Well said Aldous. Thatís what we are here for. Speed, over water: The faster the better.
This morning, as I sat slowly puffing on a delightful El Rey del Mundo Double Corona while gazing out of my rain streaked hotel window at Longboat Key, I wondered what speed records would fall today. Thunderboats have filled the dry pits at the Hyatt Hotel, and today is the Kilo Run: One kilometer, with two runs against the clock within a 20 minute period in two directions to prevent any advantage from tide, wind, and weather. The two runs are then averaged to determine speed.
Scheduled to start at 8a.m., the Kilos were delayed by series of rain storms that hit early in the morning. Finally though, at a bit after 11a.m., the runs were a go. It was now a race against time and each other to see what could be done.
High hopes were on the beautiful JAWS boat to surpass its own 158.5mph Superboat world record set here last year and break the 160mph barrier. Unfortunately it was not to be. Although the team had spent the previous day inspecting all of the parts, and making last minute adjustments it just wasn't enough. Leaving the pit with a series of backfires and stalls the boat made a quick pass to the outside of the course to warmup the engines and get ready for the official run. Coming back again for the start of their run they passed the starting gates of the measured course and flew down the course, at which point the starboard side blower decided to call it quits for the day as it was literally blown off of the motor. Obviously not happy about the outcome of their run, the team came back to the pits to fix the damage, but unfortunately there was not enough time to make the repairs and return to the course. Good news for the team however is that at last sighting the crew had the repairs well under control and will be in top form for the Sunday race.
The fastest boat of the day, and record setter for the new AX class was the rigid inflatable Baby from Shebaygan,WI with Mark Nemschoff and a man who is no stranger to speed, Reggie Fountain. The fastest run for Baby's day produced an average speed of 99.178mph which sets the standard for speed in this new class. Rain X Express, which is the only other entry in the AX class, came away with an average speed of 92.264mph.
In Offshore A Team Thoroughbred edged out Ale House by a mere .158 mile per hour, but it was still not enough for a new record. This will be a pair to watch tomorrow.
At other parts of the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix the real story has been the community support for this race. Like no other race that I have experienced, it is phenomenal to see an estimated 100,000 people parking a mile away to attend a boat viewing session for a close-up view of the equipment and a chance to meet some of the people behind the scenes. The media is also behind the race, with one of the local radio stations providing live race coverage, while one of the local TV stations is broadcasting a 15 minute special section before each of their newscasts to keep everyone in touch with the days goings ons at the race site.
Stay tuned for the latest news from Sarasota, as we are all here to bring you the very latest news from Suncoast Offshore 1996.
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