Sales, edging out Repeat Offender and RUFSTR on the course. That’s one of the benefits of small races sites such as Fall River—they enable competitors to run in more than one class. Dave Raabe throttled both the Repeat Offender Fountain in Class 3 and Magnum in Class 5. I was lucky enough to find myself in the driver’s seat of RUFSTR as EJ Salamone couldn’t make this race, and then behind the wheel of the Saris Racing Engines 32 Cobra in Class 4. We were victorious in Class 4.

But yesterday’s best story concerned the father-and-son team of Bronx Phantom. Veteran offshore throttleman Rob Winoski and his son Vinny made their first race ever in competition together, bringing home a well-fought second place.

The most dominating run of the day came from Rich and Peter Smith in Smith Brothers Racing, 26 Joker. They led the eight-boat, Class 6 field wire to wire, coming home with the win. Said throttleman Rich Smith, “The win made up for our showing here last year where we dropped a valve in testing and couldn’t not make the race the next day”

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Editor’s Note: A frequent contributor to speedothewater.com and veteran offshore racer, Johnny Saris (above left in RUFSTR at the Fall River event) shares the cockpit of the Saris Racing Engines V-bottom with his father, Jason.

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