As anticipated, the battle between a couple of Skater catamarans, Stihl and Amsoil, materialized yesterday in the Super Cat class during the Super Boat International 2010 Key West Offshore World Championships. In a tight seven-lap race from beginning to end, the Stihl team of Robert “J.R.” Noble and Grant Bruggemann finished just four seconds ahead of Bob Teague and Paul Whittier in Amsoil, which recently took the Cat Light title during the Offshore Powerboat Association World Championships in Orange Beach, Ala.
“The conditions were great and I think we hit the setup really well,” said Noble. “Racing against Bob Teague was as exciting as always—it was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever been in. It was really memorable. Of course we want to win, but I don’t really care what happens after that race.”
“They’re fast,” said Teague in reference to the Stihl team. “They were quicker out of the turns, but we were faster in the straights.”
An aggressive cornering move early in the race reportedly gave Stihl the lead, which it never relinquished.
“Once you get behind in Key West, you’re at a real disadvantage,” said Teague.
With two races to go—one tomorrow and one Sunday—and four seconds separating the top-two finishers, the fight for the SBI Super Cat World Championship is anything but over. A little less than a minute behind with a third-place finish, Loriblu Racing/Fastboats.com is still in the hunt, as is fourth-place finisher Infinity, despite being more than two minutes behind Stihl and Amsoil. That’s the beauty of a three-race format: Consistency, durability and luck play major roles.
“From what I hear, it’s supposed to get rougher tomorrow, so that’s going to change everything,” said Noble. “We’ll wait what the conditions are like and see and set up our boat accordingly.
“When it gets rough, you have more to worry about than the next race,” he added. “You have to take care of your equipment to make sure you can finish Sunday’s race as well.”