After more than 10 years of involvement in offshore powerboat racing, STIHL is exiting the sport as a sponsor. According to Jake Noble, the driver for the Superboat-class STIHL team that competed on the Super Boat International, the outdoor power-tool giant will no longer be backing the team.
Departing the sport, the STIHL-backed Superboat-class offshore racing team finished third overall at the Super Boat International World Championships in Key West, Fla., last week. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill.
Noble, who shares the cockpit of the team’s Skater 388 catamaran powered by Sterling Performance engines with throttleman/team manager Grant Bruggemann of Grant’s Signature Racing in Bradenton, Fla., said he does not know why STIHL is withdrawing sponsorship.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I wasn’t given any reason as to why they’re pulling out. I hate to see this happen, but without their sponsorship I am unable to race, unfortunately.”
Robert Noble, Sr., the retired founder of STIHL Southeast and Jake Noble’s grandfather, could not be reached for comment when this story went live. In contact with STIHL Southeast corporate headquarters, a speedonthewater.com reporter was told that Jake Noble was the sole point of contact for matters concerning the offshore racing team.
Noble joined Bruggemann in the STIHL catamaran cockpit almost three years ago after his father, Robert “J.R.” Noble—a respected member and driving force in the offshore racing community—died suddenly from a heart attack. In the two seasons that followed, Jake Noble and Bruggemann claimed two third-place overall finishes in their class in the SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla.
“It’s been a good ride, about 10 years since its conception with J.R. Noble,” said Bruggemann. “We’re going to miss the people—we made a lot of friends through STIHL. They’re a great company and great people to work with. As for Grant and Kellie (Bruggemann’s wife, who works closely with him in the rigging shop), we’ll keep moving forward and staying in touch with all the friends we made through STIHL.”
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