Multi-time world and national Bracket 400-class champions in the Offshore Powerboat Association ranks, the Predator team is expanding its racing presence thanks to its recent purchased of a Bracket 600-class raceboat. Formerly dubbed Smith Brothers, the 24-foot Joker V-bottom will be part the Naples, Fla., Predator team’s stable, which includes a well-known 41-foot Apache.
Soon to be rebadged, the Smith Brothers Bracket 600-class V-bottom (in foreground) is now part of the Predator team stable. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The Smith Brothers raceboat became available when its owners Rich and Pete Smith announced their retirement from the sport following the Offshore Powerboat Association Englewood Beach Waterfest World Championships last month.
“Anthony Smith, (OPA president) Ed “Smitty” Smith’s son, is hauling it down to their place in Florida for us,” said Nate Hunt of the Predator team, who shares the cockpit the 41-footer with his longtime business partner, friend, fellow Naples resident and Predator team owner, Dean Stahlman. “Then it will go straight to our engine man, Bruce Baker at Express Marine Engines.”
The Predator team will continue to run its 41-foot Apache in the Bracket 400 class.
Ryan Stahlman, 23-year-old son of Dean Stahlman, purchased the former Smith Brothers raceboat and will run the 24-footer with a cockpit-mate to be named later. Like Connie Hunt, Nate Hunt’s wife, and their mutual family friend Wayne Courson, Ryan Stahlman has been part of the Predator supporting cast since the self-funded team’s inception.
The now-two-boat team has not finalized its 2023 offshore racing season plans. “We ran a full schedule this year,” Hunt said. “I don’t know that we’ll make every race this season, but we’ll try to hit the majority of them.
“We’re also looking for a sponsor for the 2023 season,” he added.
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