by Bob Wonders
At least 30 of the fastest offshore racers in the United States will converge on Clearwater Beach this weekend for the annual Bright House National Offshore Championships staged by Super Boat International (SBI).
'Risk' shows what excites race fans as it leaps high during a race earlier this year. - Superboats Florida
This is a favourite venue for race fans and last year thousands flocked to the shoreline to witness the exciting spectacle as the big racers thundered by.
Race fans can view the entire 4.4-mile (`7.08 km) rectangular course from the beach front, the venue offering some of the best spectator viewing on the Super Boat circuit.
According to John Carbonell, Founder and President of SBI, Clearwater is a venue 'where all the competitors come to race and race seriously.'
He said past years had delivered some very consistent racing in the various classes, with many crews exhibiting a 'winner take all' approach.
'Teams that are fast win races, but teams that are fast and consistent win championships,' he pointed out.
Six classes will contest the Bright House National Championship event and national titles will be announced and awarded at the close of racing.
'Watch Your Back' won at Clearwater last year and will be back for another go this weekend. - Superboats Florida
Many classes are expected to go down to the wire, with many competitors separated by minimal points.
Teams began arriving in Clearwater today (Sept 29) to begin setting up and testing; racing gets under way on Sunday (October 2) in a two race format, the first race at 12 noon, the second at 2pm.
Race fans can be counted on to flock to the Super Boat Block Party in downtown Clearwater on the Friday evening (September 30).
Organisers believe many of the 2010 Clearwater winners will return this year to defend their crown.
‘Cintron’, which has proven remarkably consistent in recent meets, will be there as will Superboat Unlimited rival ‘Warpaint.’
There’s bound to be ‘fireworks’ in Super Cat class when ‘Stihl’ and ‘Loriblu’ clash with a national championship at stake.
‘Stihl’ owner/driver J.R. Noble said the team was prepared.
'We’re ready to go for the championships and I’m sure it will prove to be a great battle,' he added.
'Stihl' shows its form - it expects a tough class battle with 'Loriblu' - Superboats Florida
John Carbonell said SBI 'really enjoyed' the Clearwater event. 'The fans here together with the community at large really support the racing,' he explained.
'With the dry pits making it easy for race fans to view the boats and then simply head over the causeway to watch the racing it’s simply a great venue.
Local identities Frank Chivas and Brian Aungst have been enormously helpful in supporting and advertising the event and despite what could only be termed a spectacular attendance last year, I’m tipping this year will be even bigger,' he added.
The event will be streamed live on www.Superboat.com
Superboat, supercat, that's 'Loriblu'. - Superboats Florida
'Warpaint' and its clash with the ever reliable 'Cintron' will alone be worth the price of admission. - Superboats Florida