With high winds stacking up tall seas on Lake Erie, the inaugural Race World Offshore Cleveland Construction Grand Prix in Ohio lived up to its “Roar Off The Shore” billing. The high-flying event attracted 12 teams spread across four classes.
In SuperCat class, Performance Boat Center grabbed the lead on the last lap winning ranks, edging out local favorite Cleveland Construction, which claimed second place with M-Con finishing third. At various point in the 10-lap contest, all three teams held the lead.
“I had a few different mindsets, at first just survive and then ‘We’ve got to try and get up there’ when M-Con was in front,” said Myrick Coil, who drives the Performance Boat Center-backed Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran powered by twin Sterling Performance engines with John Tomlinson handling the throttles. “Then Cleveland came around both of us. But in the last couple of laps we able to reel them in.”
“In those kinds of races, you question whether you’re going to make it back to the dock in one piece,” Tomlinson said. “You had to take some chances out there—you had to really push the boat because if you didn’t, you weren’t going to win. We took those chances and we were able to pick up the win.”
For more action from the RWO Cleveland Construction Offshore Grand Prix, check out the slideshow above.
The tightly spaced three- to five-foot seas relentlessly battered the ProStock Cat-class teams, even with a storm-shortened course. FJ Propeller took the checkered flag and Gary Ballough had his hands full on the throttles of the team’s 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran.
“This is a 115-mph boat and we never saw 90—and that was probably more than we should of done,” Ballough said. “On the outside leg running into the winds and waves, we only could run half that on the other side.”
Team Allen Lawn Care finished second in the class and AdvancedSleeve.com took third.
Running uncontested in the US Class 1 category, the Wake Effects team of Rusty Rahm and Jeff Harris put on a show for the crowd. Said Rahm at the post-race awards ceremony, “This was a great time and a great start to a fantastic new (Race World Offshore) series.”
The race was filmed for a one-hour television production to air in early 2019 on CBS Sports. The next RWO event is scheduled for Aug. 17-20 in Dunkirk, N.Y.
Editor’s note: A veteran offshore powerboat racing reporter, Todd Swofford is a host for WKWF sports radio in Key West, Fla. This is his first article for speedonthewater.com. For complete results as they become available, vist the Race World Offshore website.