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La Gran Argentina at 1994 Key West World Championship
La Gran Argentina, a diesel-powered Superboat races in the 1994 Key West World Championship opposite spectators at the Pier House Resort. Argentina is driven by Daniel Scioli of Buenos Aires and Italian throttleman Fabio Buzzi. Photo by Andy Newman

Argentinean and Italian Plan Running Two Boats for Two World Titles at Key West Offshore World Championship

KEY WEST -- Apparently competing for one world powerboat racing championship is not sufficient for Argentinean racer Daniel Scioli and his Italian throttleman Fabio Buzzi. With sights on two different class titles, the team plans to race two boats at the upcoming Nov. 5-12 Key West World Championship, a multi-sanctioned event by Super Boat Racing Inc. (SBR) and the American Power Boat Association (APBA).

According to Scioli, Buzzi fathered the concept of racing both a Class A and a Superboat in two separate contests on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and Sunday, Nov. 12. "Fabio wants to compete in Class A because it has the highest number of boats," said Scioli, who claimed SBR's 1995 Superboat national championship in La Gran Argentina at the end of September. "Class A is very restrictive (in terms of engine specifications) and has production monohulls." Buzzi has rigged a 36-foot, rigid-inflatable boat, with a lower hull built from a composite of Kevlar, balsa wood and epoxy resin. Named after its big sister, La Baby Argentina is to be powered by a single, 470-cubic-inch Innovation Marine inboard engine with a Trimax surface drive.

Each race day Scioli and Buzzi will have to run Baby at 11 a.m. and return in time to have their 50-foot, fin-tailed, diesel-powered vee-hull in Key West Harbor for a 1 p.m. start. Scioli sees the feat as a challenge and recognizes the pros and cons of driving two different boats, in back-to-back races. "I feel from a physical point it's hard," said Scioli, a Buenos Aires appliance distributor. "The positive part is that we will get experience of the water (sea conditions), which may help us in the second race. The negative part is if it is rough, we will have a short period to get back to La Gran Argentina for the second race."

With Baby's single engine, Scioli and Buzzi risk a breakdown severely impacting their plans to compete in the Superboat class. Traditionally, during each day's first race, disabled boats are not towed back to the pits until the second race has concluded. Race director and SBR president John Carbonell has reminded Scioli that the rigid-inflatable must return to the wet pits under its own power in time for the second race. Scioli is unconcerned and feels prepared for a malfunction. . "Our biggest challenge is to win the world championship in the Superboat class," Scioli said. "Baby Argentina will have a 4 hp Yamaha outboard engine to be sure if the boat breaks down we can get back in time." Even if Scioli and Buzzi are punctual there is still no guarantee of an overall Superboat sweep for La Gran Argentina.

Matt Alcone's Alcone Motorsports is to be considered a favorite, especially after he and throttleman Jerry Gilbreath produced a record-breaking 117.25 mph average speed over a calm course at September's national championship. But although both Californians were pleased with the milestone, it is not their ultimate achievement. "Our strategy this whole year has been to prepare for Key West," Alcone said. "That's the one we want this year... the world championship."

Carbonell is anticipating 10 more Superboats to be part of an expected field of 130 boats competing for a $111,000 prize purse in Superboat, Open, Modified, Pro I, Sportsman B, Offshore C, Offshore D, Stock and Production A classes.

Other Notes from Key West

In the Open class, Stuart Hayim is focused on a third consecutive world championship in Recovery, a 46-foot Skater appropriately named to honor the Great Neck, N.Y., driver's successful battle against lymphoma cancer. Throughout this decade, Hayim has been the sport's most consistent performer, racking up eight world and national titles with SBR and APBA. He wishes another world title to help compensate for not enjoying victory at last year's championship which left racers sadden by an accident involving veteran Honolulu Open class driver Tom Gentry. Almost a year later, Gentry remains comatose under medical care in his Hawaiian home, although family members are hopeful about his prognosis. Carbonell says racers will show their support by displaying Gentry's #9 insignia on their boats.

Super and Open class boats are to complete 15, 10.1-mile laps through Key West Harbor each race day, ensuring consistent action for offshore fans. Several vantage points around the island, such as Mallory Square and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, offer prime viewing areas. Some harborfront hotels stage race-day waterside dining specials, combining lunch and beverages with prime viewing venues.

Wet and dry pits are to be combined in a "race village" atmosphere at Truman Annex. A $20 pass enables weeklong admission to the pits. Daily admission is $3 during non-race days and $6 for race days. Youngsters under 12 are free all week.

The event is slated for one-hour, tape-delayed television broadcasts on ESPN and a two-hour live broadcast for television outlets in Argentina and Uruguay.

For race information, call SBR at (305) 296-8963. For accommodations and other details, contact the Key West Visitors Bureau, toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, at 1-800-LAST-KEY. Elsewhere call (305) 294-2587.

Story Courtesy Andy Newman - SBR Press Relations

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