Since the early 2000s, offshore powerboat racing has been gone from St. Petersburg, Fla., a storied venue in the history of the sport. The Powerboat P1 group produced its Superstock single-outboard-engine V-bottom and AquaX personal watercraft series at the Southwest Florida location since 2017, but neither qualify as “offshore racing” by any measure.
Running the former STIHL Skater 388 catamaran this season, the M CON team is eager to compete in St. Petersburg, Fla., during Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy M CON Racing.
That will change come September 3-5, when P1 Offshore produces its St. Petersburg races. Both the Supercat- and Super Stock-class owner-groups have the race on their internal schedules and enthusiasm among the teams is high. Some, such as Super Stock DoublEdge Motorsports S-111 team veteran Ryan Beckley, have been there before. Others, including M CON team owner and driver Tyler Miller of the Supercat ranks, have not.
“We are looking forward to venturing into uncharted waters for the first time as M CON Racing,” said Miller, who will share the cockpit of a Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran this season with Performance Boat Center’s Myrick Coil, who also will compete in the Super Stock class. “We are super-excited to see St Pete for the first time and build a fan base in a great city.
“I spoke with (WHM Motorsports team owner and Supercat owners group leader) Billy Mauff at length about it after our class voted it into our schedule and he said it is a great venue and will make for great racing,” he added, then laughed. “That means he knows the course like the back of his hand.”
Miller said he’s expecting no less than five teams, including his own, to compete in St. Pete. A couple of those cockpit pairings—Lorne Liebel and John Tomlinson in Canada Homes and New John Emmons and Jimmy McIntyre in Chariots of Fire Racing—are “new” to the class. Liebel and Tomlinson will run the former Performance Boat Center Skater 388. Emmons and McIntyre are running the former Cleveland Construction 38-footer.
The Super Stock-class fleet in St. Pete fleet could have 10-plus teams in the mix. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
For Beckley, the St. Pete venue is loaded with nostalgia. He has has competed there many times during the years and is eager to return as he’s expecting a strong Super Stock showing this time around.
“It’s a site with a great history of offshore racing,” he said. “I have raced in several different boats there. Tampa Bay and the ‘New Pier’ make great backdrops for any event. The waters there could be dead flat calm or three- to four-foot seas on any given day.
“ I am not sure who will be driving our boat there yet or who our title sponsor will be,” he continued. “But the S-111 team will definitely be the racing with at least 10 other Super Stock-class boats in St. Pete.”