Though the offshore powerboat racing rumor mill has been working overtime for months on Randy Keys and Bill Allen entering the Super Cat class with the former Dependable Marine Skater 388 raceboat, Keys officially announced the news last night on his Facebook page. The Iowa-based, 40-year-old HVAC and electrical contractor entered the sport last year in the 450R Factory Stock-class as a rookie to the sport in the role of owner/driver of the KLOVAR Motorsports team MTI 390X catamaran. He shared the cockpit of the 39-footer, with veteran offshore throttleman Bill Allen—who claimed the 2022 Union Internationale Motonautique Super Stock World Championship in Team Allen Lawncare and Landscaping team—with driver Cody McDowell.
But Keys entered the sport with aspirations of joining the Super Cat ranks.
Randy Keys and Bill Allen will campaign the former Dependable Marine Skater 388 raceboat in the Super Cat class this season. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
And while he knows he has a significant learning curve ahead of him and will face fierce competition on the racecourse, he’s ready for the challenge and expects to the KLOVAR Motorsports team to be competitive by the end of the regular season.
“I loved the 450R Factory Stock class and I loved my MTI raceboat,” said Keys, who also owns an MTI 390X pleasure cat and a Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console. “But I probably should have started in Super Cat. I kind of tend to ‘jump into things’ and I told Bill Allen, who is my mentor and introduced me to the sport, that I wanted to go Super Cat racing someday.”
Keys paused to chuckle.
“Now Bill is probably thinking, ‘I never should have second-guessed that dude,’” he continued. “Bill and I are extremely competitive people—we want to be on the podium at every race. But we understand that we have to earn our way in and that we won’t be there right away. I do expect us to jockey for position. I would like to have a podium finish during the season and be competitive in the world championships. I think that is possible.”
In world championship-winning Super Stock-class world champion throttleman Bill Allen of Team Allen Lawncare and Landscaping fame, Keys enters the Super Cat class with a savvy, experienced cockpit-mate.
While Allen gave his fellow Iowan his first raceboat ride in the 32-foot Doug Wright Team Allen Lawncare and Landscaping catamaran in 2021, Tyler Miller of the 2022 UIM World Champion M CON team provided Keys with his first ride in a Super Cat raceboat, as it happens another Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran last year. Miller, who throttles with Performance Boat Center’s Myrick Coil behind the wheel, runs Sterling Performance engines in his 38-footer.
Keys also plans to go with spec Super-class mills from the Milford, Mich., company, which founder Mike D’Anniballe recently reacquired.
“We welcome Randy and Bill to the Super Cat class,” said D’Anniballe. “We are looking forward to building them the power that will help them run at the front of the pack.”
So eager is Keys to get started in the Super Cat class that he actually delayed finalizing his purchase agreement for the 38-footer until after the 2022 Race World Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla. The purchase agreement between Allen and the cat’s prior owner was signed during the St. Clair River Classic powerboat race last year in early August.
“I know myself, and I knew if I had the boat in Key West I’d want to run it,” he said, then laughed.
According to MTI’s Taylor Scism, the former KLOVAR Motorsports 450R Factory Stock raceboat has a new owner who will campaign it in the 2023 season.
But beyond competing in the class, what has Keys most excited is the welcoming and supportive community of Super Cat competitors.
“Every team in the class has reached out and asked me what I need,” he said. “That’s just how they are.”
Said SV Offshore Racing team co-owner Vinnie Diorio, “Randy is young, new blood in Super Cat with a no-expense-spared operation. All his equipment is top notch. I’m excited for our class.”
Once the Skater cat returns from Shaun Torrente Racing from in Southwest Florida, which is doing rigging work and more for the team according to Keys, he and Allen will start testing and practicing on the Lake of the Ozarks in Central Missouri. The team plans to be ready for the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series season-opener, April 28-30, produced by Race World Offshore.
Keys is eager to start testing the 38-footer once it returns from Shaun Torrente Racing.
“We are installing the same AiM data collection system Shaun has in his Formula 1 raceboat,” said Keys. “We need to get the boat out there and starting getting a feel for it—Bill and I have never been in a Super Cat together before but there is no one in this sport I would rather have in the cockpit. We have a lot to learn but if we don’t win it won’t be because we’re not prepared. I can’t wait to get the boat here and start testing.”
As for the former KLOVAR Motorsports 450R Factory Stock-class MTI raceboat, it, too, will be on the racecourse. According to MTI’s Taylor Scism of the 2022 UIM 450R Factory Stock World Champion team, that the 39-footer—the original 390X driven by Scism and throttled by John Tomlinson when the class launched two years ago—has been acquired by another as-yet-undisclosed team.
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