7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix Day 1—Marathons Man

7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix Day 1—Marathons Man

On the first day of this weekend’s season-opening Race World Offshore 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix in Marathon, Fla., Ricky Maldonado, the throttleman of the 38-foot Doug Wright, Montlick Injury Attorneys, told his sponsor, David Montlick, “I’m bringing you your first checkered flag for the office.”

Montlick smiled and replied with something along the lines of how, “That would be great, but how can you make that statement?”

In the first race of the 2024 American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series, Ricky Maldonado and his driver Logan Adan made an emphatic statement, running away from the fleet in the 450 Stock class to claim victory. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Because Maldonado painstakingly supervised the build of his team’s new 38-foot catamaran, adding stringers in the deck and sponson tips to increase strength, installing the Mercury Racing 450R outboards where they can take in more water and spin a bigger prop and adding an aft fixed wing that extends farther aft between the motors.

“I wasn’t expecting it—I knew it would happen,” said Maldonado after a statement win that saw him and Adan fishing nearly 30 seconds ahead of the second-place boat in a class designed for parity.

It would be easy to listen to such confidence and brush it off as cocky, but that’s where it’s easy to confuse the message the 48-year-old racer and boat rigger is sending. He’s confident because he knows what went into the boat.

More than 40 teams made the trip to Marathon for the 2024 7-Mile Offshore Grand Prix. The racing began on Saturday with the teams in Bracket 400, 500 and 700 followed by the boats in the Stock 450 class. The teams faced steady 20-mph winds out of the east on the 5-mile course in the Atlantic Ocean on the five mile course. Race World Offshore made a noteworthy change for the 2024 event, having the boats run clockwise instead of the counter-clockwise they ran least year. This gives the driver, who sits on the right side of most boats, a better vantage point of the course and other boats, especially at the start.

The six 450R Factory boats entered at the 2024 event ran in the second race on Saturday in Marathon and were testing a new start format. The current rules have the boats enter turn one and hold their lane until the maneuver is completed before they can make a move to take a position. For the Stock 450 race, American Power Boat Association officials worked with the teams and established a rule that let a boat that was two boat lengths ahead of its competitors make a move to claim a more advantageous position.

When the green flag flew for the 450 boats on Saturday in Marathon, the 39-foot MTI cat, Mead Family Racing, with driver Caleb Mead of Lubbock, Texas, and throttleman Shaun Torrente, took the lead.

They were followed by Maldonado and driver Logan Adan in Montlick Injury Attorneys in second and driver Taylor Scism and throttleman John Tomlinson in the 39-foot MTI, TS Motorsports in third. Owner/throttleman Michel Karsenti and driver Ervin Grant in the 38-foot Doug Wright, Gladiator Canados, ran fourth followed by owner/driver Willie Cabeza and throttleman Grant Bruggemann in the 39-foot MTI, GC Racing, and owner/throttleman Edwin Scheer and driver Nelson Sawyer in the 38-foot Doug Wright, Hank’s Saloon.

Attrition reared its ugly head early when TS Motorsports lost power to its port motor while running in second place on lap three. Montlick Injury Attorneys moved to a lead that would never be challenged and grew as the race wore on. Gladiator Canados fell out on lap six when its port motor got stuck trimming all the way up. Montlick Injury Attorneys ran away with the win, followed by GC Racing who passed MF Racing, when the latter had guardian issues. GC Racing held on for second while MF Racing finished third.

Defending 450R Factory Stock-class national champion TS Motorsports exited early with an engine issue.

After the race, Maldonado remained adamant that he didn’t just “expect” to win, he “knew” his team would run away with the victory because of the amount of time he personal invested in the boat.

The 48-year-old has a history in the sport that most people don’t know about. He recalls watching his father race a 28-foot Pantera against a 36-foot Cigarette in an offshore race in 1981 in Puerto Rico. Ricky, then 6 years old, was watching from his uncle’s boat that was marking a turn in the race. “At that race, offshore racing was in my blood,” said Maldonado.

On October 12, 1994, Ricky made his offshore racing debut and hasn’t looked back. Of the victory in the boat that was built to his demanding specifications on April 27, he said, “This is full-blown redemption.”

That’s because since Maldonado and driver Logan Adan started racing in the Stock 450 class in 2023, they’ve built a reputation for being aggressive, sometimes more than offshore racing traditionalists have been comfortable with.









Enjoy more images from the first day of action at the 2024 Race World Offshore 7 Mile Grand Prix.

“I am aggressive, but I haven’t hit anyone,” says Maldonado.

Added 19-year-old Adan, “A big part of it is that many other competitors won’t drive as hard as we do.”

After MF Racing got out to an early lead, by the end of lap one and the start of the second tour of the 5-mile course, Montlick Injury Attorneys saw an opening at the start of lap two. “There was a big opening,” said Maldonado. He and Adan moved into position to take a lead they would never relinquish. After the spray cleared and the 11 laps were complete, Montlick Injury Attorneys delivered on Maldonado’s prediction to the sponsor, claiming the checkered flag, followed by GC Racing, who passed MF Racing when the latter had issues one of its outboards losing power in what’s known as “guardian” mode late in the race.

“This was our first race and it was tricky because of the wind,” said Cabeza after finishing second. “Randy told us ‘Run your race, it’s going to be an attrition day.’”

For 17-year-old Mead, it was yet another podium finish in a promising start to his offshore racing career that started in 2023. He’s been on the podium in all but one start with throttleman Torrente guiding him along the way.

“It felt really great and turns better than I expected,” said Mead.

Setting the Stage
In the first race of the day, the 10 boats in Bracket 400, 500 and 700 classes began the 2024 season on the 5-mile course. In Bracket 400, the 29-foot Extreme that ran previously as LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness and Twisted Vee started its first race as Framed Offshore Racing with owner Mike Flammia of Key West, Fla, throttling and John Jeniec, jr., driving. They were up against owner/driver Jim Simmons and driver Kevin Campbell in the 34-foot Phantom, Simmons Racing.

There were five boats registered in Bracket 500, but Tunnel Vision had to pull out after scratching with engine issues.

Flying the colors of the famous/infamous Hog’s Breath Saloon and LSB Racing, Flammia and Jeniec pulled out to an early lead in their 29-foot Extreme and ran to an impressive win they would never relinquish. They dedicated the win and the 2024 season to offshore racing legend Art Lilly, Brit’s dad who passed earlier this year.

A well-traveled former Mod V-class raceboat, Hog’s Breath Saloon took first place in the Bracket 700-class contest.

“Brit was worried about never seeing the boat again,” said Jeniec. “But we’re part of the LSB family and we’re dedicating the 2024 season to Art.”

In Bracket 500, the concept of restraint by throttleman came into play. The 28-foot Manta powered by twin 250-hp Mercury outboards, Sweat Equity Motorsports, driven by owner Greg DiRenzo and throttled by Ryan Beckley “appeared” to be well off the pace. But because it never “broke out” of the class’ 75-mph top speed, the duo took the win.

Second went to owner/throttleman JD Irvines and driver Steve Adams in the 30-foot Spirit, Yabba Dabba Do, while driver J.J. Turk and throttleman Nick Buis took third in TFR/XInsurance/Golf-N-Gator. The third and second-place boats appeared to win on the livestream, but that’s the nature of bracket-class racing. Boats that exceed the 75-mph speed limit are assessed penalties accordingly.

“It goes against all you grew up doing,” said Nick Buis, who throttled TFR/Xinsurance/Golf-N-Gator for the first time a bracket race.

In Bracket 700 action, Nick’s son Owen continued to show restraint beyond his 15-years on this earth, throttling the 22-foot Activator, XInsurance/Statement Marine, to victory with new driver Ricky Harmeyer. Last year, Owen raced with his dad.

“You just want to go and get in front,” said Harmeyer. “Owen is incredibly calm in the boat.”

The Bracket 700-class Victory of the season went to Owen Buis and Ricky Harmeyer

Unofficially, second went driver Greg Blutter and throttleman Craig Chittendon in the 21-foot Superboat, Proven Marine, followed by driver Connor Langheim and throttleman Mike Haak in the 21-foot Superboat, Jackhammer.

While the 22-foot Velocity, Statement Marine Bad Decisions, appeared to win, it broke out, handing the win to its stablemate, XInsurance Statement Marine.

Looking ahead, Ricky Maldonado can’t wait for the next race. “Last year, we were a new team, we weren’t sure about anything,” he said. “With this new boat, we have incredible potential.”

Regarding his and Adan’s aggressive approach and his relationship with the other teams in 450R Factory Stock, Maldonado added, “I have no problem with anyone out there. I consider them friends and competitors.”

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Source: https://www.speedonthewater.com/7-mile-offshore-grand-prix-day-1-marathon-man/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-mile-offshore-grand-prix-day-1-marathon-man


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