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OPA Worlds, Day 2: Close Races And Flat-Out Dominance Rule The Day

Although the water laid down today for the second round of the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Englewood Beach, Fla., that didn’t mean the competition for titles was anything less than exciting. Between close battles and runaway victories, all four multi-class races produced great action in the double-point contests.

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On its way to a Super V Light Extreme World title, Boatfloater.com managed to log a little air time (click image to enlarge).Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Let’s start with the closest competitions, which were in the Class 4 and Class 5 races. In Class 4, we faced one of toughest races we’ve ever had in our Saris Racing Engines V-bottom thanks to J.J. Turk and Brian Williamson in Perdition. We chased them for three laps before finally making a move in turn No. 1 to get inside of them, but we had to work every second of every lap to stay there and come out of Englewood Beach with a world title.

In the five- or -six-team Class 5 ranks, you couldn’t have put a piece of paper between RUFSTR and Done Deal on almost every lap of the race. RUFSTR finished ahead of Done Deal, but I’ve talked to both teams and both are worried about breaking out. So while it looks for now that the RUFSTR father-and-son team of Ken and E.J. Salamone have claimed a world championship, that result currently is as unofficial as they come.

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The Class-5 battle between RUFSTR and Done Deal was one of the closest of the day (click image to enlarge). 

Though New Wave Marine took the Class 6 win today, the team—as well as two other teams—were disqualified from yesterday’s race for a starting infraction. Knot Guilty, which finished in second place today ahead of yesterday’s winning Smith Brothers/CRC Racing team, also finished second yesterday. So while it’s still unofficial, it appears that the Knot Guilty father-and-son duo of Ray and Rob Murk took the Class 6 world title. If that result holds up, it would make 76-year-old Ray Murk the oldest racer to ever claim an OPA world championship.

Despite that Sunprint Management’s Steve Miklos and Steve Fehrmann—yesterday’s Super V Light Extreme-class winners—chased hard, as did Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith in Tug it, the father-and-son, Boatfloater.com team of Steven and Stephen Kildahl took today’s win and the world championship in convincing fashion. They led wire to wire today and the result was never much in question.

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Saris Racing Engines duked it out with Perdition to take the Class 4 world title (click image to enlarge).

“I think they had a 15- to 20-second lead on us by the end there, and Brit got by us, too, but we had a really good race with them,” Miklos told speedonthewater.com’s Matt Trulio via a telephone interview today. “We missed our setup a little bit today, but that’s racing.”

In Super V Light, Done Deal—the other one— ran beautifully and finished first again today, which meant teammates Steve Papp and Mike Mironyk exited Englewood Beach with a world championship. Likewise, the Class 7 Woah Momma team backed up yesterday’s win with another first-place finish today and snagged a world championship.

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Done Deal had yet another winning day (click image to enlarge).

As for more dominant performances, Bull On The Beach and Wazzup backed up Saturday’s Class 2 and Class 3 wins with victories today and took home world championships. In the Extreme class, swapping out an engine didn’t seem to hurt the Miss GEICO team, which finished in first place by a wide margin for the second day in a row, just as swapping out two Mercury Racing No. 6 drives didn’t seem to provide a whole lot of help to the CRC/Sunlight Supply team.

“The setup of the boat is so fast and it handles so well,” said Miss GEICO throttleman Steve Curtis, who shares the cockpit with driver James Sheppard, with a laugh. “It’s a shame we’re changing all the rules for next season.

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Miss GEICO ran away from the Extreme-class field again (click image to enlarge).

And then there was Shadow Pirate in Super Stock class, which for the second day in a row took the checkered flag and earned another title.

“The water was a bit sneaky yesterday,” said Scott Porta, who shared the cockpit of the 32-foot Shadow Pirate Doug Wright catamaran with team owner Nick Scafidi. “It was shiny with rogue rollers that would throw us around a bit. The boat wanted to go—the water was calling—and the temptation to just let it rip was intense. We managed to check our egos and stay steady.

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Shadow Pirate had yet another winning day on the water (click image to enlarge).

“Today was smoother without the stray bumps,” he added. “We were able to run a bit faster and corner hard. And we had the time of our lives.”

Editor’s Note: Veteran offshore racer Johnny Saris covers the OPA circuit for speedonthewater.com. All results reported here unofficial pending verification from the Offshore Powerboat Association. Look for final and complete results as they become available on the organization’s website.

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