About the only natural disaster less predictable than a hurricane is an earthquake, and fortunately Florida doesn’t get a whole lot of those. But the Sunshine State is an ever-shifting ground zero for violent storms this time of year as witnessed by Hurricane Ian, which is predicted to make landfall tomorrow afternoon in the Tampa area. And Tampa is just 150 miles north of Fort Myers Beach, the site of the final event in the eight-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series on October 8.
Even if Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach falls prey to Hurricane Ian, the Jackhammer team has the APBA Super Stock National Championship Series in hand. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
That could—a key word if ever one existed—mean cancelation for Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach, an Offshore Powerboat Association-produced contest. Reached this afternoon, organizer Tim Hill expressed significant concern about the current weather situation and its potential effects on his event, though it’s still more than a week away.
“If it’s as bad as they say it’s going to be I think we are going to lose a lot of our resources,” Hill explained. “We’ve already had nine patrol boats back out because the owners moved or pulled their boats. Plus two of our pits are in low lying areas and may still be a mud pit a week from now.”
So what if the regular season ended today for the spec catamaran classes? First, it would make no difference for Class 1—save for the planned debut of Team Defalco—as Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach is not part of the eight-race series being produced by P1 Offshore. (Three races in Key West, Fla., remain in that series.)
For the Super Stock class, which opted to allow teams to compete in eight races but drop their worst showing for their best total—or simply just run seven races and take the points from each of those—the chase for National Championship is already decided and will go the Jackhammer team of owner/driver Reese Langheim and throttleman Ricky Maldonado. Running a 32-foot Victory catamaran, the dynamic cockpit duo has notched podium placement in every race.
“Jackhammer has it wrapped up,” said Ryan Beckley, the Super Stock-class representative and throttle for the CELSIUS raceboat owned by driver/owner Chris Hopgood. “But the really cool thing? There were like nine teams that did all seven races.”
Second place likely would go to Myrick Coil and Rusty Williams in Performance Boat Center, with Loren Peters and Anthony Smith taking third in LPC.
In a similar points-scoring scenarios for the 2022 regular season, the Super Cat-class team owners opted for a drop-race format. But in their case they had seven races on their internal schedule and could keep their best six results for a final total.
And though these results are far from final or official—more key words—that would land owner/driver Tyler Miller and Myrick Coil of M CON in first place for the national championship series with 493 points, followed by owner/driver Wayne Valder and Grant Bruggemann in Pro Floors Racing and owner/driver with 466 points and Chris Grant and throttleman Billy Moore in Graydel with 458 points.
The M CON team currently leads the Super Cat class in the national points standings, but Pro Floors Racing and Graydel are within striking distance if Roar Offshore Fort Myers Beach happens.
As the current point standings reveal, the Fort Myers Beach contest easily could reverse fortunes in the Super Cat class if it happens as planned. And that what all teams in the class, not to mention the fans that follow it, are hoping for.
“It’s close,” said Tyler Miller of the M CON team. “And really cool.”
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