Great write up!
He just puts on a great BAR-B-QUE.................Thanks John you and OPA are the reason we are racing!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all that you do and the welcome you give to new teams!!!!!!!!!! I love the GEICO chics too!!!!!!!!!!!!
TEAM OCTANE 411
Chesapeake Bay Powerboat Association
Stories like that are great... real motivational guy.
Sounds like a really great guy who has done a lot for many people and the sport.
It looks I wasn't the only one that watched that and wondered "how can a guy in those yellow shorts have the kinda bucks to be behind this team."
can someone copy and paste the article? I can't access their site from work...Thanks, Tom
Here you go!
John Ben-Ali Haggin was born of Irish-Arabian descent on February 26, 1957 in New York City. Owner and Founder of AMF Offshore Racing, he believes in his team and does what it takes to stay number one. In just two short years, John Haggin has had more of an impact on the sport of Offshore Racing than anyone. From equipment to crew, AMF Offshore Racing is the country's premier and fastest-performing powerboat racing team.
He is a charismatic, good-hearted and down to earth man with a passion for life, people and the sport of offshore racing. He is also a very successful businessman who is never one to boast or talk about his private history. What is never told is that Haggin (as he prefers to be called) represents an incredible heritage which makes them on of the most influential families in history and whose involvement in international financing, mining, Thoroughbred racing, the arts as well as agricultural and industrial innovation influenced the politics, economy and development of the entire nation for nearly two centuries.
Haggin's name represents one of Kentucky’s oldest families and is synonymous with racing and great success. His exotic middle name comes from Turkish descent dating back to 1756. Ibrahim Ben Ali was a man of great wealth and means who immigrated to the United States and practiced as a physician in Philadelphia. His grandson was James Ben-Ali Haggin who became a lawyer who followed the gold rush to California and became partners with Senator Hearst. His wise investments and clear vision brought unprecedented personal success and great accomplishment in industry.
Haggin’s own biographies and interviews usually give a vague but entertaining account of cattle ranching, a horrendous motorcycle and polo accident that nearly cost him life and limb and his early days racing the Jersey Skiff, Dazed and Confused. He is a humble man with a positive attitude who you will always find laughing. His trucks are easily identifiable by the large happy face logos and the signature motto “BIG SMILE.”
When Haggin put together his team, he not only looked for more than skill, determination and drive, they had to know how to have fun and put it all out there. Because of that his team consists of what has been call the “who’s who of hell raisers in the sport” and one big happy family. The AMF Team is always smiling, and when the boats take to the seas, no matter which one it is, they run hard.
Haggin’s passion and endless generosity has been felt by thousands and his with his enthusiasm there seems to be no bounds to Haggin’s dedication to the sport of Offshore Racing. “We always come ready to perform that show – but we’re also full of pleasant surprises, like compassion for children and encouragement for those who need it most.” Often visiting Children’s and Veteran’s Hospitals many times before camp is settled. Haggin's generosity extends beyond visits and recently donated a turnkey $75,000.00 race boat to the OPA that was auctioned off on OffshoreOnly.com to benefit the OPA's Shore Dreams for Kids Charity and Cancer research. Last Christmas, Haggin's team donated 676 bicycles to Toys for Tots and AMF sponsored the Policeman's Benevolent Associations golf tournament at Trump Mar-A-Lago Resort in Palm Beach.
Haggin is well known for his impressive entourage and hospitality and learned from his father how to entertain in grand style and something he recently learned has been a family tradition for over 200 years. “Sunday was a day of everybody getting together” he explains and talks of how his dad would strip down a steer and barbeque. One thing has changed, his team travels with a chef who feeds everyone in the pits breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. The meals and parties are famous for being over the top and with hammocks strewn about and a pool it is the perfect way to relax and get back to having fun.
Perhaps it is his great sense of humor and charismatic nature that lead many to underestimate the driving force behind the team of men throttling their way into the forefront as a force to be reckoned with. Haggin is an accomplished businessman in his own right whose passion and drive fuel clearly define him as a leader and innovator who makes things happen. He was recently described as a “Man on a Mission” and has already attained unprecedented accomplishments this season. The new Miss GEICO just began testing the waters and has already taken the undefeated title from Budweiser Select. Despite their abilities and having a powerful GEICO sponsorship behind them, it was a win that left the team in shock and generated huge interest with fans and media. It is also a portent of things to come as commits his vast resources and boundless energy in a quest to unite offshore racing as a major worldwide motor sport.
When it comes to racing, history proclaims John Haggin as the owner of the first Kentucky horse track in 1785. His grandson, James Ben Ali Haggin migrated to California during the gold rush and built the largest Thoroughbred industry the world had ever seen. He remains one of the greatest influences in racing history and his bloodlines and breeding programs are still noted as being the finest Thoroughbreds that ever ran on both American and European tracks.
As a pioneer of industry, interest in racing didn’t end with horses. Hurd & Haggin engines were built and used to power the speed boats that ran in the first APBA Gold Cup races and later evolved into interests in the aviation industry. John’s father, a two time Civil Air patrol hero entered phase one of what would lead to a series of Donzi purchases, which then lead to a friendship with the “Don” of powerboats Don Aronow. Weekends were then spent gallivanting around with Aronow and the likes of celebrities such as Lee Marvin, splashing the Donzi with frequent trips to the Bahamas.
He's been in love with the sport ever since his father took him to see Miami-Nassau-Miami race when Haggin was a boy. But it was a love for offshore boats that was instilled at an early age. When he was 6, Haggin went to the Miami to Nassau race and saw a boat crash into the docks. The crew came off bloodied and battered with broken bones and a plethora of injuries, but the young Haggin noticed something else on the transom of their boat. It said "AMF," which Haggin explains with a wry smile, means America Moving Forward. Haggin's love for the history of boat racing is evidenced by his relationship with speed record holder Ken Warby.
With a history so deeply embedded in racing and influenced by competent racers, it was only natural that John Jr. who was now in his late teens evolved into an adrenaline junkie. An 18-foot Donzi, with a blown 454 was his first watercraft, which soon after triggered the race-bug in him. Tom Sayward would be his partner in the JS-77 Jersey Skiff, known to racers and enthusiasts simply as, Dazed and Confused. Tom and John raced Dazed and Confused to numerous titles throughout Southern Georgia and Florida until racing ceased for the duo, when the Jersey Skiff program changed courses and steered its events to locations in the Northern United States.
Cancer took Haggin's father's life when his son was young, so the whole AMF Racing concept is dedicated to his dad. His affection for the regular guy is reflected in his sponsorship of 13 Production class teams. These categories are also known as ‘run-what-you-brung’ classes and are often made up of competitors who scrape up enough money for entry fees and sleep in their trucks. He does what he can to help drivers make it to the races and succeed.
"Whatever it takes to be the best, is what I commit to our team -- this sponsorship takes that commitment to the next level." With a past history and proven record for success, there isn’t anyone better suited to lead the campaign “United We Race!”
Good write up!
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