Just a few days ago, the St. Petersburg Grand Prix was a question mark for offshore racers and their fans across the country. Hurricane Idalia was predicted to make landfall in Tampa, but the Category 3 storm swung north, and though the Tampa/St. Pete area experienced some significant flooding it did not take a direct hit. And that means the final race of the Union International Motonautique Class 1 World Championship Series—and the penultimate contest in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship—is on this weekend.
Will the XINSURANCE team return to the podium this weekend? Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
As of this afternoon, 54 teams spread across 11 classes had registered for the Southwest Florida event, which will feature races on Saturday and Sunday. The current totals by class are seven teams in Class 1, eight in Super Stock, six in 450R Factory Stock, six in Super Cat and six in Mod V.
All races will be broadcast via livestream on the P1 Offshore Facebook page. Here’s a quick look at the current race schedule.
Saturday, September 2
2:30 p.m. – Class 1 pole-position qualifying
3:30 p.m. – Bracket 500, 600 and 700
4 p.m.—Super Stock
Sunday, September 3
10 a.m. – Mod V, Bracket 300 and 400
11:15 a.m. – Class 1
12:45 p.m. – Super Cat
2:15 p.m.—450R Factory Stock, V Extreme
As previously reported, the 2023 Class 1 World Championship has already been decided with the 222 Offshore Australia team compiling a mathematically insurmountable points lead during the previous five races. But the Monster Energy/M CON team of owner/throttleman Tyler Miller and Myrick Coil will be looking for its third podium finish after finishing in the money, so to speak, at both races of the Mercury Racing Midwest Challenge in Sheboygan, Wis., earlier this month.
So, too, will the new Class 1 XINSURANCE cockpit pairing of throttleman Grant Bruggemann and driver Randy Kent and the df Young cockpit duo of Rich Wyatt and Hugh Fuller, which earned its first podium Class 1 podium finish during the two days of racing celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mercury Racing.
In the Super Cat ranks, the points spread is narrow enough for Valder Yachts/Pro Floors Racing to chase down current points leader M CON/Monster Energy with strong enough finishes in St. Petersburg and in the following and final race in the APBA series later next month in nearby Clearwater. The same holds true for the CMR/Allied team, which currently trails Jackhammer, in the Super Stock class. Driver Cole Leibel and throttleman Gary Ballough in Big East Construction also will be looking to repeat on the podium finishing second in Sunday’s Sheboygan contest.
The Big East Construction team comes into St. Pete this weekend hungry for another podium finish. Photo by Brad DiMaggio copyright Scrapyard Media.
Though Taylor Scism and John Tomlinson of the TS Motorsports team in the 450R Factory Stock class lead the points chase, the big question is how 16-year-old rookie driver Caleb Mead and veteran throttleman Shaun Torrente will fare this weekend. The Mead Family Racing cockpit duo handily claimed the checkered flag in the second race of the Midwest Challenge.
Two more storylines worth following in St. Pete? Driver Travis Pastrana is joining throttleman Steve Curtis in the Class 1 Huski Ice Spritz raceboat for the second time this season. It will also be the first Mod V-class race for Huski Ice Spritz co-pilot Brit Lilly since he manned the cockpit of his LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness raceboat at the season-opening 7 Mile Grand Prix in Marathon Fla.
Offshore racing fans are eager to see how 16-year-old Caleb Mead fares again in the 450R Factory Stock ranks. Photo by Brad DiMaggio copyright Scrapyard Media.
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