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Loto 2014: RIP Mike Fiore

RIP Mike Fiore

Though marred by the tragic crash that led to the death of Outerlimits owner Mike Fiore, this year’s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout drew record crowds on Saturday and featured a record-shattering 244-mph run by them Spirit of Qatar team’s Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, driving the 50’ Mystic Al Adaa’am 96. Temperatures hovering around 100 degrees made for quite a sweaty experience for drivers, but Shootout organizer Capt. Ron Duggan credited his on-water team—including Kent Morris and his patrol crew—for moving boats through the system quickly and efficiently. All told, 90 runs were made on Saturday, an astonishing number considering that the course shut down for nearly an hour following the crash of the 42-foot Outerlimits catamaran, driven by Canadian Joel Begin and throttled by Fiore. The boat, one of the first to run on Saturday, launched into the air as it approached 170 mph, flipped and crashed, prompting screams from the crowd. The horrific accident—caught on a video that immediately went viral—was unprecedented in the event’s 26-year history. (Begin survived and was later released from the hospital, while Fiore died a few days later from his injuries.) Ultimately, the decision was made to continue the Shootout, which yielded an amazing, record-smashing run of 244 by Sheikh Hassan the Spirit of Qatar catamaran, besting last year’s 224-mph record-setter by Bill Tomlinson in his My Way Mystic. Hassan, who is president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation, was participating in the LOTO Shootout for the first time. It was the second run of the day for the Qatar machine, which suffered an accidental parachute deployment during its first run on the mile-long course. After the malfunction was repaired, Hassan and throttleman Steve Curtis had transformed Tomlinson’s 2013 achievement into a one-year record. On both Saturday and Sunday, spectators were treated to a special race between Bob Bull’s MTI catamaran CMS and a smoke-spewing stunt plane. “It was really cool and very entertaining for the crowd,” Duggan said. “I’ve gotten some very positive comments about that.”

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