Offshore racer Brit Lilly is home in Maryland now with the 2016 Super Boat International Superboat Vee-Class National Championship trophy he earned last weekend in Clearwater, Fla. Not a bad accomplishment for a guy in his first full SBI season.
But the 30-year-old son of offshore racing great Art Lilly isn’t going to spend a whole of time staring at the hard-earned trophy he fought for in one offshore racing’s most competitive class. He’s pretty much done thinking about it. After all, the SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., are a little more than one month away.
In fact, he was planning on testing LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness, his 29-foot Extreme canopied V-bottom powered by a 650-hp Joey Griffin engine, yesterday. Lilly and his teammate Ron Umlandt have a couple of mechanical/setup gremlins to work out. The 29-footer’s relatively new engine hatch isn’t getting cool enough air to the Griffin mill, Lilly said, and the result is a significant horsepower loss. Plus, he struggled all season to nail down the boat’s correct center of gravity, a problem that began after he replaced his aluminum fuel tank with a fuel bladder late last year.
“I am learning that there is so much stuff to pay attention to and be on top of all the time in this class,” said Lilly, who combined a third-place finish, a fourth-place finish, two second-place finishes—one in Clearwater last Sunday—and a first-place result this season to claim the national title. “Everybody is running at a such a high level, everybody racing is so good. There simply is no margin for error. I don’t know if you saw Steve Miklos last weekend (Miklos’ Sun Print team took first place in Clearwater) but he was on fire.”
At it happens, Lilly’s mom, Rene, told him earlier this season to “get serious” and bring home a national championship. So he did. And while he’s always happy to please his mom, the title means almost nothing to him right now as he prepares for the Key West Worlds.
“You’ve got to put the Nationals behind you and get ready for Key West,” said Lilly, who won Wednesday’s Superboat Vee race there last year. “There are three races in Key West. I have been told that Doc Janssen is coming back. I’m in for the competition. There more competitors we have and they better they are, the more fun it’s going to be. So I’m going testing.”
And Lilly won’t let the title he just claimed distract him one bit. Or maybe he will—in a good way.
“I’m still totally humbled by it,” he said.
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.