Yesterday’s racing action in Sarasota saw a renewed cockpit pairing in Sailor Jerry-Autonation take first place in the Super Cat class. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
With another offshore powerboat racing event happening a few hundred miles away in the Florida Keys (read the story), yesterday’s races in Sarasota, Fla., still attracted 27 boats across four classes to the Sarasota Grand Prix Powerboat Festival. Sanctioned by the Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix organization, the event featured a week of activities including a powerboat fun run, personal watercraft and single-engine powerboat racing and the traditional Sarasota July 4th parade and street party, which included many of the raceboats from yesterday’s mostly calm-water contest.
Running a restored SV 40 V-bottom from Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats, the Outerlimits team of driver Joe Sgro and throttleman Steve Curtis bested Billy Glueck and Brett Lee Furshman in Twisted Metal in the Super Vee class. Running concurrently with the V-bottoms was a trio of catamarans—Sailor Jerry-Autonation, Peppers Racing and Persu Cat—in the Super Cat class. Owner/throttleman Randy Sweers and driver Danilo Zampaloni took top honors in Sailor Jerry-Autonation, a 40-foot MTI catamaran powered by twin 750-hp engines from Ilmor Marine.
“It was a great weekend,” said Sweers, who had not race with Zampaloni since 2011. “Sarasota really embraces the whole sport, which is great, especially if you’re a racer. It was a very, very challenging course with a lot of turns. There were some holes, some head seas and some beam seas to run. It was definitely a lot of fun.
“Danilo is a great driver and he did a great job,” Sweers continued. “After our test sessions and qualifying, he had full control. It’s like riding a bike, I guess.”
Catch some of the action from the Sarasota event in the slideshow above. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
In the eight-lap Cat Lite contest, Smart Marine Service took down its outboard-powered catamaran rivals Hulk, L.A. Marine and Tarpon Pointe Grill to claim top honors. Running a couple of more laps, the seven-boat Vee Lite class was yesterday’s largest fleet. Mark Niemann’s Phantom 9 Racing team took first place, followed by LSB in second place and Sarasota Ford in third.
“We did a bunch of charity events on Thursday and Friday, then the parade Friday night,” said Schoenbohm, the driver and owner of Smart Marine Service, who shares the cockpit with throttleman Shaun Torrente. “Saturday was qualifying and we got the pole for Sunday—we were 11 seconds faster than anyone else.
Driver/owner Chris Schoenbohm and throttleman Shaun Torrente dominated their class to take first place. Photo courtesy/copyight Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We made a few setup changes for Sunday—the team put together a great boat,” he added. “After the first lap, we were 12 seconds ahead of Hulk, which is our main competitor. Shaun was perfect. We owned it from the beginning. We finished 21 seconds ahead. It was a driver’s course for sure. We’re looking forward to the next one, though we’re not sure if that’s going to be an SBI or an OPA event.”
The Pro-Am class was divided into two divisions. In Pro-Am 1, Watt-Ahh took top honors, while Knot Crazy prevailed in Pro-Am 2.
For the complete official results from yesterday’s races when they become available, please visit the OPGP website.