Just two teams shy of the 70-boat mark, Saturday’s Roar Offshore event in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., provided a solid ending to the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series produced by the Offshore Powerboat Association and Powerboat P1. The day featured five separate races, starting with the 12-boat Super Stock class of outboard engine-powered canopied catamarans.
During the inaugural Roar Offshore—the season finale of the APBA Offshore Championship Series—in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., rookie Super Stock-class racers Mike Wright and Loren Peters of Missouri took home their first podium finish of the season in Peters’ WIA Marine Insurance-sponsored Wide Open Racing 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran. All photos by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
The 10-lap Super Stock contest delivered two highs and one low for a trio of teams from the Midwest. The Team Allen Lawn Care and Landscaping team of Billy Allen and Larry Pinegar shot to the lead on the first lap and looked untouchable—until the their 32-foot Doug Wright catamaran appeared to develop an issue with its portside Mercury Racing 300XS engine and slowed dramatically on the final lap. But the engine was fine. The boat had simply run out of fuel.
That opened the door for the Super Stock-class rookie team of Mike Wright and Loren Peters in the WIA/Wide Open Racing 32-foot Doug Wright to take its first checkered flag.
“It was an awesome race and the way the course was set up was really great,” Wright said. “We had a little battle with FJ Propeller in the beginning, then tried to catch Team Allen Lawn Care the rest of the time. It was just good old-fashion fun boat racing.
“A lot of the guys we race against are our good friends so it’s always fun no matter what,” he continued. “We’ve worked really hard on the boat this year and have learned a lot, so it’s great to get a win. It’s humbling.”
Team Allen Lawn Care’s misfortune also proved beneficial to the Performance Boat Center team of Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams—another pair of Super Stock-class rookies—who cruised to a second-place finish and a provisional APBA Offshore Championship Series national championship.
Despite not winning a single race of the series’ six events, Performance Boat Center teammates Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams earned the APBA Offshore Championship Series national championship in the Super Stock class after finishing second on Saturday.
After going nose-high a few moments after the green flag flew, Coil and Williams regrouped to make their way through the crowded pack. They were running third behind WIA/Wide Open Racing until Team Allen’s last-lap troubles moved them to second place.
“We got a bad start,” Coil said. “But we had a good race.”
Also worth noting: Mike Bethan and Todd DeFilipps finished third in DeFilipps’ Wicked Powerboats catamaran—a 28-footer based off a Lanier Custom Boats hull and built by Lee Austin at LA Marine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.—and FJ Propeller took out a turn buoy at the south end of the course on the second lap.
LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness teammates Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith continued their winning ways by taking their fifth victory of the season en route to a Pro Stock V national championship.
The next race of the day was a battle of single-engine canopied V-bottoms with the Pro Stock V and Super Vee Extreme classes taking to the course. The Done Deal/JRC Transportation team of Steve Papp and Mike Mironyk held the lead for the early part of the 10-lap race. But the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness teammates Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith continued their winning ways—they’ve earned four wins in five races heading into Fort Myers Beach—and made their way to the front for a first-place finish and a provisional Pro Stock V national championship.
“My bad-ass throttleman found more speed,” Lily said. “It was a very intense race.”
For the second time this year, the Punisher team of Charlie McCarthy and Tony Silveira took a checkered flag in Super Vee Extreme class. (The team’s first win came at the St. Clair River Classic, the fourth race of the series, in Michigan.) The father-and-son pairing of Steve and Stephen Kildahl in Boatfloater.com finished second and earned a Super Vee Extreme-class national title.
“We trailed Punisher the whole race and JRA Boat Sales was six seconds behind us,” said the senior Kildahl. “We pretty much just ran our own race.”
Race No. 3 featured all of the speed-bracketed classes. The highlight of contest was the Class 4 Simmons Marine cockpit duo of driver/owner Jim Simmons and throttleman Jason Zolecki, who completed their perfect season going six for six and earning the Class 4 national championship. (For complete race results and final national championship standings as they become available, visit the OPA website.)
With 12 laps to complete on some of the smoothest water of the day, the Supercat-class contest was a drag race. And the fastest dragster in the fleet was the AMH Motorsports Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran, at least until AMH driver/owner Aaron Hope and throttleman Anthony Smith pulled to the center of the course with a mechanical issue near the end of the contest.
With a victory in the Supercat-class race in Fort Myers Beach, the Pro Floors Racing team, which trailed AMH for most of the race, earned the national title following a consistent season that included three first-place and three second-place finishes.
The exit of frontrunner AMH left Pro Floors Racing driver/owner Wayne Valder and throttleman Grant Bruggemann in first place, followed by hard-charging driver/owner Billy Mauff and throttleman Jay Muller in WHM Motorsports. And that was how they finished, which earned Valder and Bruggemann a first-place finish and a Supercat-class national title.
“We had an awesome race and it was a great way to finish the season,” Bruggemann said. “Wayne is just ecstatic. There are so many people to thank—the crew at Kasse Racing Engines, Offshore Outdrives, Randy and Cherell Scism at MTI for building such a great boat—the list goes on and on.
“Now, we move on to Key West and start from scratch,” he added.
Check out the slideshow above for tons more images from Speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden.
The final race of the day featured six Class One teams, which were slated to run 13 laps, and two Vee Extreme teams, which ran 10 laps.
The Instigator by Knucklehead Racing team of owner/driver Ed Smith and throttleman Anthony Smith (no relation) came into Fort Myers Beach with four Extreme-class wins. Also campaigned by Brit Lilly and Kevin Smith, the Tug It/LSB team came to the season finale with one Vee Extreme-class win to its question. That made the Vee Extreme-class mostly academic, but that didn’t stop the two-big V-bottoms from putting on a show for the fans, with the Instigator team finishing ahead of Tug It for the win and the national title.
With six teams taking the green flag, Class One had its largest fleet of the season. The Victory Team fielded two 41-foot catamarans powered by Mercury Racing 1100 Comp engines for the first time this year, and they vied for top honors with 222 Offshore (the standings leader just 10 points ahead of Victory before the race). Fresh out of the Supercat-class Performance Boat Center MTI cat, John Tomlinson throttled the Victory Team’s second 41-footer (No. 33) with Sweden’s Erik Stark behind the steering wheel. As they did all season, Victory’s Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali piloted the team’s primary boat (No. 3).
Running its own 41-foot Victory-built cat with 1,100-hp Mercury Racing engines, the 222 Offshore team of driver Darren Nicholson and throttleman Giovanni Carpitella jumped the green flag, which forced the Class One fleet to restart after barely completing one lap. The restart, in turn, forced OPA officials to cut the race from 13 laps to 12 laps as fuel consumption could have been a problem for the class after the restart.
Dubai’s Victory 3 team edged out the Australian 222 Offshore team in the competitive Class One race to earn a national championship.
Though the Victory-backed boats scored points separately, they worked together to take on 222 Offshore. The Victory teams pushed and pinched 222 Offshore in various sections of the course early in the race. But 222 Offshore managed to get ahead of Victory 33 and chased Victory 3, where it made up ground on the outer section of the course but kept losing what it gained when it tackled the nearshore straightway.
Despite several hard charges by 222 Offshore that left it less than a boat length behind the Victory 3 boat, the team never gave up the lead and took the checkered flag just a few seconds ahead off 222 Offshore. A rough estimation of points put Victory 3 in first place—by a tiny margin—for the Class One national championship.
All Roar Offshore podium finishers were honored Saturday evening at a ceremony at the DiamondHead Resort, the host hotel for the event. The APBA Offshore Championship Series honors in all classes were going to be officially announced and presented on Sunday at 10 a.m. at the hotel.