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Szolack Shooting For 220 MPH With New Sterling Power For 2017 Shootouts

If everything goes to plan for Ron Szolack, he and Chip Miller will pilot Flight Club, a 36-foot canopied Skater Powerboats catamaran powered by Sterling Performance engines, to 220 mph in top-speed shootouts in 2017. To that end, Szolack, the well-known organizer of the annual Skaterfest event near his summer home in Michigan—Szolack winters in Florida—has commissioned Sterling to upgrade its own 1,650-hp engines currently in the boat to 2,200 to 2,500 hp.


With bigger purpose-built Sterling power, Szolack and Miller plan to lay down bigger numbers next year in the Flight Club Skater catamaran. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

The engines arrived at Sterling Performance in Milford, Mich., yesterday.

“We’re basically going to make a drag race version of our 1,700-hp turbocharged engine,” said Mike D’Anniballe, the owner and founder of Sterling Performance. “We’re going to convert them to turbos. We’re going to run more boost, more rpm, more everything. They’ll last for a season of shootouts, but they’re not meant to used tooling around in poker runs.

“They’re going to run on Ignite E-90 fuel,” he added. “They’ll probably be ready by the end of March. Right now, we are so busy with getting engines ready for Key West.”

Szolack said his 7,000-pound (dry) 36-footer, which ran 184 mph during last year’s Lake of the Ozarks event, currently is at the Skater facility receiving structural upgrades to its canopy. He also said that Arneson Industries is making a new set of gears for the boat’s drives, and that he plans to compete in top-speed contests in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

“Believe it not, the only manufacturer that has been over 200 mph (in an organized top-speed shootout) is Mystic,” said Szolack. “I want to change that. I absolutely believe this boat can go 220 at shootouts—that’s what we’ll be going for with these purpose-built, shootout motors. We’re going to wind it up, and let it go.”

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