Although the defending 450R Factory Stock-class champion TS Motorsports team did not originally have this weekend’s Thunder On Cocoa Beach race (May 18-21) on its calendar due to a conflicting event, the MTI factory-ran team is going to have its 39-foot canopied catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing 450R engines at the second race of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
With Milton Calafell behind the wheel for the first time, the 450R Factory Stock-class TS Motorsports team is looking to continue its winning ways in Cocoa Beach, Fla., this weekend. Photo from the 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
Following its victory at the season-opener in Marathon, Fla., in late-April the team decided it was worth the effort to get the boat to the P1 Offshore-produced race in Cocoa Beach even though driver Taylor Scism would not be able to compete because she’s attending—and organizing—a 25th anniversary gathering for the company founded by her parents, Randy and Cherell Scism, later this week at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. Being that the APBA points go with the boat rather than the driver, the team’s crew chief, Milton Calafell, is going to replace Scism in the cockpit alongside veteran throttleman John Tomlinson, who co-owns TNT Custom Marine in North Miami.
“When the race schedule came out, we knew that our 25th anniversary celebration, which was scheduled prior to the holiday weekend to provide a great experience for our customers and not conflict with other events already on the calendar, conflicted with Cocoa Beach,” said Taylor Scism, MTI’s client relations manager. “As you know, we’re very committed to our class and want to keep our representation out on the course, so it was an easy decision when it came to who would jump in for me. Milton is our crew chief and full-time MTI support lead. He’s raced boats in the past and is very capable of running our 390XR. I will definitely be on the phone in the cockpit and watching live. I have full faith in Johnny and Milton going out there and making us proud!”
Milton Calafell, left, and Johnny Tomlinson tested the 39-foot MTI on Tuesday morning in Miami. Photo courtesy Milton Calafell
A veteran of the MTI team from its days racing two boats in the competitive Superboat Unlimited class, Calafell, who heads MTI’s Miami-based sales, service and storage center in Haulover Marine Center, said he’s tested all of the team’s 450R Factory Stock-class boats during the past three seasons with Tomlinson and is ready for the race on Sunday. In fact, he and Tomlinson tested the 39-footer this morning in Miami.
“We had the boat pretty well dialed in after Marathon so we set up a course off Miami Beach and took it out this morning to run some laps,” Calafell said. “Johnny and I spent a couple of hours in the boat making sure it was ready and that we were in sync. Everything went well today. I can’t wait to go racing on Sunday.”
Tomlinson said he has the utmost confidence with Calafell in the cockpit.
“I’ve been running these boats with Milton for some time so I don’t anticipate any issues; we did some testing this morning and the boat is good to go for this weekend,” said Tomlinson, who has also been testing the Class 1 Alegra Motorsports/Pothole Heroes 50-foot Victory catamaran recently with owner and driver Carlos de Quesada. “I’m expecting some competitive racing in both classes. I think 450R should have five or six boats and I heard Class 1 is going to have seven boats.”
While he admitted the logistics of racing for two teams can be challenging, Tomlinson said he enjoys racing in both Class 1 and 450R Factory Stock.
“It’s not easy trying to be present for everything with two teams, but both teams have such great crews behind them that it makes my job easier,” Tomlinson said.
Editor’s note: Pre- and post-race coverage on speedonthewater.com will continue throughout the week.
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