A staple of Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 competition in its heyday, pole-position qualifying returns to the Class 1 ranks this weekend at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, July 2-3, in Southwest Florida. The event’s six-mile course will be laid out tomorrow ahead of the 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. testing and practice session for all classes. Class 1 pole-position qualifying is slated to begin promptly at 12:30 p.m.
The throttleman of the Huski Chocolate team, Steve Curtis has extensive experience in Class 1 pole-position qualifying. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The most experienced Class 1 competitor still in the sport, Steve Curtis of the Huski Chocolate team explained the qualifying process for the four Class 1 teams in this weekend’s event.
“Each team gets three solo laps on the course,” said Curtis, who will share the cockpit with motorsports great Travis Pastrana in Sarasota and likely for the rest of the 2022 season. “The fastest lap gets the pole position, followed on the inside of the starting grid by the next fastest team and so on.
“In addition to setting the grid, and there is obviously some advantage to being closer to the inside at the start, it gives fans more action to enjoy,” he added. “With pole-position qualifying, you get two days of Class 1 entertainment on the water.”
In addition to Huski Chocolate, the Class 1 222 Offshore Australia, 345 Racing/XINSURANCE and JBS Racing teams will vie for pole position tomorrow and top honors on Sunday.
Curtis ran the 47-foot Huski team catamaran with Brit Lilly at the APBA series season-opener in Cocoa Beach in May. But he has not run with Pastrana since the 2021 regular season when the boat was still under the Miss GEICO team umbrella.
“I haven’t seen Travis in a while so we’ll have a bit of catching up to do, but obviously he’s a professional motorsports guy and very natural in the boat,” he said. “We’ll try to get in good practice on Friday and Saturday, and then see if we can get the pole.”
In addition to Huski Chocolate, the 222 Offshore Australia, 345 Racing—all powered by class-spec Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines—and JBS Racing Class 1 teams will vying Saturday for the best starting position on the racecourse before Sunday’s main event. The Class 1 contest is scheduled to be the third race of the day and slated to begin at 11:15 a.m.
Both Saturday’s pole-position qualifying event and all of Sunday’s action will be broadcast live on the P1 Offshore Facebook page.
For Class 1 pole-position qualifying, each team will get three laps on the six-mile Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix course.
Produced by Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is the second of 10 races in the UIM Class 1 World Championship Series and the third of eight races in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. Look for coverage throughout the weekend on speedonthewater.com.
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