As turnarounds between offshore powerboat races go, two weeks is tight, particularly for teams that have any significant repair work to do. But that’s exactly the challenge competitors who competed last weekend in Cocoa Beach, Fla., will face ahead of the LOTO Powerfest races, June 1-3, at the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri.
With its victory at Thunder On Cocoa Beach last weekend, the 2022 defending national and world champion M CON/Monster Energy team has to be considered the Super Cat-class favorite heading into next month’s race at the Lake of the Ozarks. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
The weekend-long, Offshore Powerboat Association-produced event should boast a strong turnout anchored by the crowd-pleasing Super Cat class. Renamed LOTO Powerfest and relocated to the Bagnell Dam area in November 2022, the event isn’t part of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. But that didn’t matter to the Super Cat team owners group, which added LOTO Powerfest and the Offshore Powerboat Association-produced Great Lakes Grand Prix, August 3-6, in Michigan City, Ind., to its own racing schedule.
For Super Cat teams such as CR Racing, M CON/Monster Energy, KLOVAR Motorsports and H.P. Mafia, the Lake of the Ozarks is home-water. That means racing in front of hometown fans is a must.
Both CR Racing, which ran its first race at the 2022 Key West World Championships in November, and KLOVAR Motorsports, which ran its first race in Cocoa Beach, are “rookie” Super Cat teams. And both have loyal followings at the Lake of the Ozarks. CR Racing’s Casey Boaz and Rob Unnerstall were longtime teammates in the Super Stock ranks. KLOVAR’s Randy Keys entered the sport last season in the 450R Factory Stock class with Super Stock-class veteran Bill Allen of Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping—another local team—and they moved up to Super Cat this season.
“We are having a lot of fun in this class,” Boaz said. “We are definitely trying hard. We just can’t catch the leaders, yet.”
But no one is more pumped for LOTO Powerfest than Tyler Miller, the owner and throttleman of the 2022 defending national and world champion M CON/Monster Energy Super Cat team. Miller and driver Myrick Coil of Performance Boat Center took the checkered flag in Cocoa Beach.
“LOTO Powerfest is on the 2023 Super Cat points schedule so you should see all of the teams that recently ran in Cocoa Beach at the lake battling for points,” Miller said. “As far as firm commitments to my knowledge right now, we have WHM Motorsports, Valder Yachts/Pro Floors Racing, CR Racing, KLOVAR Motorsports, SV Offshore Racing, Graydel, Dirty Money Racing and, course, M CON. I am just waiting to hear back from the LiquorSplit team.
“The tension is running high coming into our hometown race,” he continued. “Wayne Valder with the Valder Yachts/Pro Floors Super Cat called us out at the awards in Cocoa Beach and said he was determined to come race in our backyard and put it on us. When I was able to get the microphone in my hand I called on all three Lake of the Ozarks Super Cat teams to protect our home-waters. It would be amazing to see any of us who call the lake home to come out victorious, but most of all it’s about the camaraderie and competitiveness the Super Cat class has this season. Still, it is anyone’s race and Myrick and I will do our best to keep the trophy at home.”
Two local Super Cat rookie teams, CR Racing and KLOVAR Motorsports, will be among the competitors in the LOTO Powerfest event.
With the LiquorSplit cockpit duo of owner/driver John Emmons and throttleman Jimmy McIntyre officially out for the Lake of the Ozarks battle, that means eight Super Cat teams—just one team shy of the class turnout in Cocoa Beach—will take the green flag at the popular waterway.
Though the Super Stock class won’t see anything close to the 11-registered-boat field it attracted last weekend, Southwest Florida-based class representative Ryan Beckley of the CELSIUS/Ignite team, which won’t compete at LOTO Powerfest, expects five to six teams make it to the lake. (The event is not on the Super Stock owners group points schedule.) Among those teams is the Performance Boat Center cockpit duo of Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams, who finished second in Cocoa Beach behind the Lake of the Ozarks-based Jackhammer team of Reese Langheim and Floridian Julian Maldonado.
Like the Super Cat-class M CON team, the 2022 Super Stock defending national championship Jackhammer team returns to home-water with a win at Cocoa Beach under its belt.
Asked how challenging the two-week turnaround will be—especially with two raceboats to drive and one to prep—Coil laughed. Coil is the service manager for Performance Boat Center at the Lake of the Ozarks, and the season is ramping up.
“It’s not that bad,” he said, then chuckled again. “But we have a million boats to get ready.”
At present, 450R Factory Stock-class defending national and world champion Taylor Scism of the TS Motorsports team confirms that they will be joined on their home-water by Willy Cabeza and Gary Ballough of GC Racing. Both teams run MTI 390XR catamarans. Julian Maldonado of the PLP Escapes team, which runs a 38-foot Doug Wright catamaran in the 450R Factory Stock ranks and took the win in Cocoa Beach, said his group is “still up in the air” about LOTO Powerfest but added that he “believes they will make it.”
Though she had to skip Thunder On Cocoa Beach due to a prior commitment, Taylor Scism will be back in the TS Motorsports cockpit alongside throttleman John Tomlinson for the Lake of the Ozarks contest.
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