Between Katheryn Theisen, a board member of the Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix/Thunder On Cocoa Beach race in Cocoa Beach, Fla., Micheal Stancombe, the notable Peppers Racing throttleman and owner of Pro Marine RC in Indiana, and JJ Turk, an offshore racer whose family owns the La Quinta Inn of Cocoa Beach, they all share the same sentiments when it comes to the new “Race the Racers” event coming to the Super Boat International season opener next week (May 18-20).
“The new ‘Race the Racers’ RC boat event is all about the kids and making Thunder On Cocoa Beach more family friendly,” Theisen said. “Our goal is to get a bunch of kids out there, let them try out the RC boats and interact with the race teams. This is our first year doing this so we’re not sure what to expect, but it should be fun. Now racing fans can come out Saturday, walk around the pits, meet the racers, see the boats and even get their own racing experience.”
The RC activity is scheduled for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in front of the Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral. Theisen said some race teams are going to supply their own boats, but that the other boats are going to provided by Stancombe’s Pro Marine RC and that Turk, who is going to have his own mini No Vacancy RC boat on hand, is going to be there to make sure everything runs smoothly because Stancombe is going to be busy racing with Trent Weyant in the TNT Offshore Racing 27-foot Activator.
“Honestly, I’m not sure kids have ever been able to get involved with racers like this before,” said Stancombe, who added that he is going to have his Peppers RC raceboat at the event, too. “I’m hoping this goes so well that other races will want to make it part of their event schedule. As long as the producers and fans are happy, I’m happy. I can’t wait for the racers’ race after the event. It’s going to get serious at that point.”
Theisen said she plans to have some type of “I Raced Thunder On Cocoa Beach” award or certificate for the kids who participate in the activity. She doesn’t know exactly which teams are going to be participating, but she has confirmed that several race team members have committed to being there for at least part of the three-hour event.
“I know the teams are going to be busy getting ready for their races, so we’re grateful for any time they can give us,” Theisen said. “This is going to be so much fun.”
Theisen, who said she first talked with Stancombe about the idea of bringing the RC boats to Cocoa Beach in November during the OffshoreOnly/Speedonthewater.com Key West Bash at The Sandbar, wanted to remind any racers who are attending Thunder On Cocoa Beach to bring their RC boats if they’d like to participate in Saturday’s special event or just have them out for display. In fact, Theisen expects many of the teams to have their mini boats on display during Friday’s Meet The Racers Block Party in downtown Cocoa Beach.
Last week, my fellow OSO columnist Matt Trulio previewed the season-opening race in the Cocoa Beach-Port Canaveral area (read the story). His story provided an interesting organizer perspective that we don’t normally talk about. This story also has a little bit of that behind-the-scenes aspect, and, as you can see, building, operating and improving upon a successful offshore racing event is no easy task.
Photos courtesy ProMarineRC
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.