Cat Can Do/American Ethanol put on a commanding performance in today’s Superboat Unlimited-class contest.(All photos from the SBI Michigan City event courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.)
Three hard-charging offshore powerboat racing teams due for their first wins of the 2016 Super Boat International season notched them today at the inaugural Super Boat Park Ohio Grand Prix on Lake Erie in Mentor, Ohio. In front of a massive spectator fleet of an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 boats, WHM Motorsports, Cat Can Do/American Ethanol and LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness prevailed in their respective classes.
For WHM Motorsports throttleman Jay Muller, who shares the cockpit with team owner/driver Billy Mauff, today’s Superboat-class victory was the perfect birthday present. “We’ve had such a tough year,” said the 35-five-year old offshore racing veteran. “Every race, we’ve had some sort of issue.”
Hoping for the their fourth consecutive SBI win in a row, Performance Boat Center’s John Tomlinson and Myrick Coil saw their streak come to an end of the sixth lap of the 19-lap Superboat-class contest. “It was ours to win our lose,” said Tomlinson, who throttles the team’s 38-foot Skater with Coil (who set a new record at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout yesterday) driving. “On the fifth lap, we could feel a vibration and we knew were losing a propeller blade. We lost it on the sixth lap.”
Muller said that regardless of Performance Boat Center’s prop issue it was WHM Motorsports’ day. “I knew we were going to catch them,” he said. “We had to get through some dirty water on the first turn, but we got the inside and started chasing. I said, ‘Be patient, we have 16 more laps to go and I think Johnny has a smaller prop.”
For the WHM Motorsports, Cat Can Do/American Ethanol and LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness team, victory was sweet in Mentor, Ohio today.
Early in the race, the Cleveland Construction team of driver Ed Smith and throttleman Keith Holmes struck a turn buoy. They finished ahead of throttleman Grant Bruggemann and driver Jake Noble in STIHL, but the resulting infraction for hitting the buoy was enough to move STIHL into second place and Cleveland Construction to third. For Noble and Bruggemann, who came into Mentor with three third-place finishes, it was a great result.
Still, it was anything but a bad day for Holmes and Smith, who in the first race of the day out-battled rookie driver Rusty Rahm and throttleman Jeff Harris in the Wake Effects MTI catamaran, Miss GEICO and Silverhook for the Superboat Unlimited-class win in Cat Can Do/American Ethanol, a 40-foot Skater catamaran powered by twin 1,700-hp engines from Sterling Performance.
“We had another good battle going with Wake Effects,” said Holmes. “We had the right propellers—enough to come out of the corners hard and fast. They were running pretty hard in the turns, but we had a taller wheel so we could get away from them. We were running 155 to 160 mph in the straights.
“We’re really happy with the Sterling engines in both our boats,” he added. “One of the engines (in Cat Can Do) has 14 races on it. The other had 12 but is going to be retired because of a cracked header. We have a little more dialing in to do in Cleveland Construction, but the engines are really strong.”
Miss GEICO recovered well enough from a poor start to catch Wake Effects, but once again fell prey to a mechanical issue and did not finish the race. Wake Effects also eventually succumbed to a mechanical problem. Said Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet, “At least it was a good chase.” The model of consistency throughout the contest, the Silverhook 48-foot V-bottom team of throttleman/owner Nigel Hook and driver Jay Johnson cruised to second place.
With the withdrawal of Sun Print and Boatfloater.com, both of which were registered for the event as of Friday, the LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness and Octane teams were left to duke it out for the win in the Superboat Vee class. LSB’s driver Brit Lilly and throttleman Ron Umlandt came into the contest with aggressive performances in the past two SBI races—almost overtaking Sun Print for victory in the final laps of the last race in Michigan City, Ind.—and they were not to be denied in Mentor.
While the Mentor event, spearheaded by Cleveland Construction’s Mark Smalls had a relatively small turnout, the consensus among the racers there was the event was an excellent addition to the SBI schedule, one they hope will return next year.
Editor’s note: For complete results from the Super Boat Park Ohio Grand Prix visit the Super Boat International website.
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