In a post on its Facebook page yesterday, the STIHL offshore racing team announced it would not be participating in the upcoming Super Boat International National Championships in Clearwater, Fla. Between now and the SBI World Championships in Key West, Fla., in early November, the team will be making a power move from Scorpion Enterprise engines to Sterling Performance engines its Skater 388 catamaran.
Offshore racing fans will get their next look at STIHL during the SBI Key West World Championships in November. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“In order to better prepare for the 2016 Key West World Championships, STIHL Offshore Racing will be missing the Clearwater, Fla., race,” the team stated in the Facebok post. “This was a team decision that was not made lightly, but one that we feel is necessary to make the best possible showing at the Worlds. We have recently decided to make a change in our engine program from our longtime friend, Frank McComas at Scorpion Enterprise to Sterling Performance. With the new Skater 388 and loss of JR Noble, this has been a season full of new things for us. We hope to build upon everything we have learned so far, make the changes we need to make, and go into Key West with all intentions of winning.”
STIHL team manager and throttleman Grant Bruggemann, who runs the 38-footer with driver Jake Noble, could not be reached for comment this morning before this story went live. According to sources close to the team, one the catamaran’s twin 750-hp naturally aspirated engines has had problems “making power” throughout the season.
Sterling principal Mike D’Anniballe said the boat’s engines are currently in transit to his facility in Milford, Mich., where they will be torn down, examined and rebuilt before being returned to Grant’s Signature Racing—the home base and rigging shop for the STHIL team—in Bradenton, Fla.
In making the move to D’Anniballe’s outfit, STIHL is joining four other Superboat-class teams that run Sterling power. At present, WHM Motorsports, Performance Boat Center, Cleveland Construction and War Paint are equipped with Sterling engines. D’Anniballe said he’s delighted to have another team on his offshore racing client roster.
“My goal is to make sure I give equal attention to all of my racing customers,” he said. “My goal for a perfect weekend is to never get in a boat. I want to watch from shore and enjoy the race. If am able to accomplish that, I know my guys and I have done our jobs.”
So far this season, the STIHL team has earned one second-place and three third-place finishes.
NBC Sports to Air SBI Key West World Championships Again in 2017
WHM Motorsports, Cat Can Do/American Ethanol and LSB/Hurricane Take Mentor Victories
Team STIHL At Mid-Season: ‘Coming Along Fine’