Rain, high winds and choppy seas in the Florida Keys on Sunday contributed to several accidents that effectively ended Race World Offshore's inaugural 7-Mile Offshore Grand Prix in Marathon prematurely, before numerous Super Cat and Super Stock boats even hit the water.
Sunday's second day of racing began with 10 Modified Vee competitiors running eight laps for a total of 45 miles, and six Bracket Class 500 competitors running five laps for a total of 28 miles. Mod Vee's Marker 17 Marine (with driver Brian Forehand and throttleman Vinnie Diorio) took the lead, with Sun Print (with Steven Fehrmann and Steve Miklos) right behind them. Bad INC, (with Austin Shantry and Larry Fontecha), went out early on in the race.
The first red flag of the day appeared after two incidents that happened nearly simultaneously. Shocker (with Chris Colson and Ray Evans) spun out and rolled while trying to avoid an accident; meanwhile, the Bracket Class 500 Team Farnsworth Motorsports boat (with Ervin Grant and Rob O’Connell) also spun out, ejecting its pilots and breaking a drive unit. All of the pilots were rescued and checked out OK.
After more than an hour, Mod Vees and Bracket Class 500 were back to complete five remaining laps. Mod Vee's Marker 17 Marine enjoyed the lead in their Outerlimits, followed by Boatfloater and Fastboys. However, after the restart, the rain started coming down in sheets, visibility became poor and after two laps, another red flag came out on the course. When the rain briefly subsided, a second restart commenced, and Sun Print emerged victorious, followed by Boatfloater and LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness/Rev-X Oil.
Meanwhile, in Bracket Class 500, TFR/XINSURANCE (with J.J. Turk and Micheal Stancombe) was the winner, followed by Bulletproof (with Elijah Kingery and Craig Belfatto) and Hammerhead/Fly SRQ (with Dennis Austin and Don Jackson) in second and third places, respectively.
Next up, six 450 Factory Stock competitors (including three MTI and three Doug Wright hulls), along with a pair Vee Extreme competitors, took to the water for what turned out to be the final race on Sunday.
The Vee Extremes are two 42' Fountain vee-bottoms: Harpoon Harry's (formerly WIX, with Scott Brown and Eddie Tamberino) and Team Farnsworth Motorsports / Hancock Claims Consultants (with Christian McCauley and Jay Healy in the former Taboo competitor). Logan Adan and Ricky Maldonado in #96 Doug Wright Powerboats took the early lead in 450 Factory Stock, with T/S Motorsports (with Taylor Scism and Johnny Tomlinson) and 151 Express Offshore (with Ian Morgan and Nick Imprescia) following. (Gladiator Canados went out early.)
#96 Doug Wright was in the lead when yet another red flag appeared. #39 Hank's Saloon Racing (with Lee Murray and Edwin Scheer) flipped and landed upside down. That effectively ended not only the Vee Extreme / 450 Factory Stock battle, but ended all racing for the remainder of the day.
But the drama wasn't over yet. According to RWO Race Director Larry Bleil, the #96 Doug Wright team was disqualified after refusing to hand over their electronic control unit (ECU) following the race, moving Scism and Tomlinson to the first-place position in T/S Motorsports.
"When they did their pre-inspection, their ECUs were all fine," Bleil told Speedboat. "Everything was good when they started the week. But after the race, we put it on the computers and they weren't correct. When we attempted to collect one of the ECUs, they wouldn't let us have it. All of the other boats checked out OK—everything was right."
In addition, Bleil said, the Doug Wright team went from holding its lane on the first turn to cutting the whole class off. "That alone wouldn't have disqualified them—they would normally get a yellow card or something like that," he said. "But you can't refuse to hand in your ECU."
Bleil said that the nine Super Cat competitors that were supposed to race Marathon on Sunday would be receiving partial APBA points based on qualifying, as well as a purse for first, second and third. M CON (with Myrick Coil and Tyler Miller) was awarded first place, while KLOVAR and WHM were second and third. Eleven Super Stock teams had planned to race at Marathon.
On Saturday, the first official day of racing, Bracket Classes 200, 300, 400, 600 and 700 completed their competition. Bracket 200 Class was won by Predator (with Dean Stahlman and Nate Hunt), followed by GNS Motorsports, OC Offshore Racing and Cigarette Justice League. These competitors previously raced in an 85-mph bracket, but are now bracketed to 90 mph—meaning all of them had to purchase new props.
In 300 Class, Team Woody Racing (with Billy Shipley and Chad Woody) was victorious, while 400 Class was won by Control Freak / MSR Powersports (with Mark Robbins and Damon Marotta). Jimmy Jensen and Chase Gerard were victorious in Class 600's Gerard Marine, while Brian Guy and Julian Maldonado won in Class 700's Jackhammer. A total of five of the seven Class 700 competitors were revealed to have broken out of their speed range, including third-place finisher Dees Nuts.