After winning the SBI National and World Championships in the Superboat class, WHM Motorsports is the team to beat in 2016.
Photos by Pete Boden, Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Fans of Super Boat International Offshore Racing Will See and Miss Some Familiar Names To Start The 2016 Season.
At the start of the 2016 Superboat International offshore racing sea-son in Cocoa Beach Fla., on May 13th, the pits at the 7th Annual Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix will no doubt be buzzing when people see that one of the dominant teams from 2015 and one of the sport’s most popular owners are missing. Bob Bull’s reigning world and national championship team in Superboat Unlimited, CMS, is going to run a limited schedule this year and we won’t see both orange and black MTI catamarans again until Key West. Additionally, the sport mourned the loss of Robert, J.R. Noble, who owned and drove the Stihl boat in Superboat. He passed away unexpectedly in March.
When fans see John Tomlinson, who throttled one of the CMS boats last year, wearing the colors of a new team, all eyes will focus on the Superboat class, which should have the most competitive fleet in 2016. Tomlinson, who is recognized as the best throttleman in the sport, has agreed to join driver Myrick Coil in the cockpit of the Skater 388, Performance Boat Center, which is powered by twin Sterling Performance engines, in the Superboat class. The boat made its debut at the world championships in Key West, Fla., last November with Coil throttling and Lance Sutton driving and had a solid showing, finishing all three races. Coil has been working diligently on the 38’ catamaran over the winter including some cold weather runs on his home waters at Lake of the Ozarks and the boat is running faster than it was last fall. Adding Tomlinson to the team should make it an instant contender. Tomlinson will also throttle the Team Abu Dhabi MTI entry in Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 with driver Gary Ballough and said that will take priority over the SBI schedule.
Speaking of the schedule, after Cocoa Beach, the teams will head to Marathon, Fla., on June 24th. The teams will have the month of July off before heading to Michigan City, Ind., the first weekend of August. They will stay in the Midwest at a new venue, Mentor, Ohio, on August 29. The second weekend of September, the SBI fleet returns to New York with a race in Port Jefferson on Long Island before the 2016 season finale at the 8th Annual Clearwater Super Boat Grand Prix. The 36th annual Key West World Championships will take place the week of November 6th. Get the details at www.superboat.com.
With a strong fleet of quality boats all basically running the same power, the Superboat class will be entertaining in 2016. Owner/driver Billy Mauff and throttle-man Jay Muller will be back to defend their world and national championships in the 38’ Skater, WHM Motorsports. Mauff, who is from East Setauket, N.Y., will be instrumental in the is also putting on the Port Jefferson race. Muller is promoting an Offshore Powerboat Association race at his home in Lake Hopatcong, N.J., later in September starting on the 23rd.
Once they are strapped into the cockpit, Mauff and Muller won’t be thinking about race promotion. In addition to Performance Boat Center, they will be fending off challenges from some formidable teams. Last year the addition of throttleman Keith Holmes made the Skater 388, Cleveland Construction, a contender. He and driver Ed Smith ran well, finishing at the Clearwater national championships with a win. At the celebration of J.R. Noble’s life, his father Bob Sr., announced that J.R’s son Jake Noble will take his dad’s place in the new Skater 388, Stihl, with throttleman Grant Bruggemann. The veteran duo of Bob Teague and Paul Whittier will be back in Teague’s Skater 368 that had been sponsored by AMSOIL. The lubricant company will be a secondary sponsor in 2016 and Teague said he is hoping to announce a new primary backer before the start of the season.
With a strong fleet of quality boats basically running the same power, the Superboat class will be entertaining in 2016.
From the MTI side for Superboat in 2016, Randy Sweers’ 41-footer sponsored by Sailor Jerry Rum and Autonation and powered by Ilmor Marine engines will run the full season. Sweers will have veteran driver Todd Beckman in the cockpit with him for 2016. There are rumors that Mike DeFrees will have his Team CRC boat freshened up for the class and that the former Spirit of Qatar #20 boat will be campaigned by an overseas team.
While Superboat Unlimited will be miss-ing the CMS team on a regular basis, the lime green Miss GEICO will be back and better than ever, according to driver Marc Granet. The team had some engine issues last year, but Granet, throttleman Scott Begovich and crew have addressed those problems and say they will run the full SBI season in 2016. The 44’ MTI, Speed Racer, will have a new team in the cockpit and a new sponsor, Wake Effects, an MTI dealer in Osage Beach, Mo. Wake Effects owner Rusty Rahm will drive the boat with owner Randy Kent on throttles. After run-ning it for the for first time in Key West in November, DeFrees will campaign his 48’ MTI, Team CRC, in Superboat Unlimited this year. Jimmy Cazzani will be back in his 42’ Platinum, Alex and Ani, which is running turbocharged Stotler Racing engines, on a limited schedule in 2016. The bright green 50’ Mystic, Envy, has the same power, but the team’s plans for the season aren’t known. The lone V-bottom in Superboat Unlimited, the 48’ Silverhook, Lucas Oil/Silverhook, will be back with owner throttleman Nigel Hook and driver Jay Johnson for the full schedule.
Looking at the Superboat Extreme class, the loud and proud V-bottoms are crowd favorites. Owner/throttleman Peter Meyer and driver John Stanch will be back in their 40’ Fountain, Hooters/Instigator, which won the national and world championships in 2015. Their primary competition is the ultra fast 37’ Fountain, Twisted Metal Motorsports, which is campaigned by owner Billy Glueck and Brett Lee Furshman and was sponsored by auto parts company Cooper Standard at last November’s world championships. We should see the 42’ Fountain, Freedom, make a few appearances in 2016 with one of the sport’s few female drivers Jackie Piper. The factory-backed Outerlimits boat could also show up at a couple stops on the schedule in 2016.
The second weekend of September, the SBI fleet returns to New York with a race in Port Jefferson on Long Island.
Rules changes for the engines used in the class have resulted in at least one Superboat Stock team deciding to sit out the 2016 season. Any new boat built for the class will have to run twin Mercury Racing 300 XS outboards, but teams that still have the 280-hp engines can still run them in 2016. Fans won’t be seeing the popular 32’ Doug Wright, The Hulk, this year because of the state of flux surrounding the engines. Defending national champions Papa’s Pilar Rum, another 32’ Doug Wright, will be in Cocoa Beach, but probably won’t run a full schedule. The defending world champions Kyler Talbot and Muller will be back in the 32’ Doug Wright, Talbot Excavating. The only team to run 200-hp outboards last sea-son, Gary Ballough and Jimmie Harrison, are re-rigging Ballough’s 32’ Doug Wright, FJ Propellers, with twin 300 XS outboards and will run the full season. Ryan Beckley has his 30’ Skater for sale, but will be back with twin 280-hp motors this season. Chris Schoenbohm solid his modified 32’ Doug Wright, Smart Marine, but his company is putting the finishing touches on the racing version of its 32’ Phoenix Cat and he hopes to have one or two competing by the end of the season.
Superboat Vee also features some close competition and that should con-tinue in 2016 with a fleet of Phantoms and Extremes powered by single 525-hp engines. The father-son team of Steve and Stephen Kildahl will be back in their 30’ Extreme, BoatFloater.com2. They will be chasing current world and national champion Steve Miklos and his high-tech 30’ Extreme, Team Sunprint. Mark Niemann and Tom Maddalena always run strong in their 30’ Phantom, Phantom 9, and Brit Lilly will run a mix of SBI and OPA races in his 30’ Phantom, LSB Racing.
For a detailed look at the Production 3 and Production 4 classes, go to www.superboat.com.