For the record, the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team claimed the 2021 American Power Boat Association Stock V world championship a week ago today in Key West, Fla. Team owner/driver Brit Lilly and throttleman Jay Muller—subbing for longtime LSB throttleman Kevin Smith—could have taken it easy in this weekend’s Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Englewood Beach, Fla. They literally had nothing to lose as only the Bracket classes were competing for APBA world titles in the welcoming Southwest Florida city.
But neither Lilly nor Muller is wired that way.
Instead, they followed up yesterday’s dominant performance with another gem today in the 29-foot Extreme V-bottom Lilly finished building just weeks before the 2021 season began. And until they hit in Key West, they’d had a challenging season with only two victories.
Five for five—that’s how the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team ended its 2021 season with a pair of wins this weekend in Englewood Beach. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Now, thanks to a flawless second outing on the four-mile, seven-turn Englewood Beach course, the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team has was won the last five races it has entered. They were followed by Wazzup and Speed Marine. A pair of super-competitive teams, Relentless and Shocker spun out during the contest and were not a threat.
Having won yesterday, LSB had to start in the far outside lane today for today’s double-length, double-points contest. But the team planned perfectly for it.
“We moved some weight around and maybe even were a little too light in the nose, but you need that holeshot when you start on the outside,” Lilly said. “We came out of the first turn in second, and by the end of the first lap we were leading. It was a lot flatter today than yesterday—it was even flatter than it was on Friday during testing.”
Smith will return to the LSB cockpit in the 2022 season. “Kevin is my boy,” Lilly said, then laughed. “But I can assure you that Jay is one hell of a backup driver.”
Taking Stock And More
Reese Langheim, the owner and driver of the Super Stock-class Jackhammer team, also came to Englewood with his best-ever result—third place overall—in Key West and nothing to lose. That the 2021 APBA Super Stock world title was already in the books for the Performance Boat Center team made zero difference to Langheim and throttleman Julian Maldonado, who replaced his father, Ricky, in the Jackhammer cockpit in Englewood Beach.
But after taking yesterday’s checkered flag, they would have to settle for second place in what was the fifth race of the day that included the Super Stock, Mod V and Bracket 200 classes.
When the green flag flew at the start of the Super Stock race, throttleman Todd DeFillipps and driver Brent Holbrook in the 30-foot Wicked Powerboats/CoCo’s Monkey catamaran—built by DeFillipps—took advantage of their spot in lane No. 1 (thanks to a scratch by the Deep Vee Cats team, which finished last on Saturday). With superior speed, they also made the most of the flat water to take the lead ahead of throttleman Muller and owner/driver Al Penta, who took second overall in the 32-foot Doug Wright dubbed Phase 5, and the 32-foot Victory-built Jackhammer cat.
Todd DeFillipps and driver Brent Holbrook led the Super Stock pack from start to finish in Wicked Powerboats/CoCo’s Monkey.
Though Penta and Muller ran a strong race and appeared to be a lock to claim second place, they broke near the end of the contest. Wicked/CoCo’s Monkey captured the checkered flag, followed by Jackhammer in second. The oldest boat in the class, Ryan Beckley’s 30-foot Skater Powerboats cat, Cape Haze Marina/DoublEdge Motorsports, wound up third. (When the teams last raced here in 2019 in much rougher conditions, Beckley captured the OPA Super Stock world title.)
“The wind started blowing today but the water laid down, unlike yesterday,” said DeFillipps, who claimed second-place overall in Key West and is building a new boat for the 2022 season. “We got a good start—in this class it’s all about the start and getting clean water. Everybody was so far behind we couldn’t see them in the rearview mirror.”
With the a big lead and the race his to win or lose, DeFillipps said he wasn’t concerned about a mechanical gremlin knocking them out of the contest.
“I always finish,” he said. “That why I keep everything really fresh and new.”
For Maldonado, the second-place Super Stock-class finish was his worst result of the day. In the morning’s first race, he and driver Brian Guy took the Bracket 700 class victory in Jackhammer after a disappointing result thanks to a mechanical issue on Saturday. They were followed by Goofin Around and Hangin’ N Bangin’, which earned the APBA/UIM Bracket 700 Class World Championship title.
Today’s race was the Jackhammer team’s final Bracket 700 performance. Maldonado and Guy are moving into the Super Stock class next season with a new 32-foot Victory catamaran.
“We’re in the process of putting the boat together now,” Maldonado said.
Moving to the Super Stock class in 2022, Jackhammer’s Julian Maldonado and Brian Guy ran their last Bracket 700-class race today.
On a similar note, FJ Propeller team owner/throttleman Gary Ballough let his new driver Cole Leibel—whose father Lorne Leibel won the Super Cat world championship in Key West with John Tomlinson—get acclimated in the 32-foot Victory cat. They finished fifth.
The Mod V race was short-lived when the 30-foot Phantom, Sheriff Lobo, spun in the first corner on the first lap. That left owner/throttleman Steve Miklos and driver Steven Fehrmann to run unopposed in their 30-foot Extreme, Sun Print.
The Bracket 200 race was equally anti-climactic. What could have been a shootout between two 35-foot Fountains didn’t unfold because driver Louis Giancontieri and throttleman Johnny Stanch had their second mechanical issue in as many days in Strictly Business and barely completed a lap. This left Billy Shipley and Chad Woody to run unopposed in Team Woody as they completed the required 10 laps.
After two days of strong compeition, Hangin’ N Bangin’ is the APBA/UIM Bracket 700 world champion.
More Bracket Bonanzas
The morning’s second race saw the Bracket 300 and Bracket 600 classes running the full course. In Bracket 300, Reindl jumped out early to take the lead, followed by Team Woody and the ever-competitive Typhoon team. Throughout the contest, they retained that order. And that was how they finished, with Team Woody taking home the world championship trophy.
Team Woody finished the 2021 offshore racing season in world championship-winning form.
Bracket 600 saw more jockeying for the top three slots. Money Monster led in the early laps, followed by Rum Runners and CRC/Smith Brothers. But when Money Monster pulled into the center of the course with a mechanical issue, Rum Runners took the lead and—several laps later—the checkered flag and the APBA/UIM world championship. Rum Runners was followed by CRC/Smith Brothers and Southern Arbor Services.
The third race of the day boasted a mix of classic offshore V-bottom boats in the Bracket 400 and Bracket 500 classes. After having boost issues yesterday, Matt and Dan Soper and their non-stepped 38-foot Cigarette Top Gun, Old School, started on the pole, jumped to the lead and never looked back.
Old School’s Matt and Dan Soper will return to Michigan with a Bracket 400-class APBA/UIM world title to their credit.
Not far behind were father and son, Jason Saris and Johnny Saris, and navigator Vern French in their 33-foot Coyote, Saris Racing, and they were doing battle initially with local favorite, the 41-foot Apache, Predator. That boat had an intercooler issue yesterday and the two battled for second and third until Predator was bitten by the attrition bug again about two-thirds of the way through the race. The 34-foot Phantom, Control Freak, took third in Bracket 400 in today’s race.
“We got messed up at the start and broke out, but it was a great race,” said the younger Saris. “The race was great—we were right on Old School and Predator was right on us until they broke.
“I am so happy for Matt and his team,” he added. “We’ve become good friends. They’re great people.”
The Saris Racing team breakout, combined with today’s double-points format, sealed the APBA/UIM Bracket 400 world championship title for Old School, which has battled the outstanding Predator team all season to the delight of Cigarette- and Apache-brand fans.
Saris Racing and Predator came up short today trying to chase down Old School, but they put on a show in the process.
“Saris Racing is the best in the business and to beat them—it’s just so humbling,” Soper said. “The first turn was dicey. We were all feet apart. We actually had to back off. But the Saris and Predator guys are such clean racers.
“We’re still taking it all in,” he added. “We’re reeling.”
After Saturday’s race, the Saris Racing and Predator teams actually helped the Old School outfit with parts and repairs to prepare for today’s race.
Said Soper, “That’s what this big racing family is all about.”
The action at the front of the Bracket 500 competition looked much as it had all season with Micheal Stancombe and J.J. Turk in the 30-foot Phantom, Team Woody, dueling with the 30-foot Superboat, Shoreline Plumbing. Continuing their season-long winning ways, Shoreline Plumbing’s Brent Appiarius and Eddie Simmons grabbed the lead after Team Woody’s engine let go and took the checkered flag. Another 30-foot Phantom, Sabrina Phantom, finished second in today’s race followed by Mean Streak, which exits Englewood Beach with the Bracket 500 APBA/UIM world title to its credit.
The Big Finish
In the final racing action of 2021, three boats took to the course in the Unlimited class along with single competitors in Class 2 and 450R Factory Stock. (A mechanical issue kept the V Extreme-class Knucklehead Racing team from joining them.)
After a back-and-forth competition in the Unlimited class yesterday, Rich Wyatt and Marc Granet in the df young 50-foot Mystic catamaran, left nothing to chance, using a holeshot advantage at the start to jump to an early lead they never relinquished. Popular racer Serafino Cazzani and throttleman Russel Clay maintained second in the 40-foot Platinum cat, The Preserve RI.
They were followed by team owner/driver Jeff Stevenson and throttleman Stancombe in the 42-foot MTI JBS Racing cat powered by twin 1,100-hp V16 engines. (The Sweet Beans team, which competed Saturday in its 46-foot Skater, was scratched after its crew found metal in the engine oil.)
The order stayed that way for the full 13 laps on the course and df young captured an OPA world title.
In the first-year 450R Factory Stock class, throttleman John Tomlinson and driver Taylor Scism ran unopposed in their 39-foot MTI catamaran powered by twin 450-hp Mercury Racing engines. The same went for the Bracket 200-class Bat Boat team of throttleman Elliott Gray and driver Terry Forsythe in their aptly named—and styled—42-foot MTI catamaran.
Though the JBS Racing MTI catamaran powered by twin V-16 engines finished behind df young in the Unlimited class, the 42-footer put on a roaring good show for the Englewood Beach fans.
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