Indianapolis-based offshore racer Micheal Stancombe can recall his 10-year-old self running his J-mod runabout down the Illinois River. It was 1977 and his father, George Stancombe, remembers the water being so rough that he would lose sight of Mike and his boat in the waves and wake. But the water that day didn’t get in the way of Mike or his boat; nothing could slow down the second-generation Stancombe, who went on to race offshore powerboats with his father and is still racing today.
Micheal and Dominic Stancombe are excited to race Ella’s Nightmare, their 21-foot Challenger, in this weekend’s Sarasota Grand Prix in Sarasota, Fla. Photo by Jeff Helmkamp/Helmkamp Photos
An extremely proud, and more than decades older, Micheal Stancombe (pictured below at age 15 in 1982) is planning to pull double-duty in Sarasota, Fla., this weekend during the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, the third contest in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. On Sunday, he’ll be throttling the Team Woody 30-foot Phantom in Class 5 alongside drive J.J. Turk, and, he’ll also be joining his 14-year-old son, Dominic, in Ella’s Nightmare, the family’s 1977 21-foot Challenger that was designed by longtime family friend, George Linder.
When the father-and-son teammates hit the course for the Class 7 contest, Dominic will become the third Stancombe to race offshore in Sarasota.
“It is as if the universe has brought it all together just for the Sarasota Grand Prix this weekend,” said Micheal Stancombe, who added that he couldn’t wait to enjoy all of the Sarasota festivities with his son and, hopefully, his dad. “Dominic’s been here but never as a racer so this will be an eye-opening experience. This is the once race that has eluded our family for the last 36 years. We’ve been the bridesmaid many times, but never the bride.”
So what is Dominic Stancombe most excited about heading into Sarasota?
“It’s two things really,” he said. “Racing with my dad, that’s important to me. And getting to see one of the exotic cars from our local sponsor, Meara Image Motor Sports. They’re bringing one to our pits!”
The enthusiastic teenager’s introductory race was earlier this month at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri where he learned all about the behind-the-scenes workings of boat racing. He took the boat through its official inspection, learned about the GPS system that records the boat’s speed and completed his water safety test that is mandatory for every racer before an event. The father and son finished the Lake Race weekend with a second-place trophy.
Racing action on the multi-turn Sarasota course off Lido Beach is scheduled to begin Sunday at 10 a.m., starting with Bracket classes according to the P1 Offshore schedule. (Powerboat P1/P1 Offshore is co-producing the APBA-sanctioned event with Visit Sarasota County.) Fans can catch all the day’s races in real time via the P1 Offshore Facebook page livestream. Benefitting Suncoast Charities for Children, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is part of the weeklong Suncoast Summer Fest event.
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