How do you score an offshore powerboat race when three boats crash in separate incidents early in the contest, producing two red flags and forcing officials to call off the rest of the event? That was exactly the challenge the American Power Boat Association’s chief offshore referee Mark Austin, APBA Offshore Racing Commission chairman Rich Luhrs and Chris Fairchild, the president of the Detroit-headquartered organization, faced last Sunday with the 10-boat Super Stock-class race—the final contest of the day—at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in Southwest Florida.
Shortly after last Sunday afternoon’s Super Stock-class start in Sarasota, Fla., the Big East team rolled its 32-foot Victory catamaran. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
As reported in contributing editor Eric Colby’s story for speeonthewater.com on Sunday, the Big East Construction team catamaran carrying driver Cole Leibel and Gary Ballough rolled before the first lap of the Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore event was complete. Shortly after the restart, the Steele Industries and CMR Roofing and Construction teams were involved in separate solo incidents, both of which forced officials to close the course again.
With timing running out and “resources depleted,” Austin explained, the race was called.
The Steele Industries team rolled shortly after the restart.
“Initially, there were not going to be any points awarded due to the race never officially crossing over start/finish line due to red flags at each start,” he said. “That said, it was decided to give points in the following manner.
“The first incident occurred required a red flag and made for a restart, so the boat (Big East Construction) involved received 10th place points,” he continued. “After the second restart, a second incident, which also required a red flag, occurred on the backstretch. After the red flag was displayed and announced over the radio, an additional incident occurred just past the start/finish line. Those two boats (CMR and Steele), which were involved in separate incidents, were awarded ninth-place.”
Each of the seven remaining Super Stock-class teams was awarded eighth-place points for the Sarasota event.
“The race was called because of the amount of debris on the course and depleted safety resources required for salvage operations,” Austin added. “We came to these conclusions after discussion with Rich Luhrs and Chris Fairchild.”
The most violent incident of the day, the post-restart CMR incident left the team’s 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran completely destroyed.
Said Super Stock-class representative Ryan Beckley of the Ignite/CELSIUS team, “I wasn’t sure how it could be done, but I am OK with this solution.”
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