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SBI Great Lakes Grand Prix Wrap-Up: Lake Michigan Hits Back

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Talbot Excavating (in background) took the worst of its tangle with Smart Marine Service in Michigan City yesterday. All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Lake Michigan lived up to its lumpy, bumpy and downright nasty reputation at times during yesterday’s Super Boat International Great Lakes Grand Prix in Michigan City, Ind. The third stop on the 2015 SBI circuit, Michigan City delivered water conditions not completely unlike those at the SBI season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and—with only the SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., remaining in the regular season—conditions that won’t likely be seen again until the organization’s Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., in November.

“It was pretty bumpy,” said Gary Ballough, who teamed up with John Tomlinson (the duo also has been running successfully on the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 circuit overseas) to take first place in the Superboat Stock class in FJ Propeller, a 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran. “Our top speed was only about 90 mph and the 200XS outboards were working really well even though we were racing against the 280s. It was great to win a Stock with Johnny—he said it was fun.”

For Kyler Talbot and Jay Muller in Talbot Excavating, Talbot’s 32-foot Doug Wright cat, yesterday’s Stock-class contest wasn’t quite as fun as they barrel-rolled after making contact with Smart Marine Service, another Doug Wright 32-footer. No one was injured in the crash.

“They hit us in the first turn of the fourth lap,” said Chris Schoenbohm, the owner/driver of Smart Marine Service. “We were already coming out of the turn, when they hit our starboard side.”

For more action-packed images from the SBI Great Lakes Grand Prix, checkout the slideshow above.

Schoenbohm had nothing but praise for his young teammate, 19-year-old Taylor Chastelet, throttling in just his second race. “He has it in his blood,” said Schoenbohm. “The kid is a natural—a great throttleman.”

The day was far from a total loss for Muller, who throttled his way to a Superboat-class win with driver/owner Billy Mauff in the WHM Motorsports Skater Powerboats catamaran. It was the cat’s first regular season victory—the boat debuted at the 2014 SBI Key West Worlds. Mauff and Muller bested Randy Sweers and Danilo Zampaloni in the Sailor Jerry-Autonation MTI and Bob Teague and his son, John, in the Team AMSOIL Skater, to take the win in the class.

In not unfamiliar territory for Tomlinson, whose performances continue to make a convincing case for him as the greatest throttleman of his era, he earned his second win of the day with driver Jeff Harris in the CMS 03 team’s MTI catamaran—the CMS team ran only one of its two MTIs in Michigan City—in the Superboat Unlimited class.

Harris and Tomlinson bested two teams making “firsts” this season. For Envy, a 50-foot Mystic Powerboats cat owned and driven by Chris Cox and throttled by engine builder Herb Stotler that finished second, Michigan City was the first race (on the course) of the year. For third-place finisher Lucas Oil/SilverHook, owned and throttled by Nigel Hook, it was the first race of the season in the Superboat Unlimited class. The boat started the year in the Superboat Extreme V-bottom class in Cocoa Beach, but was moved back to Superboat Unlimited—the class it ran in last year—by SBI officials in Michigan City.

SBI Great Lakes Grand Prix Results

Unlimited Class: 1. CMS 2. Envy 3. Lucas Oil/SilverHook
Superboat Extreme: 1. Hooters/Instigator. 2. Outerlimits 3. Twisted Metal Motosports
Superboat: 1. WHM Motorsports. 2. Sailor Jerry-AutoNation 3. Team AMSOIL
Superboat Stock: 1. FJ Propeller 2. Papa’s Pilar Rum 3. Smart Marine Service
Superboat Vee: 1. Sun Print 2. Phantom
Production 3: 1. 2nd Amendment 2. The Developer 3. Voodoo Offshore Racing
Production 4: 1. Two Cruel 2. No Vacancy. 3. Christies Photography

Look for complete results and lap times when they become available on the SBI website.

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