Still at the top of his throttleman game, TNT Custom Marine co-owner John Tomlinson was looking forward to sharing the cockpit of a Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran this season with fellow offshore racing veteran Lorne Leibel. Tomlinson ran his first race—in 1986—with the Canadian driver and teamed up with him several times since, but they have not raced together for more than 15 years. Their initial plan for this season was to run the 38-footer, the former Performance Boat Center raceboat Tomlinson and driver Myrick Coil piloted to Super Boat International Superboat-class world titles in 2016 and 2017, in three races.
If none of the events are cancelled Canadian Lorne Leibel is allowed to enter the country, he and John Tomlinson still plan to run three Florida races in the former Performance Boat Center Skater, which has been renamed Canada Homes. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
Those races have changed with COVID-19 pandemic-forced cancellations. But Tomlinson and Leibel are still planning to compete at the September 25-27 Race World Offshore event in Clearwater, Fla., the American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series (now down to a pair of races) October 8-10 in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and the Race World Offshore Key West Championships, November 8-15.
“The boat is ready to go right now,” said Tomlinson., who lives in Miami “Lorne leased it from Ron Szolack for three races and it has Performance Boat Center’s rebuilt Sterling Performance engines. We’ll use those for practice and the first race. Lorne is bringing in two new Sterling engines for the last two events, Fort Myers Beach and Key West.
“But the problem right now is Lorne can’t even get into the country,” he continued. “So we’ll see. We still want to race together—we’ll be coming full circle as I ran my first race with him. But to be honest, I haven’t thought much about racing and I really haven’t talked to anyone in the sport lately. I’ve been more focused on running our business. Florida is still mostly closed. The only thing people can do here is get out on the water. So we’re busy.”