First Concierge-Supported MTI 390X To Join 450R Factory Stock Fleet In St. Petersburg Grand Prix
Though the 450R Factory Stock-class KLOVAR Motorsports and TS Motorsports teams have gone head to head several times this season, neither has scored points in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series under the sanctioning-body’s three-boat minimum for points accrual. That will change this weekend at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix, the third P1 Offshore-produced event in the eight-race series, when owner/driver Willy Cabeza and throttleman Gary Ballough bring a new MTI 390X called GC Racing into the fray.
For the first time since the 450R Factory Stock was launched, there will be three raceboats—all MTI 390X catamarans—in the class at this weekend’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix. Photo from the 2022 Great Lakes Grand Prix by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.
Cabeza, who lives in South Florida, purchased the Mercury Racing 450R outboard engine-powered 39-footer through Miami-based TNT Custom Marine and signed up for the MTI 450R Factory Stock-class concierge service. In advance of Sunday’s contest, he practiced with Ballough in the throttleman’s 32-foot Victory catamaran on a buoy-course they laid out in Key Largo, Fla.
“We literally did hundreds of laps—you should see the breadcrumb trail on the GPS,” said Ballough. “Willy doesn’t want to show up and look foolish so he got plenty of seat time. I love that kind of driver.”
Through its concierge program, MTI will provide a complete crew for the team. “All the client has to do is show up and climb into the cockpit,” said Steven Fernandez of TNT Marine Sales.
The service not only makes things simple for Cabeza, it takes a significant load off the shoulders of Ballough.
“That means I can get out of Willy’s boat and right into Cole Leibel’s (Super Stock-class) boat,” said Ballough. “I am really looking forward to it—the whole thing sounds exciting to me.”
Ballough paused, then laughed.
“The good thing is, there are three boats in the race,” he said, and chuckled again. “So I am really looking forward to getting back on the podium.”
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