Back in Northern California after a week in Key West, Fla., covering the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships, I’m free to focus on what could happen rather than what’s happening right in front of me. So here goes.
Offshore races will return to the city at the end of the road next year. But who will produce them? Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
This was the final year of Super Boat International’s five-year contract to produce races in Key West, without question the sport’s most famous and popular venue.
That the annual early November race week, which runs concurrently with the Florida Powerboat Club’s signature poker run, is the biggest revenue week of the year for Key West goes a long way toward ensuring that offshore racing will survive there. Key West exists on tourism and the last thing any leader or official wants to do is kill its leading weeklong cash cow.
But when Key West’s Request For Production process for the races opens up for 2019, locals John and Deana Carbonell of SBI will have a competitor vying for the privilege. Larry Bleil, the head of Key West-based Race World Offshore, has every intention of bringing races there under his organization’s umbrella.
Until now, Bleil has been circumspect about his plans for Key West. No longer.