With 24 raceboats currently registered for tomorrow’s Marathon Super Boat Grand Prix, the fleet represents a solid improvement over last year’s 16-boat turnout in the Florida Keys venue. Better still, three classes—Superboat Unlimited, Superboat, and Superboat Vee—currently have five entries for the second event of the 2016 Super Boat International season.
Races are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (EST). The Superboat Vee, Superboat Stock, Superboat Extreme and Production 3 and 4 classes will run in the first race. The Superboat Unlimited and Superboat fleets will run in the second race.
A few pre-race notes:
•At the SBI season-opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., defending Unlimited-class world champion Bob Bull teamed up with Jeff Harris in Wake Effects, a 48-foot MTI catamaran that formerly ran under the CMS team banner, to take the win. Tomorrow, Bull will be joined in the 52-foot CMS team catamaran by MTI founder/owner Randy Scism, while Harris will share the cockpit with rookie driver Rusty Rahm in the 48-foot Wake Effects cat. In addition to competing against one another, both teams will have to face CRC/Sunlight Supply, Lucas Oil/SilverHook and Miss GEICO.
•With two wins in their first two races—Cocoa Beach and the Lake Race in Central Missouri—the Performance Boat Center cockpit duo of driver Myrick Coil and throttleman John Tomlinson, heading out for testing shortly in their 38-foot Skater catamaran, is the team to beat. But with defending Superboat-class world champions Billy Mauff and Jay Muller in WHM Motorsports, a 40-foot Skater, and Keith Holmes and Edward Smith in Cleveland Construction, a 38-foot Skater that finished second in Cocoa Beach, in the fleet, victory is far from assured for Coil and Tomlinson. Plus with a strong third-place finish in the SBI season-opener—their first race together—rookie driver Jake Noble and throttleman Grant Bruggemann in the 38-foot STIHL catamaran cannot be discounted.
Calm water should favor the Phantom team in the Superboat Vee class.
•With sea conditions for Cocoa Beach as mild as they ever been in the seven-year history of the race, flat-water specialists Mark Niemann and Tom Maddelena of the Phantom team sprinted to victory in the Superboat Vee class. The calm and protected waters of the Marathon race definitely favor Niemann and Maddelena in their 30-foot Phantom raceboat, but to take the checkered flag they’ll need to beat Boatfloater.com, Bandit, Sun Print and LSB/ Hurricane of Awesomeness.
•Still seeking competition, the Superboat Extreme-class team of owner/throttleman Peter Meyer and Johnny Stanch will run unopposed in AMH Construction/Instigator.
•Running under Reliable Services sponsorship banner in Cocoa Beach, Ryan Beckley and Tanner Lewis took a hard-fought first place against Papa’s Pilar Rum and FJ Propeller. With Papa’s Pilar out of the mix for Marathon, throttleman Beckley and driver Troy Curry in Beckley’s 30-foot Skater catamaran, backed by 5 Brothers Grocery for the event, will have to take down throttleman Gary Ballough and driver Jimmie Harrison in the FJ Propeller 32-foot Doug Wright cat to earn the win.
Coming off a win in Coca Beach, Beckley and Curry in 5 Brothers Grocery will face off against Ballough and Harrison in FJ Propeller.
•The Production 3-class winners in Cocoa Beach, The Developer team of J.P. Larkin and Eddie Tamberino will face off against Getrubbermulch.com and Nick’s Creative Marine in Marathon. The Production 4-class contest will be between a pair of 30-foot V-bottoms, Team Raven and Two Cruel, which took second and third place in Cocoa Beach. (Crazy Chicken, the P-4 class winner in Cocoa Beach, is not registered for the Marathon race.)