With 21 teams registered so far for the Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach races—the final event of the 2021 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series—the Bracket classes represent slightly less than half of the 50 teams signed up for tomorrow’s action on the eight-turn, 7-1/2-mile racecourse. As currently scheduled, the Bracket classes will take the green flag in the first race of the day, starting at 10 a.m.
Like all Bracket-class racers, the Bracket 400 GNS team of driver Grant Greytok and throttleman Bill Reeves with have their hands full tomorrow with the eight-turn Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach course. Photos from the 2021 Race World Offshore Clearwater event by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
That each Bracket class has its own top-speed limit that teams cannot exceed without incurring a major, finishing-order-changing penalty makes the turn-filled course particularly difficult for competitors in those ranks. On a basic four-turn oval course, for example, staying within those limits is mostly a matter of self-control, discipline and situational awareness.
But on courses with multiples curves—and the Fort Myers Beach course has the most turns of any track in the APBA series—the speed control becomes more difficult.
“The turns actually make it harder to maintain your speed because you have to accelerate in the turn and out of the turn to hold the number,” explained Brent Appiarius, the driver of the Bracket 500-class Shoreline Plumbing team. “As you accelerate on the way out of the turn you have to make sure you don’t break out. It becomes a challenge, especially when you’re dealing with currents that either make you pick up speed or slow you down.
“The more turns (on a given course), the more times the throttleman is adjusting trim and throttle input,” he continued. “The throttleman has to constantly make adjustments and watch the GPS.”
With nine teams currently signed up from tomorrow’s races, the Bracket 500 class will boast the second-largest fleet of the day. (The non-bracketed Super Stock class has 13 teams registered.) The Bracket 500 class has six teams registered, followed by Bracket 600 with four teams and Bracket 700 with two teams.
Viewers can enjoy all the action live tomorrow on the P1 Offshore Facebook page.
Jackhammer is one of two Bracket 700 teams registered so far that will have to negotiate the 7-1/2-mile course.
Editor’s note: For a closer look at the basics of Bracket-class competition, check out “Winning Bracketology,” which appeared on speedonthewater.com in October 2019.
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