Despite that the majority of Super Boat International’s Superboat catamaran class will have twin 750-hp engines, Peppers Racing will compete in the class this season with its current pair of 525-hp engines from Mercury Racing. That’s the word from Peppers throttleman Micheal Stancombe, who will man the cockpit with his father, George Stancombe, handling the driving duties.
Late last season, SBI eliminated its Super Cat class—known as Super Cat Light in the Offshore Powerboat Association rulebook—in which twin Mercury Racing 525EFIs were “spec” power, as well as its Superboat 850 cat class. The class has been consolidated to a single cat group called Superboat with restrictions on engine and boat specifications. (Read the story). According to the proponents of the consolidated class, the goals for the change were increasing the size of the fleet and reducing engine program costs.
But that’s not how Stancombe sees it. In fact, he said, the cost of changing power is prohibitive for his team.
“We looked at making the change from our 525s, and we figured out it would cost us $160,000 when you consider that, in addition to new engines, we’d need new drives and propellers,” he said. “I don’t think they thought it through all the way, and they sure didn’t include all the Super Cat Light guys in the discussion.”
Stancombe said he hopes to run at least 10 races during the 2013 season, and that he believes his Douglas Marine/Skater 368 catamaran will be competitive against the more-powerful cats in the Superboat class.
“We don’t have power and we don’t have torque—all we have is driving skill and experience, and with that we think we’ll have no problem being competitive with those guys,” said Stancombe, who has been racing offshore for 14 years. “We’re doing this to prove a point. We didn’t have a bunch of money lying around to repower our boat. Our engines have been in the boat since it was built in 2008, and they are in great shape. We know we can compete.”