KEY WEST, Fla. -- In the wake of two accidents that left an offshore powerboat racer dead and two others in critical condition Wednesday, racing is slated to resume today with the final heat of the two-event Key West World Championship.
Despite the tragedies, race director John Carbonell has no plans to significantly alter the 10.1-mile course through Key West harbor and on surrounding waters. Citing the need for more time for a planned live television broadcast to Argentina and Uruguay, he has trimmed the number of laps that each boat, in nine classes, will need to complete.
At Sunday morning's scheduled drivers' meeting, Carbonell is to ask racers, competing in more than 100 boats, for a moment of silence for Jose "Pepe" Fereria, the Miami man who died Wednesday after his boat slammed into a wave and broke apart. He'll also ask competitors to affix a decal to their boats proclaiming "In Memory of Pepe, B-78," referring to the class and number on Fereria's 33-foot Powerplay boat.
Fereria's teammates Carlos Gonzalez of Miami and Rolando Garcia of Hialeah remain hospitalized in critical and stable condition respectively. Chicago racer James Finkl, a victim of a separate accident, is also in critical condition.
Overshadowed by the accidents were achievements turned in by several offshore teams during Wednesday's first race which accounted for 50 percent of points required for a title.
Poised for a fourth consecutive world championship is Stuart Hayim of Great Neck, N.Y., whose 46-foot Recovery not only won the Open class Wednesday, but turned in the best speed performance of the fleet. Buenos Aires driver Daniel Scioli placed first in the Superboat class with his futuristic, fin-tailed La Gran Argentina. He also took top honors during a morning race in La Baby Argentina, a smaller boat competing in Production A class.
By Andy Newman - SBR
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Last Modified on Saturday, November 11, 1995