Offshore racers made the trek to Cocoa Beach, FL, for the second round of the 2023 APBA Nationals this weekend. The Thunder on Cocoa Beach event was also the opening round of the UIM Class 1 Powerboat World Championship.
The turnout was impressive, matching the 64 boats at Marathon, FL, in late April. Organizers are optimistic that there could be even more boats at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix on June 30.
Racing kicked off Saturday with Bracket 500, 600, and 700, as well as the new UIM Class 3, which had a single entrant Boat x-69 Scratch 'n Sniff crewed by Austin Blocker on throttles and Michael Chandler driving.
It was a red-letter day for the Turk family. Patriarch JJ Turk and longtime crewmate Micheal Stancombe—the current 500 class champions—finished first in #01 TFR/XINSURANCE, while 16-year-old son Cameron Turk pulled off a win in his first race in the Bracket 700 class. Cameron had a great set of hands on the throttles of #702 TFR/XINSURANCE in the talents of Robert Bryant.
In the Bracket 600 Class, #644 Freebird was victorious, piloted by Reef Delanos with Ryan Stahlman on sticks. #602 Ultimate Powerboat Racing Experience came second with Andrew Frank driving and owner/throttleman Chris Reindl. It was an unlucky outing for #696 Gerard Construction as they broke out and ended third.
The Super Stock Class has grown over the last five years, and many in the class are forecasting even bigger turnouts in the coming races. It is often the most dramatic class—the boats are light with a high power-to-weight ratio, so it is often crowded going into the first few turns. Today's race surface was slighty calmer than the last few years, but as the photos attest this didn't stop the Super Stock teams from getting some "air."
The race was by no means a procession, but it wasn't a surprise when current champions, owner/driver Reece Langheim and throttleman Julian Maldonado took the checkered flag in S-01 Jackhammer. The latest iteration of S-54 CMR Roofing and Construction was awarded second place, with owner/driver Sean Conner and renowned racer Shaun Torrente on throttles. Performance Boat Center / FASS Fuel Systems, with Myrick Coil driving and Rusty Williams on throttles, took third place. Coil raced in three classes this weekend.
Racing continued on Sunday, with driver Brit Lilly and throttleman Steve Curtis in SVEA Racing/Huski Chocolate/ Ice Spritz finishing first in the six-boat field. They were followed by Darren Nicholson and Giovanni Carpitella in 222 Offshore Australia, Carlos De Quesada and Johnny Tomlinson in Pothole Heroes/Alegra Motorsports, Mike Falco and Chris Hanley in Team Defalco, Myrick Coil and Tyler Miller in M CON/Monster Energy, and Hugh Fuller and Rich Wyatt in dfYOUNG. (It was the first race for the new M CON Class 1 boat, but the boat blew a hose halfway through the race, causing them to pull off course.)
Reigning World Champions Coil and Miller fared better in Super Cat class, taking the checkered flag ahead of their eight competitors. Wayne Valder and Grant Bruggemann finished second in Valder Yachts/Pro Floors Racing, and Rob Unnerstall and Casey Boaz in CR Racing/Fish Lips.
In 450R Factory Stock Class, reigning world champion T/S Motorsports (with driver Milton Calafell, filling in for Taylor Scism, and throttleman Johnny Tomlinson) led much of the race, but in the last lap, a blown hose led to their port engine going into Guardian mode, allowing them to be passed by Ervin Grant and Michel Karsenti in Gladiator Canados, which took first place. PLP Scapes / Doug Wright, with Brian Guy and Julian Maldonado, technically finished second, but were demoted to fifth place because they hit a buoy. That left Calafell and Tomlinson in T/S Motorsports to capture second place on points, and 151 Express, with Ian Morgan and Nick Imprescia, finished in third place.
Eight competitiors joined the Mod V class, with Travis Petttko and Robert Hartman emerging victorious in Laticrete/Relentless. Second and third place went to Kyle Miller and Kevin Smith in LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness/Rev-X Oil and Ken Bolinger and Forrest Riddle of FastboysRacing.com.
In Bracket 200 Class, Predator finished first ahead of GNS Motorsports, the only other competitor in the class.
Photo by Jeff Gerardi/Freeze Frame Video