Powerboat P1 is the fastest growing marine motorsport series in the world and has a long term commitment to growing and developing the sport of power boating at all levels. The Powerboat P1 team works closely with the sports governing bodies, the UIM, APBA and the IJSBA. P1 has delivered more than 85 world championship events in over twelve different countries for more than a decade.
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Saturday’s race day at Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach was a little overcast but warm (83°F/28°C) with a 9mph/14kph wind and a flat sea. Being the last race of the APBA Offshore 2021 season, most classes had battles still to be won and many were fought right down to the end of the last lap.
The entries had been coming in thick and fast in the days leading up to the event, with 42 boats entering on the P1 Offshore website and a further 23 at the event itself. There were 5 no-shows leaving a very respectable 60 entrants - all keen to fight for every remaining point in the season. Notably, the Super Stock class had the biggest entry list with thirteen cats entered. Stock V had 9 entrants making it the largest turnout for 2021.
The 2021 season has certainly had its ups and downs, most notably the travel and supply-chain difficulties imposed in a world still reeling from the pandemic. Some spectacular crashes have challenged teams to turn around repairs in record time and Fort Myers was going to be no exception.
The 9 Stock V boats were the first to start with the green flag going up just as the boats passed the pier. By the end of the first straight, two boats were leading - #3 Wazzup and #26 You Gun Learn - and this battle was going to continue for most of the next 10 laps and 50 miles. With #13 Nobody’s Business butting in from time to time the lead changed several times throughout the race and right up to the finish line could have been anybody’s race. In the end, the title went to You Gun Learn, driven by Dante Napoli and with Mikey Bocchino on the throttles, beating Wazzup driven by Ed “Smitty” Smith with throttleman Anthony Smith into second place. #13 Nobody’s Business came in third.
The Bracket 600 Class fielded 6 boats for the seven laps of the 5 mile/8km course. All the bracket class boats have a maximum speed they are not allowed to exceed, for the 600 class boats this is 70 mph / 112 kph. Bright green #621 Money Monster, surged ahead at the start only to have the two class-leading boats, #601 Rum Runners and #651 Deception, overhaul them in the first lap. The three boats powered through the 35-mile race with Rum Runners Mike McColgan and Fran Vellutatu taking the win from Deception’s Jesse Schmig and Robert Bryant. Money Monster came in third.
Race 2 was probably the most eagerly anticipated race of the day with an awesome 13 entries due to the late entry of two boats that haven’t been seen this season: S-28 Phase 05 and S-12 Deep V Cats. The start was quite a sight and a real squeeze as 13 boats powered down the straight past the pier and the narrowest part of the course. S-54 CMR was leading from before the first turn and continued to do so for the whole race. Team Allen Lawncare, one of the faster boats this season, close behind. By the end of the first lap S-21 Performance Boat Center had taken second place. S-8 CR Racing pulled up in the first lap after losing an engine but carried on to score points.
The racing order hardly changed until the 7th lap when S-27 LPC flipped and the red flag brought racing to a halt. Fast Response were on the spot very quickly, and fortunately Loren Peters and Vinnie Diorio were safe and unhurt. With the race order as CMR, Performance Boat Center, Team Allen Lawncare, Jackhammer the race was restarted with the weather worsening and rain clearing spectators from the beach. CMR still hit the first turn in the lead with Jackhammer close behind. By the third turn Performance Boat Center had regained second place.
With all the teams pushing their boats to the limits, Performance Boat Center started to gain on CMR and S-29 Paint Factory hooked and flipped over. Racing immediately came to a complete stop and again, safety crews were on the scene almost immediately. Driver Tanner Lewis and Throttleman Bret Caswell were safe and unhurt. The second red flag of the race brought racing to an end just before lightning flashed over the course. After this thrilling and challenging race, the final positions were CMR in first place, Performance Boat Centre in second and Jackhammer in third.
The clouds had cleared and the sun had come out for the start of Race 3. The fleet of seven Mod V competitors raced alone as the Brackets were moved back to Race 4. #51 Sunprint and #22 Punisher battled out for first and second in the first two laps with #727 Visit St Pete Clearwater / 151 Express in third place when #17 Marker Marine suddenly hit a hole and span through 90 degrees.
The race continued with Punisher in first and Visit St Pete biting at their heels for the next four laps when Marker Marine suddenly spun out again and come to a complete halt. Punisher was a rooster tail in front until the last lap when Visit St Pete Clearwater edged ahead. Both boats raced deck to deck for the next lap with #2 Boatfloater.com coming up in third. In the penultimate lap, Visit St Pete Clearwater managed to pull ahead and create a lead when Punisher pulled off into the middle of the course and slowed to a stop. It was only later that the news emerged that Charlie McCarthy, Punisher’s Driver had sadly suffered a heart attack at the wheel. He was admitted to hospital and is now stable.
Meanwhile, youngsters Ian Morgan and Nick Imprescia cruised through the remaining one and half laps to take the title. They were followed in by Boatfloater and Sunprint.
Bracket Class 400 (6 boats) and a single 300 Class boat took off first, followed a short time later by the six 500 class boats. #444 Predator, #421 Old School and #467 GNS have been the most successful boats in this class all season. Old School lead from the off, but after a couple of laps Predator suddenly slowed to a stop. Whatever the cause, they were back in the running not long after. The race finished with Old School in front, followed by GNS and then Predator in third.
The Bracket Class 500 race turned into a duel between #509 Shoreline Plumbing and #527 Team Woody who had been fighting for top slot all season. In the end Shoreline took it, with Team Woody in second and #517 Bulletproof in third.
Class 1 #88 SV Offshore, the Super Cat boats and single VX boat #20 Knucklehead Racing set off in a drag race to the first turn between #06 M-CON and Knucklehead Racing. At the turn it proved to be the M-CON cat which won the side-bet slightly ahead of the vee bottom Knucklehead. It was an exciting twist to the start of the last race.
The Super Cat boats had agreed to allow #88 SV Offshore / Sweetwater to race as a Super Cat boat rather than Class 1. M-CON lead from the off with #4 Chariots of Fire in second place and #88 SV Offshore / Sweetwater in third with the Canadian boat Graydel bringing up the rear. In this order, they crossed the finish line.
In the 200 Class, #227 Team Woody and #211 Bat Boat went head-to-head. Although Bat Boat crossed the line first, they had to return to Gotham City without the winner’s trophy as they were penalised for missing a mark and the title went to Team Woody.