See you all there :-)
Michelle May - Schmidt
Email [email protected]
For Immediate Release
Boston Businessmen become Weekend Warriors
Local Residents Hopeful for Hometown Powerboat Racing Victory
Boston, MA - - While some men mow the grass or take up golfing on the weekends, four of the area’s prominent businessmen speed up their weekend activities by becoming Weekend Warriors, competing in the sport of Offshore Powerboat Racing. Next weekend, they are hopeful for a hometown victory, as the APBA Offshore National Pro Series of Powerboat racing comes to Yarmouth.
The Pro Series makes it’s way to the Boston area, over the weekend of June 6th, on the third leg of eight races, culminating in a National Championship Title. A win in Yarmouth will hopefully make the winning even sweeter, for area residents, Dan DeSantis, of West Bridgewater; Chris Wickstrom, of Harwich Port, Mark O’Duggan of Winthrop, and Curtis Watkins, formerly of Boston.
DeSantis, who has owned and operated DeSantis Chevrolet in Brockton since 1987, will have his raceboat on display at the dealership from Monday through Wednesday of Race Week, so that fans can view his high-tech, 40’ Douglas Skater catamaran up close. You may even be able to pick up an autograph from the Driver, himself, who is a graduate of Providence College. The dealership is located at 1555 Main Street in Brockton.
DeSantis, whose wife, Gisele, and father, Richard, attend the races to cheer him on, actually began his offshore racing career in 1992, where he competed as a throttleman, taking a 2nd place in the standings for his first year out. The following year, he picked up the "Triple Crown Award", winning the Regional, National and World Championships that season, as well as Rookie of the Year. Ten years later, he will now compete as a Driver in the largest and fastest fleet of the series, Super Cat, where speeds in excess of 130+ miles per hour are expected.
For the 2002 racing season, Dan has selected 5 Time World Champion Charlie Haimes, of Weston, Florida, as his Throttleman and 5 Time World Champion/4 Time National Champion, Steven Schmidt, of Competitive EDGE Marine as his Crew Chief. The team has high hopes of picking up another World Title. "We are trying out a new engine package this year, using ILMORE Racing Engines," said DeSantis. "Charlie and I want to be able to do something that no other team has, and so we have been spending a lot of time doing research and development. We believe that we have a winning package and are hopeful that we can show that on our home turf." The DeSantis Chevrolet Super Cat #13 Team will be competing in the Sunday Race Competition.
Last year, Curtis Watkins entered the offshore arena with teammate, Chris Wickstrom. This year, they will compete, not together, but with two separate race entries. Watkins will compete in the Factory 1 class under the Patriot Offshore Racing name, and Wickstrom will enter the Factory 2 Competition with new teammate, Mark O’ Duggan.
Watkins began his competitive watersports career, actually, in stand-up jet skiing, during the Yamaha sponsored, South Florida Hot Water Tour. During his practice sessions, he met John Thames, a fellow jet skier, who shared many of the same hobbies he did. This year, the two teamed up to form Patriot Offshore Racing. Before racing, Watkins worked for his family owned company, Simplex, a leader in commercial fire alarm and security systems. His career there lasted ten years, where he held many positions in both service and sales, including a position as the Northeast Regional Manager, overseeing the service operations of nineteen offices throughout New England and New York. In 1999, the company was sold, giving him the opportunity to launch his own real estate development company, which he operates today, from Fort Lauderdale.
Thames is a professional snow boarding instructor, a certified private pilot, and has valuable experience used for racing with his background as a Captain for a number of Tournament Sport Fishing Vessels. The two have had an exciting year so far.
In St. Cloud, the Patriot Racing Team pulled out an astonishing 2nd place finish after stuffing the boat on the last turn, as they headed into the finish for the win. They righted themselves and lost by only 11 seconds. In Daytona, the team finished 7th, and in Marathon, they were involved in a 3 boat collision, where they were hit by one competitor, that knocked them into another on the other side. Although the boat was damaged, it has been repaired in time for the Yarmouth race, and the accidents haven’t stopped their drive for a victory at home. "Picking up a win in front of our family and friends would be a crowning achievement, " said Watkins, who with Thames, will compete this year in a 29’ Fountain, with Mercury 500hp engines. The team has plans on moving to Super Vee for the 2003 Season. Crew Chief for the Team is 2 Time National and World Champion Throttleman, Rick Turmel, of Competitive EDGE Marine, who will also be competing in his own raceboat.
Meanwhile, Watkins teammate from last year, Chris Wickstrom, joined forces with Mark O’Duggan to take a checkered flag at the St. Cloud kickoff with Wickstrom’s new Factory 2 entry, Harwich Concrete Block - Pier 57 . The team battled it out for a 3rd place finish in Daytona amidst tremendously rough seas and further stomped the competition last month in Marathon, the Florida Keys, where they took their second checkered flag of the season.
Wickstrom, Vice President of Harwich Concrete Block, has a special incentive for winning; he will be married to Donna Constantine this weekend at the Whychmer Harbor Club in Harwich Port, and the couple will spend their honeymoon at the races. "We plan on repeating here, what we did in Marathon. We feel we have a hometown advantage, because Mark and I are familiar with the water and have run that course in 4 - 5 seas. We’re definitely ready."
The team will compete in a 35’ Fountain with twin Mercury 500hp engines that propel them to speeds in excess of 90+ miles per hour. O’Duggan, President of Mark Equipment Company, will drive, and says he feels comfortable with Wickstrom at the wheel. " Racing a boat is like driving on wet pavement with your hands on the wheel and another person’s foot on the gas. At 90 miles an hour, you put all your trust in your teammate. Chris and I grew up together and that’s a bond that helps us win, time and time again."
All teams are part of the Competitive EDGE Marine Fleet of Race Teams, and are rigged and maintained at their Fort Lauderdale based Race Shop, along with a fourth raceboat, Stainless Marine - Pier 57, a Super Vee Light Twin Entry, run by Rick Turmel and Bill McComb, who will also compete in Yarmouth.
The Patriot Offshore Race Team will compete in the Saturday Races at Noon, while the other teams will have "Happy Hour" testing, following the race. The Sunday lineup includes the Harwich Concrete Block - Pier 57 Team, and the Stainless Marine - Pier 57 Team at Noon, with the DeSantis Chevrolet Super Cat in the 2:00pm competition. Fans are encouraged to stop by, meet the teams and see the high-tech Raceboats in the Race Village Dry Pits at the Yarmouth Drive In over Race Weekend. Cameras and autograph books are always welcome. The races will also be aired on Speed Channel on July 20th at 10:00am EST. For more information on the Competitive EDGE Marine , Corporate Sponsorship or the sport of Offshore Powerboat Racing, visit www.GetTheEdgeRacing.com or call 954-796-9226.
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See you all there :-)
Put your best foot forward!
Good luck Mark & Chris
And Mark , don't forget we have to get back to work in July.
Alum Metal Fab
Custom Marine Sales
Dave's Custom Boats
Diamond Performance Parts
Double R Performance
Elton Porter Insurance
Fastboats Marine Group
GGB Exhaust Technologies
Grand Sports Center
Ilmor High Performance Marine
Lake Cumberland Marine
Lake Havasu Boat Show
Marine Technology Inc
McLeod Design Group
Performance Boat Center
Performance Marine Trading
Potter Performance Engines
Ron Sporl Performance
Speed and Custom Marine
Total Dollar Insurance
Teague Custom Marine
Wake Zone Marine Insurance
Young Performance Marine