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The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

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Old 05-18-2004, 08:25 AM
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Default The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

All righty, we are home and everything put away from our week in Marathon. Let me first lay out the events of the day and then reflect on the happenings. We were to race on Saturday in P3 and Sunday in F2. Because my boat has nose cones and turned up limiters we needed to get some parts to pass tech. Craig Collabella took care of my drive issues as usual by bringing a set of sportmasters for the F2 race and we were trying to run down the Innovation guys for a quick reflashing of the ECM for sunday. Due to time constraints we ended up running in the non F2 compliant set up for the P3 race figuring that we could make the switch that night. The boat is very well set up and we anticipated no issues with the changes.

We were the second race on Saturday set to go at 2pm. The other boat in our class was P3-9 Fortress with Tyler Crockett on the sticks. They are last years Champs so I knew the competition would be stiff. As per our meeting we left the docks at FAro Blanco at 1:30 to do a parade lap. We had the A boats starting with us also. The start order was that the A boats would have the inside lanes going into the the first turn, then it would be us and then Tyler. As we left the mill and started down the back straight everything looked good, the water was choppy but not too bad, the visibility was excellent but the bouys were a little difficult to see. As we rounded the the course and past the spectator area we gave the wives the mandatory wave and though we were going back to the mill to get picked up for the start. Much to my surprise we continued around turn 7 back onto the back straight and they started to line up for a start. We had to hurry to get into position. After getting lined up the starter boat began driving to the inside of the course pulling most of us off course by a little bit. Once we got all collected back up the green flag flew.

Bruce has a very good sense of timing and was on the gas with perfect timing. I figured that Tyler would have an advantage on us in accelleration since his boat is smaller and has a strong motor. It was clear from the green that we were going to get the holeshot. My boat started pulling out front right away and I concentrated on making the straightest line to the first turn. When we got to turn 1 we were clearly out front and had clean water. We railed the first turn and set up for turn 2 on an inside lane. We railed around turn 2 and really lined up well for the only right turn on the course. The whole 1,2,and 3 sequence was very difficult because you were in a decreasing radius turn until the number 3 bouy. The number 3 bouy was inside of the course forcing you to do a very sharp turn to make the pin. After turn 3 we came to the next left of turn 4 which brings us back along side of the bridge for the run up to the start finish. The water was a little mixed up because the tide is so strong through the pilings but it was still a smooth ride. As we approached the number 5 pin (slight dogleg) I hung inside and Bruce never came off the sticks. As we passed the spectators we were in about a 25 boat length lead and still pulling!! (see phot0 attached). Turn 6 and 7 went perfect, in fact it was kinda spooky how well we were turning that boat. I couldnt have been happier with our team work. Back down the start straight and we awere seeing 89 mph in short time and it was a nice run down the back. Then lightening struck........

As we approached turn 1 I set up for another inside pin assault and we brought her down to cornering speed. The water was a little bumpy but nothing major. As I came to the pin we were in a nice turn, but I was aggressive on the pin. As we rounded the pin I felt a slide start and BOOM! she came around and rolled up on the high side. Bruce went out over my head and I came out on the low side. I was stuffed deep into the water. I was concerned that the boat was on top of me and would obstruct my efforts to get to the surface. This turned out to be not the case. I was a good 30 yards from the boat. When I surfaced I had a hard time clearing my helmet to breathe and see. The first thing I saw was the Angel chopper hovering over my head with the STARS team ready to jump. I gave the OK signal. I then looked for the boat to make sure that she had not gone down!! She was sitting there looking good as usual!! (I love that boat!!) I was in pretty tumbled up shape, my pant were pulled down (luckily the Lifeline has leg straps), my Rolex was just hanging on my wrist with the hands free wheeling inside!!, and I had klost my shoes. I found the 1 shoe floating near me (the other never left the boat, it was on the floor board). My helmet was also tore all up, the sheild and all plastic on the outside was broken or gone and the chin portion was cracked. Looks like a throw away!!
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The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)-dscn1927.jpg   The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)-dscn1932.jpg   The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)-dscn1936.jpg  

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Old 05-18-2004, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

It was not possible to swim back to the boat due to the current so we got picked up by rescue and they dumped us back aboard. Bruce told me to get back in the seat and get it restarted!! The helo gave us the OK signal so we assumed that we could resume the race. As we proceeded down the course I couldnt see where I was going because my sheild was gone so Bruce tried to find his sunglasses to give my so that we could get back into the hunt!! The guy is determined! The pace boat stopped us though and said go inside, its over. Thats cool. Pops explained afterwards that ejection means no more racing until med checks you and the boat is inspected.

We went in and waited at the wet pits for the families. They were very upset. Keep in mind our wives were toting 3 kids, all under 6 and all crying... Lucky Strike and his wife met us at the dock also and took our post photo!! The boat did not suffer much damage. The drives are fine, the paint has a gel coat chip and my Martin Offshore sticker got torn!! All in all we were very fortunate not get seriuosly hurt. I cant say enough for the STARS team and race control. They were on top of the situation. Amy from APBA actually called my wife right after the ejection tolet them know that we were OK and before any rumors spread. They are a truly professional organization.
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

Look at that lead after a half of a lap!!!
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

Still going!!
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

It's good to know you guys are alright. Good luck next race!
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:40 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

Quote:
Originally Posted by d-hlaw
Look at that lead after a half of a lap!!!
Glad to see everyone is OK. Man that had to be one hell of an experience. So...what's the next race on your schedule?

Last edited by clearcut3; 05-18-2004 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

The SBI/APBA Sarasota race is looking pretty good right now!!!
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

Glad you are ok.
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

I'm glad you both are alright and around to talk about it I would rethink this racing stuff though. Think of the stress on your family.
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Old 05-18-2004, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: The Gladiator chronicles (lead, spin, eject)

Let's get Steve/LuckyStrike or JR. to post the after picture, now that we know your all right. You guys must look good on that! SOunds like a typical Barefooting wipeout!

Again glad you pulled out great Brett.
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