While they didn’t offer much in the way of dramatic upsets or big air, today’s 2017 Super Boat International National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., did produce a couple of excellent races on the four-mile oval, clockwise-rotation flat-water oval course. Starting at noon, there were three multi-class contests.
Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson ran the Performance Boat Center/Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran to a win today and a Superboat-class national championship in Clearwater. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
As it does throughout the year, SBI combined its marquee Superboat and exotic Superboat Unlimited catamaran classes in the final 19-lap race of the day. The Performance Boat Center/Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast team of driver Myrick Coil and throttleman John Tomlinson needed to finish ahead or directly behind driver Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller in WHM Motorsports to take the national title in the class, but Performance Boat Center powered by Sterling Performance engines made it academic by leading from start to finish. Still, WHM Motorsports made several strong though ultimately unsuccessful runs at the lead, as did Jake Noble and Grant Bruggemann in STIHL, but ended up finishing third behind the STIHL Skater catamaran team.
“It was a lot tougher out there than it looked,” said Tomlinson. “Any one of us in the first three boats—WHM, STIHL or us—could have won that race. But we got ahead early, and once someone gets ahead in this class it’s hard to get around them.
“We almost wrecked a couple of times, but we came back in one piece,” he added. “That was our main goal.”
A dominant performer throughout the 2017 season, the Wake Effects cockpit crew of driver Rusty Rahm and throttleman Jeff Harris started against the new Miss GEICO cockpit team of throttleman Steve Curtis and driver Jim Sheppard, throttleman Mike DeFrees and driver Gary Ballough in Team CRC/Sunlight Supply and throttleman Nigel Hook and driver Jay Johnson in Lucas Oil/Silverhook, the only V-bottom in the class. The four-boat field was the largest fleet of the regular season for the class, and Wake Effects. which held a commanding national points lead heading into the race, quickly rocketed to the front of the pack but broke early in the contest—as did Lucas Oil/Silverhook. With Wake Effects out of the hunt, Team CRC/Sunlight Supply ran away from Miss GEICO and the all-white No. 18 catamaran, which formerly ran in the Qatar team stable and was manned by rookie driver Andy Stobart and veteran throttleman Billy Moore (they finished second) , the only boats left in the Unlimited-class contest.
Heading into today’s contest, Wake Effects had earned 1,950 points in all three SBI races prior to Clearwater. Team CRC/Sunlight Supply came into the event with 527 points from its victory at the SBI season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., it’s only race of the 2017 season. So for the second year in a row, the Wake Effects team left Clearwater with the Superboat Unlimited-class national title.
Despite a short outing today, Wake Effects took home a well-earned national championships in the Superboat Unlimited class.
Heading into today’s second race three points ahead of Outerlimits, the AMH Construction/Instigator team of throttleman Ben Robertson and drive Aaron Hope, grabbed an immediate lead in their 40-foot Fountain with twin 750-hp Frank McComas-built Scorpion engines and never let it go. Running hard in their 40-footer, the Outerlimits cockpit duo of throttleman Steve Curtis and driver Joe Sgro kept it close early in the winner-take-all 15-lap contest. Robertson and Stanch eventually claimed a comfortable lead to take the win and the national points title.
In today’s Superboat Extreme-class winner-take-all battle between AMH Constructiion/Instigator and Outerlimits, the AMH Construction/Instigator team came out on top.
Running concurrently with the big V-bottoms, nine teams competed in the Superboat V class. The LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team of driver Brit Lilly and throttleman Ron Umlandt put on a show competing with throttleman Steve Miklos and driver Steve Fehrmann in Sun Print. Miklos’ 29-foot Extreme V-bottom had straightaway speed over Lilly’s 30-foot Extreme, but Lilly and Umlandt were faster in the turns.
The two teams traded first-place a couple of times before Sun Print took a lead it would never relinquish. But the Clearwater contest was Sun Print’s second race of the season while it was race No. 4 for LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness/ and that meant Lilly and Umlandt went home with their second national title in as many years.
“He could out-corner us for sure, but we were a little faster down the straights,” said Miklos. “That was closest race I’ve been in for a long time.”
The LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team lost the race Superboat Vee-class battle today, but won the 2017 Nattional Championship war.
“I guess we needed a little bit more speed in the straights, but what a race,” said Lilly. “I’m not even disappointed with second place. Hopefully, I can return the favor (to Sun Print) in Key West.”
In the first race of the day, the five-team Superboat Stock class shared the course with the Production Manufacturer 3- and 4-class fleet. As FJ Propeller team did in two out of three races during the regular SBI season, throttleman Gary Ballough and driver Jimmie Harrison dominated the field in Clearwater, which included the Turtle Cove Marina, Shadow Pirate and CR Racing teams. Ballough and Kittredge lead wire to wire from the first lap of the 13-lap race.
The FJ Propeller team continued its national championship-winning ways today in Clearwater.
Editor’s Note: For complete results from Clearwater, visit the SBI website.
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