The image below includes the text I received from Gary Smith on Saturday afternoon—sums it all up pretty much. Despite extremely windy conditions Saturday morning on Arizona’s Lake Havasu, Smith ran his 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran with twin 1,700-hp engines from Larry’s Engine and Marine up to 170 mph along the one-mile course to take home King of the Desert honors at the Desert Storm Poker Run Shootout.
Gary Smith’s Predator Skater (at the Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party) won the Shootout on Saturday with a 170-mph run.
Although Smith, who is from Tucson, Ariz., won his class last year while “taking it easy” and clocking a 139-mph pass with his wife, Cookie, steering the boat, this year’s run earned him his first overall title at the shootout.
A couple of M35 models from Dave’s Custom Boats with twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines tried to give Smith a run for his money but a 160-mph run from Charles Brown and a 161-mph top speed by Tony Chiaramonte were not enough to take the overall title. Smith was the favorite once two-time defending King of the Desert Don London opted to enjoy the poker run rather than try to better his 180-mph speed from last year in his 38-foot Skater catamaran.
Smith (pictured at right with Eliminator Boats founder Bob Leach) said he won’t be participating in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout—an event where he’s recorded a 180-mph top speed in his boat—this year, but he will be attending the Texas Outlaw Challenge in June with Smith’s original Predator Skater, a 40-footer built in 1991.
For complete Shootout results, check out the LakeRacer website.