With Sunday’s double-points format, the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., never fails to produce pleasant and unpleasant surprises. And in today’s third and final round of racing, there was plenty of fortune and misfortune to go around in the calmest conditions of the week.
Take the Shadow Pirate team of owner/throttleman Nick Scafidi and driver Marc Granet. They headed into today’s Stock-class competition with a pair of well-earned first-place finishes on Wednesday and Friday. By finishing first or second, Scafidi and Granet could control their own destiny in the team’s 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran.
But that turned out to be a lot easier said than done, as the CR Racing/Anchoring.com team of throttleman Casey Boaz and driver Rob Unnerstall rocketed to the front of the pack and eventually went on to establish a 30-second lead on the rest of the pack.
In only its second season, the CR Racing/Anchoring.com team earned a Stock-class world championship.
That left Shadow Pirate, which worked its way through the pack after a slow start, to duel for second place with the slippery fast father-and-son team of Billy and Andrei Allen in Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping. Shadow Pirate eventually got past Team Allen, but then hooked hard in turn No. 3 and fell back to third place.
And that was how they finished, which was exactly what the CR Racing/Anchoring.com team needed—in just its second year of competition—to take its first Stock-class world title.
“Today’s race was amazing,” Boaz said. “We did a lot of testing and setup work leading up to the race and the boat handled amazing out there. We put a ton of hard work into this whole week—to win a world championship is huge for us. We’re super stoked. Everybody affiliated with our team helped out so much this week. We couldn’t have done this without them.”
The Stock-class contest also delivered a few scary moments with the Jackhammer and Killer Bee teams rolling at opposite ends of the course. Divers actually deployed to help the father-and-daughter Killer Bee duo of Jim and Lindsey Denooyer exit the cockpit. Nether the Denooyers nor the Jackhammer crew of Reese Langheim and Brad Wade were injured.
Like Shadow Pirate, the Superboat Vee-class LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team of driver Brit Lilly and throttleman Kevin Smith entered their contest—the second race of the day—in control of its own destiny with two first-place finishes. But they needed to finish ahead of rookie throttleman Vinnie Diorio and veteran driver Brian Forehand in Marker 17 Marine, Forehand’s 29-foot Outerlimits, and Diorio and Forehand took the checkered flag and denied LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness, which finished fourth in the race, what would have been a three-peat in the Superboat Vee.
“We worked our asses off this week,” Diorio said. “We were up to 11:30 Wednesday night putting our old engine back in the boat.
“We couldn’t seem to get power on the starts but we ran well once we got going today,” he continued. “We went with a taller propeller, and that changed how we handled the corners. Brian usually likes to dive right at the buoy—the shortest course is the fastest course, that’s how he usually approaches it. But to keep up our engine rpm we started going wider through the turns, and it worked.”
Marker 17 Marine’s Vinnie Diorio and Brian Forehand battled engine issues all week but overcame them to take a Superboat Vee-class world title in their first season together.
With the MGI Digital/Konica Minolta team joining the Superboat-class ranks for Sunday’s contest, the six-boat fleet got off to a fast start with the WHM Motorsports team, which struggled to keep up in the first two races in the first two races—of driver/owner Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller taking the lead early. But the team returned to its typically fast and aggressive self this afternoon.
Mauff and Muller ran away with the Superboat-class contest and claimed the title.
“Not a bad way to finish, right?” Muller said. “I wanted to save the best for last, but we were still five miles per hour off what we usually are with the same set of props. We have some delamination on the bottom of the boat and that was slowing us down.
“It was all or nothing today,” he added. “Billy is ecstatic. We’ve been a little down all week because we’re not used to running like this with a third-place and fourth-place finish. But we finished first when it mattered.”
Never to be counted out, Billy Mauff and Jay Muller piloted WHM Motorsports to yet another Superboat-class world title.
For rookie Superboat-class driver Aaron Hope, who shares the cockpit of his AMH Motorsports Skater 388 catamaran with Anthony Smith, the day was disappointing as they came into the contest with a second-place finish Wednesday and a first-place finish Friday. And Hope was less than appreciative of WHM Motorsports’ hardcore racing tactics.
“They hosed us down and pushed us all over the course,” he said.
The final race of the day was the Superboat Unlimited-class contest, and it began under either a cloud of controversy or clear skies of uncommon clarity, depending on which side of the decision surrounding an “improper” start during Friday’s race you were on. For the protesting team of Wake Effects—driver/owner Rusty Rahm and throttleman Jeff Harris—the two-minute penalty assessed to the Victory No. 33 and No. 3 teams was fair and reasonable.
Though they didn’t agree with the SBI verdict, Victory No. 33 teammates throttleman John Tomlinson and driver Salem Ali Aladidi accepted it. But what Tomlinson refused to accept was the points-based placement rankings prior to today’s race. To his dismay, he learned that Zabo and Lucas Oil—teams they had lapped earlier in the race on their way to an apparent win—were given full time for completing the race, despite that they stopped racing when the checkered flag flew for the Victory team.
“They still had one lap to finish,” Tomlinson said. “Zabo and Lucas Oil were a full lap behind us when the checkered flag came out. In mileage, they got scored for nine laps; for time, they got scored as if they completed 10 laps.
“The two-minute penalty should have put the Victory teams in second and third, not fourth and fifth,” he continued. “Why did we even bother lapping them?”
Valid or otherwise, Tomlinson’s point turned out to be moot. Unlimited-class points leaders Mike DeFrees and Jay Muller grabbed the lead early in Team CRC/Sunlight Supply 44-foot MTI catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1650 engines, but eventually Rahm and Harris ran them down in Wake Effects, a 48-foot MTI cat also powered by Mercury Racing 1650s. As for the Victory teams, they chased hard—throttleman Steve Curtis and driver Elsa Mohamed Abdul Rahman rolled the No. 3 boat and exited without injury—but weren’t a factor.
Wake Effects claimed its second Superboat Unlimited-class championship in three years and Rahm was delighted.
“We got a good, clean and fair start,” Rahm said. “SBI did a great job correcting its mistakes. But man, that little CRC boat is fast.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images from the third round of the SBI Key West Offshore World Championships.
Harris agreed. “We knew the CRC boat was going to be fast so we decided to let the race come to us when the course bumped up. We passed them between turns No. 2 and No. 3. The boat ran really well, and the balance was perfect.”
Both the P3 and P4 classes were competitive as usual. In P3, Wix Filters took home the championship after a solid week with Scott Brown driving and Eddie Tambarino on the throttles.
In P4, the Two Cruel team of Daniel Racz and Cynthia Belfatto took home the world title.
Editor’s Note: All results were unofficial went this story went live. For complete final results as they become available, visit the Super Boat International website.