With teams rolling into St. Clair, Mich., today and Friday for Sunday’s St. Clair River Classic offshore race produced by the Bluewater Offshore Racing Association and sanctioned by the Offshore Powerboat Association, we can’t wait to see what kind of images contributing photographer Pete Boden captures between the party in Palmer Park, the race pits, the testing and, of course, Sunday’s racing action on the often bumpy St. Clair River that forms a U.S.-Canadian border.
John Jackman will make his offshore racing debut this weekend in St. Clair, Mich., in his Team 27 MTI. Photos courtesy Chip Miller
We also can’t wait to see how the local team of John Jackman and Chip Miller fare in its first race in Jackman’s 39-foot MTI catamaran powered by twin 1,100-hp Sterling Performance engines. Jackman, who will drive the Team 27 cat in Class 200, has owned the 2004 MTI for a couple of years and used it for poker runs and general pleasure boating only. Until now.
After wrapping up testing with Miller (who was introduced to Jackman for the first time earlier this year) and getting additional driving instruction from Tres Martin on Wednesday, Jackson told speedonthewater.com that the timing was right to try racing, especially when the two he planned to attend were St. Clair and the OPA race two weeks later in Port Huron some 15 miles to the north.
“I’ve always been a boater—I’ve had several offshore boats and a few catamarans, including the former Drambuie On Ice MTI,” said Jackman, who is from Detroit. “And I’ve always wanted to try racing so Chip and I are going to give it a shot. I like to run hard, so I’m sure I’m going to like racing.”
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the Team 27 MTI provided by throttleman Chip Miller.
Testing went well on Wednesday, according to Miller, a third-generation performance boater and offshore racer who owns Miller Marina in St. Clair Shores, which is roughly 35 miles south of St. Clair. His father, Jerry, took over the business from his grandfather, William, who founded the marina in 1934.
“We’re pumped to go race—we’re going to change all the fluids tonight and the boat should be ready to race,” Miller said. “My father raced in St. Clair in 1973 so it’s pretty special for me to go back there.”
Besides spot duty filling in for driver Paul Whittier in the Team AMSOIL Skater with Bob Teague a few years ago, Miller hasn’t competed since the late ’90s when he campaigned a 30-foot Phantom and a 28-foot Skater. As expected, he’s excited to race in the hometown event.