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HomeRacingRacingsSarasota Wrap-Up: Stihl Pulls Off Trifecta, GEICO, Hulk and Sun Print Prevail

Sarasota Wrap-Up: Stihl Pulls Off Trifecta, GEICO, Hulk and Sun Print Prevail

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For the second time this year, Sun Print earned a checkered flag in the Superboat Vee class. All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix 

In conditions yesterday that reportedly started glassy but picked up some mild chop from raceboat wakes and an increasing afternoon breeze, the Skater 38-foot Sthil catamaran team of owner/drive J.R. Noble and throttleman Mark Kowalski picked up their third consecutive Superboat-class victory of the 2014 Super Boat International season during the 30th annual Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix in Sarasota, Fla..

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Sthil won its third race of the 2014 SBI season yesterday. All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix 

While the event attracted a combination of 40 catamarans and V-bottoms spread over eight classes, seven of those entries were in the Superboat field. Broadco finished second and WHM Motorsport took third.

“It was relatively calm, which was nice after the race in Cocoa Beach (Fla) where we banged up the boat a bit,” said Noble. “Mark got us a great start and we were first to the first turn and able to hold the inside. Broadco was hard on our tail the whole time and we had to run hard to fight them off the whole race.

“From the meet-and-great to the race, Sarasota was a great venue,” he added. “It’s one of our favorite venues, if not our favorite venue.”

The mechanical gremlins that plagued Miss GEICO appeared to had hopped off the 44-foot Victory catamaran with Mercury Racing 1650 engines—and hopped onto CMS, a 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran also equipped with Mercury Racing 1650 power. CMS led in the early stages of the Unlimited-class race but soon slowed with a mechanical issue.

“We sucked up some seaweed and overheated one engine,” says Randy Scism, who throttles CMS with owner/driver Bob Bull. “It was down to 4,500 rpm when Miss GEICO passed us.”

Miss GEICO took the lead and never relinquished it.

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Miss GEICO took its second win of the season in the Superboat Unlimited class.

“We took a different strategy, “said Marc Granet, the Miss GEICO driver who shares the cat’s cockpit with throttleman Scott Begovich.  “We approached this race like we do Key West. The outside line was fast and the boat was great. We guessed the competition would be strong on horsepower and engine speed (rpm) and knew it would be hard to hold the together the equipment pushing that hard for that long. Sarasota is long race—19 laps with almost 80 turns. The first five laps were a window of what’s to come for the Unlimited class—great, fast competition.”

With one victory each in the Superboat Stock class, The Hulk/Redline Oil and Joyland/SOS Venezuela, came into Sarasota tied for the lead in the 2014 season. The 32-foot Doug Wright Hulk cat prevailed.

“My crew chief and I took out our pleasure boat Saturday evening so we knew what to expect,” said Lawrence, who throttles the cat with driver/owner Rob Nunziato. “The water was exactly the same on Sunday so we nailed the setup. We ran the right setup for the day, that’s for sure. What an awesome day of racing.

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For The Hulk/Redline Oil team, preparationg and setup were the keys to their second win of the year.

“This is our second win of the season and we’re so happy about that,” he added. “Rob is an excellent driver. We’ve been doing this for a while now, and the entire team just works so well together.”

“It was a great race, but we ended up finishing third just 24 seconds behind the first place boat,” added Chris Schoenbohm, the owner and driver of the 32-foot Doug Wright Joyland/SOS Venezuela cat. Joining Schoenbohm in the cockpit for the first time this season as throttleman was Isaiah Blount.

For Steve Miklos, who throttles Sun Print, a 29-foot Extreme V-bottom with driver Gary DeCiuicies, his team’s Superboat Vee victory—its second win this season—was bittersweet. Miklos has owned the 29-footer, which has been sold, for 14 years. His new low-profile 30-foot Extreme should be ready for the next SBI race August 1-3 in Michigan City, Ind.

“I definitely have mixed feelings about it,” said Miklos.

As for his win in Sarasota, Miklos’ feelings were perfectly clear. He was thrilled.

“Once we got the lead, it became a battle of attrition,” he said. “The Kildahls (in Boatfloater2.com) raced us very hard—they pushed us around in the turns, but a lot of the boats in the class appeared to have mechanical problems.”

That was an understatement. Of the seven boats in the class, three—Phantom 9, which reportedly was running well before it broke a gimbal and tore off a drive, the Absolutely Not Fountain and the youthful team of Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith in Hurricane of Awesomeness—did not finish the race.

While Envy, a new Unlimited-class 52-foot Mystic catamaran and Al-Adaa’am 96, the Spirit of Qatar team’s turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic, were displayed in the dry pits area in Sarasota, neither participated in testing or racing.

Editor’s Note: An earlier speedonthewater.com story named Herb Stotler as the throttleman for Envy. Joey Imprescia will throttle the catamaran. We regret any confusion our error, which has since been corrected in the original story, may have caused.

SBI Suncoast Sarasota Grand Prix Results

Superboat Unlimited
1. Miss GEICO 2. Lucas Oil 3. Spirit of Qatar

Superboat Extreme
1. Instigator 2. Twisted Metal

Superboat
1. Stihl 2. Broadco 3. WHM Motorsports

Superboat Stock
1. The Hulk/Redline Oil 2. World of Beer 3. Joyland/SOS Venezuela

Superboat Vee
1. Sun Print 2. Sarasota Ford 3. J.D. Byrider

Manufacturer Production 3
1. Black Pearl 2. The Developer 3.Tilted Kilt

Manufacturer Production 4
1. Two Cruel 2. In Tone/Crazy Chicken 3. Rum Runners

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