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Team Cleveland Construction - Toledo Blade


Team Cleveland Construction - Toledo Blade

Old 07-04-2008, 03:00 PM
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Default Team Cleveland Construction - Toledo Blade

Just happen to sit down on the couch this afternoon to read the paper and right on the front the the sports page offshore racing! Great to see the sport making the local papers! Congrats!



Smith drives; Sikorski takes care of 'attitude'

Toledoan Dave Sikorski, 41, likes the challenge of powerboat racing, a sport that requires 2 to pilot the boat.

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Picture yourself sitting in a 37-foot powerboat that tops out at 115 mph. It is the first time you've been in this particular machine except for a few practice runs the previous day.

This is the inaugural race of the season, so the anxious feeling in your stomach is heightened a bit. The flag drops and you're off. The race is going smoothly until a skeg detaches from the bottom of the boat. Shortly thereafter, another fin falls off. You have no time to fret because this massive watercraft still must be navigated around the course.

Did we mention this is the first time you've been on board with your boat mate?

Sounds like a pretty thrilling sport, huh?

"I've raced quarter-mile drag cars," Ed Smith said. "I've done the oval track. I've motorcycled. I've raced just about everything but snowmobiles, but boat racing is something where the course changes every second. It's never the same."

Smith and his teammate, Dave Sikorski, fended off those adverse circumstances to win a race in Ocean City, Md., last month. Some might say the two are a bit crazy for attempting such a dangerous act, but this is their sport, and it makes complete sense to them.

The Cleveland Construction boat won its Class 100 race in Ocean City, Md., last month, at around 115 mph.

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"It's difficult to explain," said Sikorski, who was raised in Rossford and now lives in Toledo. "All of us are in it for a number of reasons. I just enjoy the competition and the people I deal with. We have a great group of competitive people."

Positioned shoulder to shoulder at the front of the boat, Smith and Sikorski have different responsibilities on race day. Smith, 52, is the driver of the team's 377 Talon Supercat. Sikorski, 41, is responsible for the boat's "attitude," meaning he adjusts the drives, monitors the motors and oversees what is not visible to the driver.

Depending on the motion of the water, adjustments are often made rapidly. Practice runs are designated only the day before the race because moving at such high speeds at any other time is illegal.

"You really have to approach it as a second instinct," Sikorski said. "It's something you develop over time. The only real practice is getting a lot of races under your belt."

Sikorski hasn't missed a race in three years, but the Maryland stop was his first with Smith. They decided to join forces over the winter after running into complications with their previous teams. It seems to be a good match. Sikorski was a world champion in 2006, while the veteran Smith has won two world titles and three on the national stage.

"This year we're shooting for a national title, a high points title, and a world title," said Smith, who hails from the Saint Clair, Mich., area.

The governing body for their competition is OPA Racing Organization. Six classes make up the circuit, each determined by the speed of one's boat. Class 100, in which Smith and Sikorski compete, includes boats ranging from 105-115 mph.

Before this year Sikorski raced in Class 200, made up of boats traveling 95 to 105 mph. The introductory level, Class 600, draws boats of 70 mph. Sikorski competed in Class 600 when he took up the sport about seven years ago.

"I still consider myself relatively, I don't want to say a newcomer, but it takes a while to get in the old guard in this sport," he said.

This is essentially a hobby for the racers - and it's not cheap. Each team has a sponsor - Cleveland Construction for Smith and Sikorski - that helps foot the travel expenses. About $850 in fuel was needed to go to and from Ocean City, and in the race, Sikorski and Smith burned 140 gallons of fuel at $7.50 per gallon. That doesn't account for oil, spark plugs and other equipment and parts.

And there's the boat too. Smith dropped about $500,000 on the Talon, which houses a $50,000 engine.

Although they have a crew chief, the teammates both have backgrounds that help them make adjustments to the boat. Sikorski maintains powerboats for a living, and Smith owns a marina.

"The boat is running phenomenal because we completely rebuilt it over the winter," Smith said.

Up next for Smith and Sikorski is a race in Harrison Township, Mich., on July 20.

From there, they'll race at Saint Clair in the third of seven series events on July 27.

After Maryland, Smith and Sikorski are atop the Class 100 standings.

"Once we are out there, there is no friends, but before and after the race everyone wants to come back to the dock," Sikorski said. "We're all in it for good competition."
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Old 07-04-2008, 03:36 PM
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Bad Girls Make Good Company
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Old 07-04-2008, 09:55 PM
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Nice work! Hey I know those guys!
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Old 07-05-2008, 03:16 AM
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Great Job Guy's
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Old 07-05-2008, 10:06 AM
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Yes, it is used to be old traffic Light....They changed name to Cleveland Construction, Inc.

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