Checkmate’s 24′ Bowrider hits 90 mph

Mark and Katie DeGoursey’s new 2400 BRX at the legendary Lake X test site in Central Florida.

The 90-mph bowrider 2400 BRX may be the fastest Checkmate ever built. 

By Gregg Mansfield
Photos courtesy Checkmate Power Boats

Billy Moore has run everything from flat bottoms to offshore catamarans, but it’s a safe bet he’s never driven a 90-mph bowrider boat.

Moore was at Mercury Marine’s famed Lake X dialing in a new Checkmate Power Boat 2400 BRX with a Mercury Racing 500R outboard. Swapping propeller after propeller, Moore found the prop he was looking for and would make Checkmate history.

The bowrider had a top speed of 90 mph, making it the fastest single-outboard Checkmate ever built. It’s definitely the fastest Checkmate built since Pete Caldwell took over the company in 2020.

“The first couple passes across the lake, every time we changed a prop, it just got better and better and better,” Moore said. “We’re at a point where it’s like, ‘It is an open bow (boat) and I’m running at 90 mph across the lake.’ At what point do you go, this thing is pretty fast?”

The Checkmate 2400 BRX with a Mercury Racing 500R outboard ran 90 mph at the famed Lake X.

The new owners Mark and Katie DeGoursey of Jacksonville, Fla., watched as Moore dialed in the boat at Lake X. While Moore said he could possibly get another “3 to 5 mph” of top-end speed with a cleaver propeller on the 2400 BRX, the owners were thrilled with the performance running a 28” MAX5 propeller from Mercury Racing.

The setup not only delivered a big top-end number, the 500-hp outboard got the 2400 BRX on plane quickly and with little effort the V-bottom ran comfortably past 80 mph.  “It was on rails,” Moore said. “Literally at 85 mph, I was driving one handed.”

Checkmate updated the running surface on the 2400 BRX with the help of industry legend Reggie Fountain. To accommodate a 500-hp outboard, Checkmate made some further adjustments. The older Checkmate hulls were designed for two-stroke outboards and not for today’s heavier four-stroke outboards.

“We made the pad about 4-1/2 to 5 inches wider than what it used to be so there’s more stability than there used to be in previous years,” Caldwell said. “We just knew from experience that we needed a wider pad.”

Billy Moore puts the bowrider through its paces while testing props at Lake X.

Checkmate models are being built at Caldwell Marine Designs in Washington, N.C., a company that Caldwell founded to contract-build for other boat manufacturers. In modernizing the 2400 BRX, Caldwell used Coosa board for the transom, high-density foam cores, better glass and resin to build the new-generation models.

Caldwell’s goal is to deliver a true powerboat at a reasonable price, and the 2400 BRX checks those boxes. The 24-foot bowrider with a Mercury Racing 500R outboard retails for $160,000, and anyone who has shopped lately for a new performance boat knows that’s a great deal. A Pulsare 2400 BRX with a 300-hp outboard retails for $135,000.

Checkmate has been busy building a 21-foot boat to race in Class 7 or Bracket Class 700 this summer. Called the 21 Gambit, the race version is named Knight’s Gambit, a reference to an opening move in chess.

The hull was pulled out of the mold in early April and it’s so light that Caldwell can lift it off the trailer. (Check it out on Checkmate’s Facebook page.)

The hull with stringers and bulkheads weighed 530 pounds and when the deck is mated, the Knight’s Gambit will be a svelte 900 pounds, Caldwell said. Fully rigged, the 21-footer should weigh under 1,400 pounds, he said.

What has Caldwell most excited is that the 21-foot, closed-bow boat should run in the mid-90s with a Mercury Racing 300R outboard. Caldwell thinks the Gambit might hit 100 mph.

“Can you imagine getting three digits with a 300R on a V-bottom,” Caldwell said.

Checkmate is building two Knight’s Gambits back-to-back. In addition to going bracket class racing, Caldwell said they are taking the 21-footer and heading West in October to run in the Parker Enduro in Parker, Ariz.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email