Unlike most offshore racing teams, which tend to have single owners who answer to no one, the Miss GEICO campaign is literally run by committee. The Scotts (Begovich and Colton), the Garys (Goodell and Stray) and Marc Granet (there is only one Marc Granet) are equal partners in the team. They don’t have to agree on all decisions, but they do have to make them as a group.
The only entity that can overrule the group is its sponsor, of course. And that means, as previously reported in March on speedonthewater.com, the Miss GEICO team will not compete at next month’s Super Boat International World Championships in Key West, Fla.
“For us, this is about winning races but for our sponsor it’s about selling insurance,” said Stray, who manages the team. “And they are paying the bills.
“It costs a lot of money to send the team to Key West and they don’t get the publicity, the feedback or the sales they get at other venues,” he continued. “We will go to the OPA (Offshore Powerboat Association) Worlds in Englewood Beach (Fla.) and our sponsor will get more out of two days there than seven days in Key West.”
So last weekend’s national championship-winning performance was the end of the 2018 SBI season for the Miss GEICO team, which will head to the OPA Worlds in November. And while there may be some disappointment among members of the team, which claimed an SBI Superboat Unlimited-class world title with Steve Curtis and James Sheppard in the cockpit of their 44-foot catamaran, the overall mood of the group is upbeat.
That makes perfect sense after a few deeply disappointing years prior to the 2017 season.
“We’ve really turned things around from the days of struggling with our engine program,” said Stray. “We have been able to make more and more power and keep it reliable, thanks to our fantastic crew and engine builder. And having Steve throttling in the boat is like having a mechanic in there. He really understands the machine. I think Steve and John Tomlinson are head and shoulders above everybody else in the world in that department.”
Curtis, who will run a Victory team boat at the SBI Key West Worlds, said he’s enjoyed throttling the Miss GEICO cat and is looking forward to getting back in it.
“We’ve done all the races that we can do this season, really,” said Curtis. “We did all the SBI events, which was only three races, and all the OPA races we could. But the races we had were a blast. The boat is fast as hell—it’s scary fast.”
“Rusty Rahm is a great driver and Jeff Harris is a great throttleman, and they really pushed us in the SBI races,” he added.
Save for a torn Achilles tendon he recently picked up playing soccer, Stray said he has nothing to complain about. Nor do the other members of the Miss GEICO owners group or their dedicated crew. Their patience and persistence has paid off.
“This team on the whole has been incredible for its perseverance,” he said. “We’re taking a lot of pride in things going right.”
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.