Sarasota Offshore Race

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Miss Geico powered past Alex and Ani to take the Extreme checkered flag. Photo – Offshore Public Relations

The long running Sarasota venue marked the fourth stop on the 2017 P1 SuperStock USA circuit drawing racers from the P1 SuperStock USA Series with 9 entries, an invitational offshore powerboat fleet of 30 competitors and garnered the partnership of Mercury Racing. “We have a rich racing heritage with Sarasota, one of the founding U.S. powerboat racing sites,” said Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen. “We are excited to return in support of the Grand Prix, the community, and of course, Powerboat P1.”

Although protected marine life found its way onto the 3.9 mile course, putting the brakes on Sunday’s schedule and prompting officials to reduce the number of laps per class, offshore enthusiasts witnessed a stellar performance of competitive moves once the green flag was raised.

Marc Granet and Scotty Begovich in Miss Geico blasted across a smooth-as-glass liquid track, taking the Extreme Class lead from start to finish, while Herb Stotler and Serafino Cazzani powered Alex and Ani in hot pursuit. “I think we put on a good show,” Marc Granet smiled as he stepped down from the awards podium. “You can’t find better water for racing.” Jay Johnson and Nigel Hook of Lucas Oil SilverHook moved into third place as mechanical ails took Twisted Metal with Sarasota’s Brett Furshman and Billy Glueck out after 14 laps. Hook (who plans to set a World Speed Record from Key West to Cuba and back next month) summed it up this way,” Sarasota has a challenging race track with left hand turns and a right hand chicane.”

Billy Mauff and Jay Muller delivered an impressive Super Cat fight racing to the top of their class. Photo – Offshore Public Relations #037

The Super Cat pack delivered an impressive 16 lap race as six teams line up for the start. The veteran team of Billy Mauff and Jay Muller in WHM seized an early lead over Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson of Performance Boat Center as the pair generated a heated chase for first. However, WHM had charted a winning course for the 40′ Skater. “It was a driver’s course,” Billy Mauff told me. “It was our day.” Salt Terminator by CRC Industries with Glen Hibbard and Randy Swears placed second, while Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson rounded out the class podium in Performance Boat Center as mechanical gremlins plagued their 38′ Skater.

The father-son team of Steve and Stephen Kildahl took top honors in Super Vee Lite aboard BoatFloater.com. Photo – Offshore Public Relations #087

It proved to be another successful hometown race for the father/son team of Steve and Stephen Kildahl in their 30′ Extreme emblazoned BoatFloater.com. The full-throttle efforts of Sarasota rivals Mark Niemann and Tom Maddalena aboard Phantom 9 gave way to mechanical problems for a third place standing. The race to the finish line was clinched by BoatFloater.com earning a trio of consecutive wins in Sarasota. “It was a very close race with Phantom 9,” Stephen explained. “Phantom gave us a run for our money.” Will Smith and Jimmy Deitch of Mr. Technology took second.

Gary Ballough and Bryant Hopkins over-powered the Cat Lite pack to clinch the class win. Photo – Offshore Public Relations #068

The Cat Lite race was owned by Bryant Hopkins and Gary Ballough as the Gettel team went up against a pair of contenders and the latest Dough Wright machine with Scott Porta and Nick Scafidi aboard Nick’s Creative Marine. Ballough and company scored the win, Ricky Taylor and Ryan Beckley with Professional Plumbing placed second followed by Nick’s Creative Marine.

In other racing action, the checkered flag went to Karl Steger and Neil Wobbe with 2nd Amendment USA in P3; Johnny Saris and Brian Williamson of Perdition in P4, along with Daniel Racz and Clyde Petty aboard Two Cruel in P5.

P1 SuperStock USA delivered top honors to Craig and Kate Wilson in Spectre; George Ivey and Brian Lynch with Visit Jacksonville, while James Norvill and Charles Parsons-Young of Team Barbados completed the podium.

Although I’ve missed a few, my Sarasota attendance card lists some 25 races dating back to the days of the late 1980’s right up to last weekend’s performance driven show. While covering the races, I’ve always made the Hyatt my “home away from home” for a strategic reason: it’s the unofficial, yet official gathering spot. This is where the latest on and off-the-race course chatter goes down, so I’ll be sharing chatter specifics as the season progresses…

If you weren’t there, catch the show slated for late July/early August via Fox Sports Florida, Comcast Regional Sports Network and Eleven Sports.

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Bobbye Miller Kenyon is an award-winning journalist whose high performance articles appeared in Hot Boat Magazine, along with fast-paced marine industry news in her Hot Sheet Column, from 1997-2008 and Powerboat Magazine from 2009-2012.  She received a special award from the State of Kentucky in 2014 as she was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Steven L. Beshear for her writing efforts that showcased the diverse boating locales throughout the Bluegrass State. Her company, Offshore Public Relations, is a multi-faceted firm that has represented marine industry leaders and champions in the offshore racing arena. A native Miamian, she enjoys boating off the Florida Keys waters of Key Largo to Islamorada and the lakes of the Kentucky countryside.

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