With no less than 50 raceboats in Englewood Beach, Fla., this weekend, the 2018 Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships are shaping up to be epic. And they’ll be contested in big seas—today’s four- to six-footers in the Gulf of Mexico led most teams to limit practice sessions to the Intracoastal Waterway and left speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden licking his chops over all the “big-air” shots he hopes to capture this weekend.
Miss GEICO will square off against CRC/Sunlight Supply, Stotler Turbo and CT Marine on Saturday and Sunday. Photo from the 2018 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Races run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday. You can catch the action on the OPA YouTube channel, as well as via the organization’s website. Offshore racing veteran Bob Teague and longtime Lake of the Ozarks Shootout contributing broadcaster Bob May will call the action.
Here’s a quick look at what could be some of the highlights—and of course there could be more—this weekend.
•Extreme Class—As reported earlier today on speedonthewater.com, the CT Marine team is in town to duke it out with Miss GEICO, CRC/Sunlight Supply and the Stotler Turbo team. Far and away, that’s the biggest Extreme-class turnout of the year.
•Super V Light/Super V Light Extreme—This class is stacked with its usual assort of OPA team such as Woah Momma! and Typhoon, as well as two new teams—one being run by Jay Muller of WHM Motorsports fame—joining the fray. From the Super Boat International ranks, Sunprint Management and Boatfloater.com will join in the action, though I don’t know at this point if they’ll run as SVL or SVLX entries.
Running as Cape Haze Marina, the S-111 team owned by Ryan Beckley will compete against Killer Bee and several other Super Stock competitors this weekend.
•Super Stock Class—At least four outboard-engine-powered, Stock-class catamarans—including the beautiful new Killer Bee Doug Wright 32-foot catamaran—will compete this weekend. Right now, the biggest drama revolves around Killer Bee driver Lindsey Denooyer, a college junior in Vermont reportedly on her way to join her father, Jim, in the cockpit. Like many of the racers headed here, she’s dealing with flight delays caused by the current storm in the Northeast.
•Class 5—With approximately 10 boats competing this weekend, this is sure to be the largest class of the weekend. Competition in Class 5 is tight, as it is in Class 4, which should have four to six teams competing.
Boatfloater.com and Sunprint management will be part of the SVL/SVLX fleet.
Editor’s Note: Veteran offshore powerboat racer Johnny Saris covers the Offshore Powerboat Association circuit for speedonthewater.com.
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