With the first contest of the eight-race 2022 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series just six weeks away—May 19-22 in Cocoa Beach, Fla.—Super Cat-class teams around the country are in high gear preparing their raceboats. Most will begin testing and practicing, if they haven’t already, in the next couple of weeks.
For the Pro Floors Racing team, which claimed the APBA Super Cat High Points Championship in 2019, getting ready for the 2022 season is decidedly unusual. That’s because until yesterday the team’s 42-foot MTI catamaran hadn’t touched the water since the final race of the 2019 Race World Offshore-produced Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla.
For the first time since November 2019, the Super Stock-class Pro Floors Racing MTI catamaran was back on the water yesterday. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Then came the 2020 pandemic, which mostly shut down the sport and prevented team owner Wayne Valder from traveling to the United States from his home country. In hopes of returning to the racecourse with Valder in 2021, Bruggemann, who throttles the boat and manages the team, had Kasse Racing Engines refresh and prep the boat’s 750-hp mills.
But once again, Valder was locked down in New Zealand for the entire year. Valder had hoped to make it to Key West to team up with Bruggemann for the world championships, but New Zealand’s lock-down return protocols made that impossible.
With Valder slated to arrive stateside May 19, Bruggemann and company at Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., have been devoting more time to the raceboat. Preparation for the season, which includes tasks such as making sure the team’s support trailer is fully stocked with parts, began more than eight months ago—all leading up to yesterday’s test session.
Enjoy more images from yesterday’s Pro Floors Racing test session in the slideshow above.
“We were ready to race a year ago—the boat basically sat for two years,” Bruggemann said. “But we didn’t know what would happen so we had the engines done and got ready for the 2020 season, which didn’t happen for us. Wayne was ready to go again in 2021, but that didn’t happen either.
“We are ready for Cocoa Beach and happy to be going,” he continued, then paused to chuckle. “Wayne is so excited that I’m pretty sure there will be few happy swear-words in the cockpit.”
Yesterday’s Pro Floors Racing test session on Sarasota Bay began in the morning and lasted until the early afternoon. In addition to Kasse Racing Engines representative Logan Smolik, Andrew Young and John Gregory from Grant’s Signature Racing took turns running with Bruggemann.
“The MTI is running really well,” Bruggemann said. “We have made some improvements to our engine program so it was really good to have Logan with us. And taking John and Andrew for a ride gives them a better feeling of what they’re watching when the boat is on the course. We are ready to go for Cocoa Beach.”
Said Bruggemann, “We were ready to race a year ago.”