In the amateur classes competitors raced two laps after the race committee was convinced that the planned single lap race was just too short. The announcement at conclusion of the driver's meeting of the race committee's change of heart on the number of laps was met with loud cheers.
With rough going for some of the smaller boats in the amateur classes, which ranged from 22 foot single engine V-hulls to a 40 foot Skater from Texas with twin 1000 horsepower Mercruisers, the "run what you brung" class provided some great photo opportunities and fine competition from many of these first time racers.
The Suncoast Offshore APBA Offshore A and AX Class races were also held this afternoon, with each class running 4 laps. The AX class boats took off and left the rest of the field behind from the very start of the race. With the two AX entries, Rain-X and Baby, racing within 50 yards of each other for most of the first three laps, the crowd was treated to close competition over all of the 16 mile course. The two boats swapped leads several times, but by the end of the third lap, Rain-X had dropped off the pace and Baby, with Fabio Buzzi onboard, took the win. Offshore A turned out to be a test of navigational skills as the final winners came down to those who had not missed a buoy on one of turns.
Unfortunately the day was not without incident for both the teams and spectators. Amateur class racer Timothy Hofaker in his Wellcraft named Sunshine sustained back injuries and had to be airlifted from the race site. No word yet as to extent of his injuries, but more should be known shortly. In the spectator fleet one boat took on water and capsized, but all nine on board where quickly rescued. Finally there was some concern in the Rain-X camp as driver Ed Szilagyi of Virginia Beach, VA suffered from a bit of heat stroke at the end of the race.
With racing action scheduled to resume at noon on Sunday all of the teams are making their last minute preparations. Teams such as how Sweet it is, Zerodefect, Nuff Respect, Kamikaze, and others were out in the bay today testing their rigs, while trying to avoid the rain storms that have been drawn to the Sarasota area for the 4th of July weekend.
APBA Offshore A:
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