Back at their shop in Riviera Beach, Fla., after a successful morning of calm-water testing, the Miss GEICO Offshore Racing team members are delighted with the performance they coaxed out of their 44-foot Victory catamaran today. Team manager Gary Stray, throttleman Scott Begovich, driver Marc Granet and the rest of the crew plan to run the boat again tomorrow in rough water.
“She was an animal, that’s all I can say,” said Begovich. “She ran really good and we’re very, very happy.”
Captured here at the 2015 SBI National Championships in Clearwater, Fla., Miss GEICO delivered an outstanding performance today according to members of the team. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image (click image to enlarge).
According to Stray, the team was trying out a new setup and a couple “new things” in today’s tests, all which were fruitful. “I would say positively it’s the best the boat has run this year,” he said.
“It was an excellent test,” Granet added. “We ran it up to 188 mph and it got there real quick. The boat feels solids—better than it’s ever felt.”
Coming off a rocky season that included mechanical/engine issues in all three Super Boat International races it entered, the team members definitely view themselves as the Superboat Unlimited-class “underdogs” as they head into the SBI World Offshore World Championships next week in Key West, Fla. The team claimed back-to-back world titles there in 2013 and 2014.
“I believe we are the underdogs,” Stray said. “We’ve been working toward Key West knowing that is where we want to be at our best, but the competition is huge.
“We haven’t had a fantastic season,” he continued. “But on the R&D side we’ve learned an awful lot of new stuff. When all that stuff comes together it will be a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, we’ve had to eat a little humble pie this year learning those new things. But bit by bit we’re chipping away at it, and what we saw today is a small amount of the things to come. What we’re doing now is very conservative compared to what we can do in the future.”
Granet said he’s enjoying team’s underdog role to the two-catamaran CMS team, which earned the national championship this year. “All of the pressure is off us,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to going down to Key West that way.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean the Miss GEICO folks have any intention of holding back at the upcoming SBI Worlds. A third world championship in as many years remains a shared team goal.
“That’s the plan,” Begovich said. “We don’t go down to Key West to lose.”