In keeping with its tradition of organizing and sanctioning offshore powerboat races during the July 4 weekend, Super Boat International will race July 3-5 in Marathon, Fla., next year, according to an SBI press release. The Key West, Fla.-based organization has a long history of sanctioning races under the famed 7-Mile Bridge leading into the mid-Keys city.
With its Key West event (shown here in 2013) just a few weeks away, SBI already has found a replacement for next year’s Sarasota race. Photo courtesy/copyright Andy Newman/Monroe County Tourism Development Council.
The remodeled Faro Blanco Resort and Yacht Club (Hyatt Place), scheduled to open this December will be the host hotel for the SBI event. With the revitalization of several hotels, restaurants and popular resorts in the Marathon area, civic leaders in the city reportedly are excited to have SBI offshore racing return to their backyard.
“This is going have a big economic impact on the community and it’s going to be very exciting,” said Mike Puto, the city manager for Marathon, in the release. “I was involved in the first race here in the mid ’80s and to see it come back is a big thrill.
“This is going to be an even bigger weekend in July for our community and we all hope it is something that will last for years,” he added. “The Spottswoods (significant real estate-holders in the Keys) and so many people have worked hard on Faro Blanco and other properties to rejuvenate Marathon and the surrounding area, it’s just fantastic.”
According to the release, the Conch Republic Offshore Powerboat Racing Association also is in full support of SBI’s 2015 event in Marathon.
“It’s great to bring racing back to Marathon,” said Larry Bleil, the president of the association. “Everyone involved is very excited. Right now we are focused on Key West, which is going to be a spectacular event to watch. But we look forward to seeing everyone here in November and in Marathon next July 4.”
The announcement comes on the heels of the controversial news that SBI will not be part of the annual July 4 weekend race in Sarasota, Fla., in 2015. (Read the story.) Last week, the Sarasota Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix organizers announced that the newly formed Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix would sanction the race as part of its five-race national series in 2015.
According to today’s release Super Boat International release, SBI head John Carbonell, immediately began searching for a replacement venue for the July 4 weekend event, which he said has become an annual SBI circuit staple.
“It’s our tradition to race and it’s what our race teams and fans want,” said Carbonell. “Boat racing on Fourth of July weekend is true Americana like baseball, apple pie and fireworks.”
Offshore racing teams with SBI reportedly are looking forward to the Marathon event. Teams on board include the 2015 National Championship-winning, Superboat-class Stihl duo of J.R. Noble and Mark Kowalski.
“We raced in Sarasota for years, we like racing there and it was a close drive for us,” said Noble. “However, we are excited to race in Marathon. I’ve raced there before under the SBI name and we are really looking forward to going back. We are fully supportive of Super Boat and they are the only organization we are going to run with next year.”
“We are behind Super Boat 100 percent and we will be in Marathon to race next Fourth of July,” said Gary Goodell, a partner in the Miss GEICO Offshore Racing team.
Plans for the weekend-long event include one of the largest and longest running fireworks displays in Florida and the Southeast off Sombrero Beach Road (MM 50) in Marathon on Saturday, July 4. The Faro Blanco Resort Yacht Club and Marina and the Lighthouse Grill will be opening this December and will be ready for race fans in early July. The Holiday Inn Express and other properties have previously been remodeled and will soon be taking reservations for race teams and fans for the July offshore race.