St. Pete Grand Prix At 52 Teams Despite Class 1, Super Cat And Super Stock Scratches And Slim Bracket Turnout

St. Pete Grand Prix At 52 Teams Despite Class 1, Super Cat And Super Stock Scratches And Slim Bracket Turnout

Offshore racing fans hoping to catch the debut of the new Class 1 Team Defalco outfit and the return of Dramatized Offshore Racing to the Super Cat ranks in this weekend’s St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Southwest Florida will have to wait a bit longer. Those teams, plus two in the Super Stock class, have scratched from the event, which at race No. 4 is the midway point for the Class 1 World Championship Series and the sixth of eight stops in the American Power Boat Association Offshore National Championship Series.

With driver Simon Prevost and throttleman Vinnie Diorio sharing the cockpit as they have all season, SV Racing will be among the seven teams in the Super Cat mix this Sunday. Photos from the 2022 Great Lakes Grand Prix by Jeff Helmkamp copyright Helmkamp Photos.

But despite those departures and a relatively thin Bracket class turnout account of 19 boats spread across five categories, 52 teams are registered for the P1 Offshore-produced event.

Announced in April, Team Defalco, which will run a 48-foot Outerlimits catamaran, was expected to join the Class 1 series by mid-season. The lack of qualified labor is the root of the delay.

“It’s just really hard to find people who can do the work on these boats,” explained Steve Curtis, who represents the Class 1 group and throttles for the series-points-leading Huski Chocolate team. “And when you do find them, they’re frightfully expensive.”

Huski Chocolate currently holds first place in the Class 1 series, followed by 222 Offshore Australia and JBS Racing.

Curtis said he expects Team Defalco to join the fleet at the Race World Offshore-produced Clearwater, Fla., later this month.

On the plus side, with five teams registered for Sunday’s race, Class 1 will have its largest fleet since the six-boat Cocoa Beach, Fla., season-opener.

As for the South Florida-based Dramatized Offshore Racing team, which debuted at the APBA series season- opener in Cocoa Beach, Fla., but has not appeared in a series race since, lost sponsorship forced a change in plans.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Will Rodgers. “Who knows right now? But the boat is 150-percent ready. So were are going testing off Ponce Inlet instead. We will get over it. I’m just bummed because I had my whole family coming to St. Pete.”

Despite Dramatized Offshore Racing’s exit, seven teams are registered for St. Pete. That matches the season-high mark the Super Cat class established four months ago in Cocoa Beach.

Also on the plus side, the new-for-2022 Super Cat-class Justice League team returns to competition this weekend. Team owner/driver Don Urfer and throttleman Richard Davis debuted their Skater 388 raceboat at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in early July, but the cat has not been on racecourse since.

For the St. Pete race, longtime offshore racer Cory Shantry will replace Urfer in the cockpit of the 38-footer, which is powered by Sterling Performance engines. The event will be Shantry’s first offshore race in a catamaran.

But the largest fleet of the weekend belongs to the Super Stock class, which has 10 boats registered.

Throttled by Gary Ballough who also is handling the sticks for the new 450R Factory Stock GC Racing team, driver Cole Leibel’s Big East Construction Victory catamaran will be part of the 10-boat Super Stock fleet.

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