At daylight in Key West this morning the wind rattled the coconuts across the Conch Republic and the palms bent under an ash gray sky. No one I spoke with at breakfast thought there would be races today. As I moved from the leeward to the windward side of the Key the wind gusted to 20+ knots but the seas were surprisingly calm. At the 9AM driver's meeting there was no doubt that the race would be on schedule despite the high wind and deteriorating conditions. Race fans lined the seawall four deep and media trucks assembled for satellite feeds. They came, they saw, they uplinked. The dashing cast of world class full throttle Powerboat Racers in their multi-colored jumpsuits and orange helmets strode confidently from their tents and trailers to have at it one last time in 1995.
The World Championship Offshore Powerboat Race is really not dissimilar to a high decibel technicolor rock & roll show only the stage is the Atlantic Ocean and the leading performers which are usually airborne have stepped up to the line and put a major dent in a million bucks and risk their lives to be there. From five countries they came to run and run they did...weather be damned, right on schedule. All classes have their heroes and those who aspire to the victor's circle.
I congratulate all the competitors in this high drama. Today the heroes were too numerous to list but a few deserve special recognition. I nominate Buzzi Buzzard in Sportsman's B Class for being the team with the greatest sense of panache and good humor with their winged day-glo yellow inflatable vee hull flying their tattered Union Jack to victory in Sportsman's B Class . Alcone Motorsports deserves special recognition for their remarkable season and victory this weekend in Superboat Catamaran. Well done Matt and Jerry! Those boys from Great Neck and Babylon, New York in Recovery run in the Open Class like a well oiled machine with consistency that makes Stuart Hayim and Joey Imprescia Four Time World Champions. I love the quote from Bruce Springsteen on the stern of Recovery ..."Tramps like us...baby we were born to run"..and run they do. Fans, it really is rock and roll on water. Fabio Buzzi...say it again slowly, Fab-i-o Booo-zee! the offshore racer with the coolest name and the remarkable diesel powered La Grand Argentina which screams by like a high pitched turbine spewing black wash and flashing it's orange wings...Argentina is on the map in Offshore because of Fabio Buzzi and Daniel Scioli's marvelous effort. Well done gentlemen. Congratulations to Pennzoil and Nicky Curto in the yello Pro One Class thirty foot Shadow Cat for launching so high on Wednesday and providing us with thrill after thrill on every pass.
Jim Robinson and Bobby Moore deserve special praise for their effort with the hyperboat, Nuff Respect. To see them run today and quite simply rocket past the field and stay there after a late start while keeping the whole field in their rear view mirror for 7 of the 10 laps was a big thrill for this reporter and the crowd. The big four motor Skater acquitted itself nicely by living up to it's name and proved to all on the southernmost seawall today what a mere 4000 horsepower in the right hands can do. Custom Marine can build a race boat. Never doubt that or that Jim Robinson and "T-Man" Bobby Moore can propel their latest guided missile around the course at speeds none seem able to attain.
Today's best news was the safety report. There was only one accident during the race, in which Mr. Technology flipped, but all racers came back uninjured and Dave Di Petrillo in the "Angel One" helicopter did not have to move into action. Everyone was grateful he was in the skies today. Today was a fitting finale to a great year in SBR/APBA Offshore Powerboat racing. It was a week to remember filled with gallantry and tragedy. Our prayers are with the injured racers and the family of Jose "Pepe" Fereira who was killed on Wednesday.
Carl Hunt Hays III - Offshore Powerboat Racing Correspondent
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Last Modified on Sunday, November 12, 1995