Family Reunion—And Fierce Competition—On Tap In Cocoa Beach

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Racing: Family Reunion—And Fierce Competition—On Tap In Cocoa Beach

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With last night’s street parade and celebration in downtown Cocoa Beach, Fla., in the books, it’s testing day for the 56 teams in town for tomorrow’s main event, the first race of the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series. Teams will make setup decisions based on today’s test session for tomorrow’s sea conditions, which are predicted to be uncommonly light for the traditionally rough venue.

Brothers from two hemispheres, M CON’s Tyler Miler (let) of Missouri and Pro Floors Racing’s Wayne Valder haven’t seen each other since the 2019 season. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

 The general mood among the competitors is a mix of joy at their offshore racing family reunion and light anxiety in advance of the first race since late 2021.

“I’m just looking for redemption,” joked Vinnie Diorio, the throttleman of the Super Cat-class SV Offshore team, which rolled in Cocoa Beach last year.

Myrick Coil, the driver of the Missouri-based 2021 Super Stock Class World Champion Performance Boat Center team, begins today with nerves of his own as the team swapped out its two-stroke Mercury Racing 300XS outboard engines for the Fond du Lac, Wis., company’s four-stroke 300R offerings.

Myrick and Missi Coil are delighted to be back in Cocoa Beach.

“I’m stoked that the waves are not huge, but I’m a little nervous about how the Super Stock cats are going to performance with new engines and more weight,” he said.

Like Coil, Taylor Scism of the Iteam is from Missouri and calls the Lake of the Ozarks her home-water. Also like Coils, she’s relieved the conditions are predicted to be a lot calmer than they were last year in Cocoa Beach. Scism made her racing debut at the venue in 2021 with Shaun Torrente, who stood in for team throttleman John Tomlinson.

Tomlinson is back in the cockpit for the season-opener and the team has a new 39-foot MTI raceboat—and will be competing against the former TS Motorsports raceboat.

“It looks like it’ll be laying down a lot more than last year,” she said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there with Johnny.”

In addition to reacquainting themselves with their extended family, team members said a proper goodbye to a departed extended family member yesterday before the street parade. Gary Goodell, a driving force behind the former Miss GEICO team, died in February.

 His former teammates organized a late-afternoon celebration of life event in his honor.

“Jim Black did an awesome job as always and my wife, Lou, did a whole collage of images,” said Gary Stray, the former crew chief of the Miss GEICO team. “Gary’s wife, Karen, came and all the guys from Miss GEICO including (original cockpit-mates) Marc Granet and Scotty Begovich were there. It was a really nice event.”

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Enjoy more images from yesterday’s happening in Cocoa Beach in the slideshow above.

Stray is now the crew chief/manager for the Class 1 Huski team. A pair of offshore racing veterans, Steve Curtis and Brit Lilly with share the cockpit of the team’s 41-foot Victory catamaran tomorrow and square off against five Class 1 teams. And Curtis, who has been spearheading the Class 1 resurgence in concert with Cocoa Beach race-producer Powerboat P1, is enjoying the fruits of his labor.

“There is a really good vibe around Class 1,” he said. “It’s great.”

The class representative for the Super Cat category, which has seven teams registered, Tyler Miller of the M CON team summed up the general vibe for the weekend. Like his fellow racers, he hasn’t competed for six months, and that came on the heels of the pandemic-decimated 2020 season.

“It’s great to be back in Cocoa Beach,” he said. “The fans are out and in full force and rocking the town

“It’s equally as great to see the boat counts and getting the opportunity to catch up with several racers that we have not seen or raced with since 2019,” he added. “It’s great to have the band back together.”

A Class 1 veteran, Steve Curtis (left) is eager to give class newcomer Alex Pratt a tour of the Cocoa Beach racecourse.

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