The offshore racing season got off to a rollicking start Sunday in Cocoa Beach, FL, as teams braved the typically rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Six boats registered to compete in Class One. Only four of them started, and only two of them finished. JBS Racing and Lucas Oil represented the USA, Huski Chocolate represented Sweden, and 222 Offshore represented Australia. (356 Racing, representing the Cayman Islands, did not start, and the USA’s Team DeFalco was a no-show.) The fleet of large canopied competitors are powered by twin 1100 engines. 222 Offshore, driven by Darren Nicholson with Giovanni Carpitella on the sticks, grabbed the early lead, followed by Brit Lilly and Steve Curtis in Huski Chocolate, and Jay Johnson and Nigel Hook in Lucas Oil. The Lucas Oil entry slowed to a stop fairly early on, allowing JBS Racing (with Jeff Stevenson and Micheal Stancombe) to capture the third-place position. An apparent mechanical issue took out the 222 Offshore boat toward the end of the race, allowing Huski to finish in first place, while JBS took second. It was actually Lilly’s second win of the day, as he pulled triple duty on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, half a dozen Stock Vee competitors fought for podium positions. Lilly, running with his longtime friend and throttleman Kevin Smith, were victorious in LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness/RevX Oil (although the boat somehow lost a deck hatch during the competition). Fastboys Racing (with Ken Bolinger and Forrest Riddle) were running a strong second until the boat suffered mechanical issues and was seen being towed in. North Myrtle Beach RV Resort and Pit Viper/Twisted Tea finished second and third, respectively.
Lilly drove yet a third time in the day’s final race: Super Cat, which featured seven boats. But it was Chris Grant and Billy Moore in Graydel/C.J. Grant Racing that grabbed the early lead and held onto it to the finish. M-CON (with Myrick Coil and Tyler Miller) finished second, and Pro Floors Racing (with New Zealand’s Wayne Valder driving with U.S. throttleman Grant Bruggemann) finished third. Lilly, driving WHM Motorsports with throttleman Jay Muller, had to settle for fourth place—at least in this class.
Another hard-fought battle saw Jackhammer and LPC frequently trading off on the lead among 10 Super Stock entries. As the class neared the halfway point, Jackhammer (with driver Reese Langheim and throttleman Ricky Maldonado) pulled ahead and held on to its first-place spot for the remainder of the race. LPC, with Anthony Smith and Loren Peters, finished second. In third place were Cody McDowell and Billy Allen in Team Allen Lawn Care, and in fourth place were Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams in Performance Boat Center/FASS Fuel Systems.
In the sophomore year of Factory Stock 450 class, current World Champions Taylor Scism and Johnny Tomlinson took an early lead in their new MTI against new competitor KLOVAR Motorsports (with Randy Keys and Billy Allen driving the MTI that Scism piloted last season). However, Scism’s boat blew a hose and dropped out of the race, allowing KLOVAR to take the first win of the year in the class.
There were only two boats competing in Modified Vee class: Sun Print (with Steven Fehrman and Steve Miklos) and Boatfloater.com (with the father/son team of Stephen Kildahl and Steve Kildahl). It seemed a cinch that Boatfloater would be victorious when Sun Print came to a stop after their early lead. But after replacing a coil wire that had come off, the boys got back in the race—only to see Boatfloater drop out after reportedly experiencing a troubling vibration in the boat. Sun Print took the win.
All winners are unofficial, pending technical inspections, but here were the apparent victors in other classes:
Bracket Class 300: Neither competitor in this class (Team Woody Racing and Rollin’ Dirty Offshore/Elite Home Gamerooms) finished the race.
Bracket Class 400: Predator/Stahlman Motorsports, with Dean Stahlman, Nate Hunt and Connie Hunt.
Bracket Class 500: Bronx Phantom, with Robert Winoski and Vincent Winoski.
Bracket Class 600: Rum Runners, with Michael McColgan and Francis Vellutato Jr.
Bracket Class 700: Team Progression/Nauti Boyz, with James Jaronczyk and Joe Reilly.