Wednesday November 8, 1995

Key West 1995 Super Boat World Championship

Tragedy Strikes Key West

Katana at 1994 Key West Race
Photo Courtesy Andy Newman
Key West - Today was a day punctuated by tragedy. Horrified spectators witnessed a frightening collision near the row of hospitality tents at the Truman Annex, which is located at turn three, during the 1PM Superboat, Open Class, Modified, Pro I and D Class Race. The collision involved Open Class Zero Defect HZ-0 and Pro I Black Shadow P-20. Black Shadow's driver, Frank Finkl of Chicago, Il was critically injured, while throttleman Jerry Stark of Delray Beach, Florida escaped without injury. The crew of Zero Defect was uninjured.

In another dramatic and tragic crash during the 11 AM race, Pepe Fereira the owner and throttleman of Sportsman's Class Mr. K Frank's Marine B-79, was killed as the boat went airborne, tripped and stuffed. Reports indicated that all three racers were thrown from the boat, which disintegrated on impact. Following the rescue of the other crew members, navigator Carlos Gonzales was airlifted to Cedars Medical Center, while driver Rolando Garcia was moved to the Lower Florida Keys Hospital, where he is listed in serious condition.

The bright red Katana 46 foot Skater pictured on this this page, which is owned by Ubaldo Rivera of Puerto Rico, sank during the race, after spinning out and rolling. Fortunately there were no injuries in this accident. In another race camp, serious sponson damage was found on the 43 foot Cougar Brooks Athletic Shoes after the main event.

A heated battle of Superboats was waged between Matt Alcone's Alcone Motorsports and Jim Robinson's Nuff Respect for the first three laps until a tie bar mounting failure took Nuff Respect out of contention. Daniel Scioli and Fabio Buzzi in the La Grand Argentina won Superboat, and in a beautiful performance Stuart Hayim in Recovery won the Open Class and was first overall, even after experiencing slight mechanical problems.

Looking back over the day's events, many observers attributed the wind changes created by a fast moving cold front for unstable sea conditions that led to a grim day for Offshore Powerboat Racing. A compliment must be paid to the medical and safety personel, who attended to the accidents in a speedy and efficient manner, and were an inspiration to the sport through their professionalism and commitment to safety.

Carl Hunt Hays III - Offshore Powerboat Racing Correspondent

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