For any number of reasons, the 244-mph Lake of the Ozarks Shootout top-speed record set by Steve Curtis and Sheik Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani in a turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran in 2014 will never fall.
Yes, I know that records are made to be broken, that you should never say never, that you “never know”—I could go on with the mindless clichés but I won’t—but that surreal mark was the product of all the right things, deep pockets and even deeper desire among them, coming together at just the right time. And even if the shootout course on the popular Central Missouri waterway hadn’t been shortened this year to three-quarters-of-a-mile from it original one-mile length, that record is safe forever.
Don’t believe me? That’s OK. Hope and optimism are good things. But that untouchable record won’t be broken. What’s more, American Ethanol, a 51-foot Mystic catamaran, won’t get close to the 217-mph run it laid down last year to claim the overall Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Top Gun title. And the chances of Dennis and Jason Parvey getting anywhere close to the outrageous 165-mph V-bottom mark they established last year in their 43-foot Black Thunder are non-existent.
So why should you even bother paying attention to the 2017 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Aug. 26-27?
Because with the new three-quarters-of-a-mile course, every top speed in every class will be a record for those who return in 2018 and beyond to try to eclipse them. (Rest assured, the old one-mile top speed marks will remain in the Shootout records.) Every top speed will be a target to shoot for this year and in the years to come.
John Cosker, who recently throttled American Ethanol to 200 mph with driver Tony Battiato on the three-quarter-mile course at the GLOC Performance Boat Challenge in Oklahoma, said he’s looking forward to the challenge of making speed on the water in a shorter distance.
“It should be interesting,” said Cosker, who’s throttling the turbine-powered, 50-foot My Way Mystic catamaran owned and driven by Canadian Bill Tomlinson at this weekend’s 1,000 Island Poker Run produced by Poker Runs America. “I’m hoping to get a little more practice in the boat.
“Now that they’ve given me everything I’ve ever asked for in American Ethanol, I have to learn to run the boat again,” he added, then laughed. “I think we’ll get 200 mph plus out of it at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. But I don’t know how far we’ll get into 200.”
Likewise, Jason Parvey said he’s not sure what to expect on the shorter course.
“We’ll be methodical in how we run the course,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens. We’re still working on a mid-range handing thing—between 80 and 120 mph the boat can’t figure out which step to ride on so if you put in too much power it porpoises. After 120 mph, you can lay on it. Last year when we ran 165, we really didn’t get on it until we were halfway down the course.”
The way I see it, if the fastest catamaran and V-bottom guys are intrigued, I’m intrigued. If they’re all in, I’m all in. From any perspective, the challenge of a shorter course for top speeds is compelling. You definitely won’t see old records fall. But you will see—without question—new records set.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.