Unless something dramatic happens with New Zealand’s COVID-19 resident reentry rules, Pro Floors Racing—the New Zealand-based team that claimed the Supercat-class title in the 2019 American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series as well as the 2019 APBA High-Points Championship for the class—won’t compete in the 2021 regular season.
The defending 2019 APBA Offshore Championship Series Supercat-class champions, New Zealand-based Pro Floors Racing is unlikely to compete during the regular 2021 season. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The issue for Kiwi Wayne Valder, the team’s owner and driver, is getting back home after each race. New Zealand citizens who travel outside the country are required to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel at their own expense when they return home. If Valder were to compete in six Supercat races with Grant Bruggemann, his Bradenton, Fla.-based throttleman and team manager, that would translate to 12 weeks of quarantine—not to mention the 17-hour flight each way between New Zealand and Florida—between May and October.
“We hope by November travel will be easier so that we can make the World Championships in Key West (Fla.) in November,” said Valder. “We really miss racing.”
Like Valder, Bruggemann is disappointed that the team won’t be able to defend its 2019 titles. But he understands Valder’s logistical nightmare.
“Can you imagine traveling back and forth to New Zealand and adding two weeks of quarantine when you get home?” he said. “For at least the first half of the season, there’s no way. Maybe, if things change in time, we could do the second half of the season but that won’t be enough (to defend their 2019 championship). But unless things change, I don’t think Wayne is going to be racing at all.”
If Valder does make it stateside for the Key West races, Bruggemann will join him in the cockpit of the Pro Floors Racing MTI catamaran. For now, at least, he has no raceboat to throttle or team to manage this year, though he is available if “the right opportunity” arises.