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Pro Floors Racing, Miss GEICO And More Claim Victory In Sarasota

The New Zealand-based Pro Floors Racing NZ-1 duo of Chris Hanley and Wayne Valder notched its first 2018 season victory today at the Hotelplanner.com Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix on Florida’s famed Gold Coast. Running in the Super Cat class as part of the strong seven-boat field, Hanley and Valder took the checkered flag in impressive fashion in their 39-foot MTI catamaran.

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Pro Floors Racing took the checkered flag in the competitive Super Cat class in Sarasota. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Getting a great start, the Cleveland Construction team of Grant Bruggemann and Ed Smith took the early lead in the class but hooked during a turn in the early laps and eventually “ran out of propeller,” according to a representative from the team. That enabled Hanley and Valder to grab the lead, which despite a hard charge from Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson in the Performance Boat Center Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran they never relinquished.

In the three-boat Unlimited class, the Miss GEICO catamaran ran to a relatively easy victory over the Lucas Oil/Silverhook and Legacy Builders/Twisted Metal V-bottoms. Throttleman Steve Curtis was joined in the cockpit by driver James Sheppard—the same Miss GEICO cockpit duo claimed the 2017 Super Boat International Unlimited-class world championship in Key West, Fla.

“We didn’t have a lot of entries in our class today, but we tried a few new things with our engines and the boat ran flawlessly,” said Curtis, who ran the boat uncontested with driver Jay Muller at the Offshore Powerboat Association Ocean City Grand Prix in Maryland last weekend. “And it was good to get more seat time with James again.”

For a closer look at the winners in various classes during the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, check out the slideshow above.

The British-born Curtis, who houses the Pro Floors Racing team boat and equipment at his Offshore Racing Services facility in Orlando and frequently travels between Florida and England, added that he was delighted for Hanley and Valder. “To do what they do, travel from New Zealand for races in the United States, is really difficult,” he said.

In the Super Vee Lite class, Mr. Technology claimed first place with LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness taking second and Sun Print rounding out the podium finishers. Gettel finished first in the Superstock 300 class, followed by Team Allen Lawn Care manned by Billy and Andrei Allen—a solid result in what was their second outboard engine-powered-catamaran-class race—and FJ Propeller.

While Saturday’s events ran in overcast conditions with light rain, today’s offshore racing fleets saw flawless conditions.

Editor’s note: Look for complete official results as they become available on the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix website.

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