We are very excited to sign on as the presenting sponsor of the Powerboat P1 SuperStock outboard racing series for the 2017 season. The one-design, single-engine race series features identically rigged 28-foot P1 Panther vee-bottom race boats.
The venerable Mercury Racing 300XS outboard is the exclusive power for the 2017 Spectre P1 SuperStock USA Championship. The low emissions, 2-stroke engine replaces Evinrude E-TEC outboards. The 300XS, featuring a potent V-6 powerhead coupled to a robust mid-section fitted with a heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly and race-proven Sport Master gearcase, is designed to endure the harsh offshore racing environment. Handcrafted-precision matched Mercury Racing Propellers will ensure that each boat realizes its maximum performance.
“The performance of the P1 Panther with the 300XS is outstanding. Acceleration and top speed are dramatically improved, and the tracking and handling is crisp and nimble. It’s like a new boat,” said Spectre P1 SuperStock USA Championship spokesperson Martin Sanborn.
“Partnerships are at the heart of our P1 business and our new alliance with Mercury Racing, the acknowledged leader in the marine high performance industry, is testimony to the growth and stature of the P1 SuperStock series,” said Powerboat P1 USA Managing Director Azam Rangoonwala.
“Our association with Mercury Racing brings a wealth of experience and reliability, and we are confident that this move will generate even greater interest in our national championship,” Azam said.
“Powerboat P1 is a rich part of our racing heritage” said Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen.
“We are excited to feature our 300XS outboard in this highly competitive one-design racing environment, where setup and skill is key to winning,” Erik added.
The 2017 P1 SuperStock USA Championship season kicks off May 20 in St. Cloud, Fla. The complete schedule is as follows:
I recently had some awesome discussions with defending Super Boat International (SBI) National and World champs Team CMSOffshore Racing regarding their 2016 race season.
To recap, twin Mercury Racing 1650 competition engines powered Wake Effects, a 48-foot MTI catamaran with boat owner/rookie driver Rusty Rahm behind the wheel and veteran throttleman Jeff Harris on the sticks, to win the 2016 Super Boat International (SBI) Superboat Unlimited class world championship Sunday, Nov. 13. The Wake Effects victory is especially sweet as Rahm/Harris also won the Superboat Unlimited class National Championship in September. The world championship was hard fought. Wake Effects finished sixth after being washed down in fierce competition in the opening race. Sister boat CMS #3 finished second.
Team CMS came back with a 1-2 punch later in the week. CMS #3 enjoyed a convincing win with Wake Effects, placing a close second. Wake Effects won the final round, which counts toward double points. The accumulation of points over three days of competition was enough for Wake Effects to capture the world championship. Wake Effects finished nine points ahead of Team CRC Sunlight Supply, another MTI catamaran powered by Mercury Racing 1650 competition sterndrives. CMS #3 rounded out the Superboat Unlimited World championship podium, finishing third overall.
All but one of the eight-boat Super Boat Unlimited field were powered by Mercury Racing QC4v -based engine packages. The engine has transformed offshore powerboat racing and performance pleasure boating with the transition from 2-valve pushrod big blocks, to the 4-valve – direct overhead camshaft valve train featured on the QC4v.
“Erik Christiansen has done a great job leading the Mercury Racing organization. I appreciate his engineering skills for one – the QC4v he created is a great motor. I own a bunch of them – for race and pleasure,” said Team CMS owner Bob Bull.
“His passion for racing and what he does for a living are contagious. You can see it from the guys building the engines all the way through management. That passion and spirit is why Mercury Racing is head-and-shoulders above the competition,” Bob concluded.
“MTI and Mercury Racing go 1-2-3. Win on Sunday – sell on Monday,” said Marine Technology, Inc. founder/owner Randy Scism.
“In racing, we put the product through much more abuse than what they would ever face in the hands of the consumer. R&D in our world stands for “Reck & Destroy.” And that used to be expected back in the day – prior to the introduction of the Mercury Racing QC4v engine platform. It truly has changed everything,” said Randy.
Today, performance is about so much more than top-speed. It is now defined by reliability, durability and an intuitive design that relates to consumer friendliness – all qualities the Mercury Racing QC4s deliver in spades,” Randy said.
“The QC4vs put the pleasure back into performance boating. Customers – new to the sport and those who have returned from days of old — are blown away at how consumer friendly the engines are. They appreciate all facets of the QC4v experience – from docile docking manners to incredible fuel economy, durability, reliability and overall performance. It is no different than jumping into your Lexus,” Randy concluded.
Randy was instrumental in changing the game for competitor Chris Cox of the Envy race team. Chris and throttleman Herb Stotler pilot Envy, a Mercury Racing 1650 powered 50-foot Mystic catamaran. Chris decided to repower the boat, replacing Stotler race engines with Mercury Racing 1650s after discussions with Randy Scism and Team CMS owner Bob Bull. Randy said Chris was ecstatic with the experience. “He had a permanent smile for the entire week,” Randy said.
“Key West was an extraordinary experience. It was the first time we finished every race. It was a pleasure to not have to wrench on the motors all week,” said Chris.
“It’s a new experience going from full-out racing to idling back to the dock with engine run quality and shifting as smooth as a luxury automobile. Docking the race boat is no different than my Verado-powered pleasure boat. That is something unheard of with our previous propulsion,” Chris said.
“We left Key West for the OPA worlds the following week. We won on Sunday – nearly lapped the field. I would have never been able to leave one site for another without rebuilding the engines in the past. Our investment cost per lap, which includes testing and racing – is way down from our past experiences. We went from a hauler full of spare parts, to fitting all required parts in the trunk of my car,” said Chris.
“In order to finish 1st – first you must finish,” said rookie Superboat Unlimited Competitor Rusty Rahm. Cat Can Do, a Sterling engine powered cat that runs on Ethanol, gave Wake Effects a run for its money in the Superboat Unlimited National championships.
“They ended up failing to finish. The durability and reliability of the Mercury Racing QC4vs reinforced the importance to finish each race you endure,” Rusty said.
An analogy to Rusty’s accomplishment would be a NFL pro football player winning the Super Bowl and being named MVP his rookie year. Rusty is humbled by the comparison.
“All of the credit goes to MTI and Mercury Racing for providing an incredible ride. I’m looking forward to getting back in the boat for the 2017 season,” Rusty concluded.
Jeff Harris’ first race boat was powered by a 175 h.p. Mercury outboard. For 37 years, Jeff’s powerboat racing career has always been tied to Mercury. In the late ‘90s, Jeff approached Super Cat racing with the same methodology he had used in past. Relying on Mercury power at a time when the class was dominated by competitive power.
“My experience was that I could rely on running the engines as is from Mercury. I didn’t touch them. I would focus on things I could tweak, such as props and boat set-up,” said Jeff. He did that with great success, culminating with winning 12 of 14 races during the 2005 Super Cat race season.
“That same process pays off in spades with the 1650s. In the old days, if you tested too long, you usually didn’t finish the race. You had to schedule your run time – knowing the engine durability was limited. Now, with the QC4vs, it is common to have more time in testing than the race itself. This is a huge advantage, enabling us to fully prepare for the race. We don’t have to worry about the engines so we can focus on the boat set-up. This makes my job much easier,” Jeff said.
One of the biggest changes Jeff has experienced since running the QC4v 1650s is the reaction from fans.
“In the past, they would be focused on power and speed. How much power? How fast does it go? Now the common question is, ‘is that a race boat or pleasure boat’? They are amazed how smooth the engines idle and shift into and out of gear as we dock the boat after running 180 mph lap speeds around the race course,” said Jeff.
“Mercury Racing products are backed by passionate – techy individuals who care as much about performance, reliability and winning as much as I do. That hasn’t changed in my 37 years of racing,” Jeff concluded.
As the CMS Offshore Crew Chief, Gene Greber is the one that keeps everything together. He has a monumental task – managing a two boat – two time world champion team.
Gene has a long time relationship with Randy Scsim. He worked with Randy and Gary Stray for eight to nine years when Randy managed the Victory Team in the Middle East. Gene then moved on with Stray as crew chief for the GEICO race team. He did that for 1-1/2-2 years before moving into his current roll with CMS.
“I love the QC4s. Give them air, water and fuel – and they will treat you right. They are highly dependable. In fact, last year we went undefeated on one set of engines. They had full out – high rpm running for 90 miles per race or eight hours of race time plus testing and shoot out runs. We changed them out for Key West- not because we had to but because it was the worlds and we didn’t want to take any chances, Gene said.
“When dialed-in – there really isn’t anything out there that can touch them. They are so dependable and fail safe – it really comes down to human error if something goes wrong.”
The legendary Cowes-Torquay-Cowes endurance powerboat race finished Sunday in what will go down as the roughest in the event’s 56-year history. Thirty two to 38 mph winds stirred up 13-19-foot seas – challenging competitors and equipment.
The 190-mile endurance race was created in 1961 by newspaper tycoon and second world war fighter pilot Sir Max Aitken after seeing the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race that began in 1956. Sir Max proposed a similar race be staged in England between Cowes and Torquay.
Competitors began their journey on calm waters along the Solent, a 20-mile long strait that separates the Isle of Wright from mainland England. Conditions would deteriorate quickly for the 14-boat field as they left the protected waters for open ocean competition. Gale force winds – stirring up 13-19 foot seas – changed the game. Endurance of crafts and crews would be tested to their limits.
Reigning Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Champion Vector MartiniRosso, a Vector hull piloted by Peter Dredge, Simon Powell, Malcolm Crease and Jason McVicar, succumbed to technical issues after enjoying an early lead. Technical issues forced Silverline, (Drew Langdon and Giancarlo Cangiano) out of the running as well. To make matters worse, their stricken boat was then swamped by a rogue wave and sank. Thankfully, no one was injured. The crew was rescued and the boat was towed to safety.
Conditions continued to take its toll on the field. Italian entrant Tommy Racing (Maurizio Schepici and Gabriele Giambattista) and Hendricks 55 (Miles Jennings, Markus and Vincent Hendricks) were the next two competitors forced to retire. This cleared the way for eight-time UIM Class 1 World Champion Steve Curtis, with team mates Richard Carr and Paul Sinclair to power through the rough in their classic Mercury Racing 1350 powered Cougar aluminum vee-bottom hull. The team averaged 58.42 mph to win the Cowes-Torque leg of the event.
Dorian Griffith, Shelley Jory-Leigh and Will Stevens piloted Blastoff Racing, a Fountain hull powered by twin Yanmar diesels, to finish 47 minutes behind the Mercury Racing powered Cougar with Biretta Due, a Belgium Buzzi RIB piloted by Jean-Pierre Neels, Thomas Vandamme, Marijke D’Hondt and Dmitry Schiller finishing 33 minutes behind Blastoff for a third overall finish. Thunderstreak, a 53 year old hull piloted by Robin Ward and Jeff Hall finished fourth but failed to complete the course within the stated 3 hour 51 minute time limit.
Attrition brought the starting field for the trip back from Torquay to Cowes down to to four. The field would swiftly be reduced to three when an oil pressure loss forced Biretta Due out of the competition.
Steve Curtis carefully throttled the Mercury Racing 1350 powered Cougar through the huge seas and to cross the finish line in what was an emotional victory. The British racer, who had won nearly everything in the sport of offshore powerboat racing, had never won the classic endurance event. Teammate Richard Carr has followed the race since a child. Richard has always dreamed of winning the coveted Cowes event. Blastoff pilot Dorian Griffith, who had been striving to finish Cowes-Torquay-Cowes since 2008, realized his dream – with a second place finish.
To endure such rough conditions is a testament to the competitors and the propulsion that carries them through. This Cowes-Torquay-Cowes victory proves the performance, reliability and dependability built into all Mercury Racing products.
Twin Mercury Racing 400 ROS competition outboards powered Victory Team to win the Fujairah Grand Prix, Friday, April 8 on the Gulf of Oman in Fujairah, U.A.E. The race was round one of the 2016 XCAT World Series. The event is historic in that marks the first official race victory for our venerable 400 ROS competition outboard. 2016 is the first year the new four strokes can compete and earn points in XCAT competition. All but four of the 14-boat field featured 400 ROS power! Read more
We recently received exciting news from our friends at Mercury Australia. Mercury Racing powered boats dominated the Robinvale Euston 80water ski racing event, clinching 11 victories in the Expert classes and an additional six wins in the social classes. The event took place March 12-13 on the mighty Murray River which separates New South Wales and Victoria. Check out race Recap Video.
Don Gulley (driver) and observer Kevin Boylan piloted Merc Force, a Mercury Racing QC4v 1650 powered hull with skiers Jake Tegart and Steven Rowe in tow to take top honors in the Super Class division. It would be the team’s first win in seven years. Ironically, their past win before was also at the Robinvale event. Jessica Pearse, piloting the QC4v 1350 powered 99 Pyscho Clownswith observer Daniel McMahon and skiers Codie Rigg and Steven Berry in tow, finished a respectable second in Super Class.
“It’s been a long time coming. The last time we won was here in Robinvale. I even think we are a little quicker this time around,” Don said.
Record Setting Performance
QC4v 1350s were the power behind two record setting performances. Chris Stevens (driver) and Mark Boyer (observer) piloted Pigs Arsenal, with skiers Sean Stevens and Jack Stevens in tow, to win the Unlimited Inboard Competition. They finished a full two seconds ahead of the previous record for the class.
Merc Force F1, with Trent Souwer and Christian Apps driving and observing and skiers Chelsea Blight and Ellen Jones in tow, sliced a full 11 seconds off the previous record to capture the Women’s Expert category.
Mercury powered boats claimed a clean sweep in the Under 19 Boys Expert event, with Temper 2, Master Forceand Superbad finishing one, two and three – with a two minute gap back to the next finisher. SBR and Agent Orange,both sporting Mercury motors, collected Gold and Silver in the Unlimited Outboard competitions.
OptiMax 300XS outboard power swept the F2 class competition with Enforcer, Top Gun F2 and In Strife finishing 1-3. OptiMax 300XS outboards also scored big in the highly competitive MOC contest with Hardback Racing and Hodge Marine Racing finishing 1-2. An OptiMax 250 SportXS powered Velocity Racing to win the SMOC category.
Mercury Racing also dominated the Under 19 Girls competition with Melt Downand BallisticStill,both sporting OptiMax 300XS power, finishing 1-2.
Korrupt, sporting Mercury Racing 600 SCi sterndrive engine, clinched the competitive 70 MPH competition while OptiMax 250 SportXS outboards delivered No Cash and Southern Force to claim Gold and Silver respectively in the Sub Junior Girls category.
Congratulations to all of the teams in this very impressive showing of Mercury power. I look forward to sharing more good news from our friends down under as the 2016 water ski racing season progresses.
Shortly after my post regarding Team Abu Dhabi winning the Class 1 Offshore World Championship – I had learned another Mercury powered boat had captured the Class 1 V World Powerboat Championship on the same weekend. That is newsworthy on its own. However – what is even more enticing is the boat is a 42-foot Fountain poker run hull powered by twin 700 SCi sterndrives. What’s more, the father and son team of Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano, owners of Hi-Performance Italy – a prominent Mercury Racing dealer in Naples, Italy pilot the boat.
Veteran powerboat racer Antonio Schiano said they had a specific strategy in place to capture the championship. “Consistency ultimately wins races,” said Antonio.
“The first day went great. Chaudron were competitive but they ultimately failed an engine – giving us an advantage in the first race. Bernico also ran well and continued to be a threat in race two after a superior start. We decided to follow and put pressure on them. The strategy worked as they too ultimately succumbed to an engine failure that forced them out of the race,” Antonio said.
“The superior reliability of the 700 SCi sterndrives worked hand-in-glove with our consistency strategy to earn us the championship. We were perfect thanks to the wonderful work of the technicians of Hi-Performance Italy, Rosario Schiano, Vincenzo Guidone, Ciro Guide and Vincenzo Alessio, who prepared the boat and motors,” Antonio concluded.
“The goal all along was to finish 1-2. Jeff and I placed second on Wednesday (race 1). We were taken out early Friday (day 2) when Team CRC rode up on some rooster tails and ended up hitting us in turn 1, resulting with a gaping hole on the port side of the engine compartment,”Johnny said.
“On Sunday, Jeff and I were third going into the first turn. Bob (Bull) and Randy (Scism) (CMS #3) were on the inside and GEICO was on the outside. We were pinched in the middle going through the turn. Once we came out into the rough – Jeff punched and we lever looked back,” said Johnny.
“MTI and Mercury Racing make a winning combination,” were the first words from Marine Technology, Inc., owner/CEO Randy Scism when we spoke this morning.
“Triple Crown champs; Superboat Unlimited National Championship, Superboat Unlimited World Championship and Class 1 World Championship. It’s been an awesome couple of weeks,” Randy expounded. This may be the first time in history Mercury Racing has captured the triple crown.
“We had a great year,” said Team CMS #03 driver Jeff Harris. “We ran every SBI race and the Lake Race at LOTO as well. Throughout the year, the only races Johnny and I didn’t win were the ones Bob and Randy won,” Jeff said.
“The winning boats led every lap. A large part of that is the engines are so darn reliable – lap after lap – race after race. There simply are no issues and thus why the Mercury QC4vs are so dominant,” Jeff concluded.
We’ve Got Your Back
I couldn’t wait to talk to Bob Bull this morning. As you would expect – he was ecstatic. “The motors ran great in the ’52 (CMS #3). They had three races on them from the National Championships and we ran them all week in Key West as well. Good to go. No issues. They are super dependable and deliver a ton of power,” Bob said.
It was this time last year we launched our new Mercury Racing merchandise program. One of the shirt designs the vendor came up with came up with features a sublimated design. The first rendering they shared featured race boats – but the art wasn’t representative of the modern offshore performance boat. I went through my archives and found a perfect overhead shot of a CMS MTI. It’s ironic – the design is a perfect tribute to MTI for their historic Triple Crown accomplishment and to Bob and Team CMS for their winning the 2015 Superboat Unlimited National and World Championships!
Congratulations again to Team CMS and MTI for your historic race season. I’m looking forward to catching up with you over the off season to see what you have planned for next year!
Our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths recently returned from the Thunder on The Snake jet boat races in Lewiston, Idaho. Mike was there to support a project he had been involved with for a year now; the fitment of a QC4v 1350 in a jet boat. Say what? Yes. Mike and our associates at Mercury Canada successfully installed the first QC4v 1350 coupled to a jet pump.
Spencer King, of Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada is an eight time World Jet Boat Champion. In recent times – turbine powered competitors have taken the upper hand against his 20-foot jet boat powered by a custom built 900 h.p. Ford engine. We’ve experienced a similar trend in offshore powerboat racing. The teams that could afford turbines converted – and were the ones to beat until the QC4v arrived on the scene. I will never forget Key West – I believe it was 2011 – when Bob Bull spanked a well known turbine competitor at the SBI Offshore World Championships. He passed them like they were standing still. We had a 1650 Competition on display in the poker run village. People lined up to sneak a peek and snap a photo. They couldn’t stop talking about it.
Spencer is co-owner of Kingland Ford – an automotive and Mercury Outboards dealer. He knew he needed to update his power. He also felt compelled to go with something with factory support. He contacted his resources at Mercury Canada for suggestions. That’s when Mike got the call. He didn’t hesitate to suggest QC4v 1350 power.
The 9.0 liter engine, running on 91-octane pump fuel, cranks out massive torque (1300 lb. ft. from 2500 to 5500 rpm!) The 1350 and its competition siblings have earned a reputation for both performance and durability in recreational and competitive applications.
The closest 1350 application to Spencer’s is water ski racing in Australia. There – a driver and an observer pilot a 21-foot boat, powered by a single 1350 sterndrive, to 130 mph … with skier in tow! So – in that respect – the install if a 1350 in a 20-foot boat wasn’t a stretch.
Mike committed to the project after discussing it with Spencer and Mercury Canada. Mercury Racing technicians spent the winter converting the engine for jet propulsion. “We took things off the engine that jet boats don’t need. The transmission was one of them,” Mike said.
Spencer purchased a new 22-foot Outlaw Eagle Performance Boat to make room for the 1350. He named it Sunset Shaker. Mike traveled to Outlaw Eagle in the spring to assist with the rigging.
“I went through the process of wiring the boat for the engine, water and fuel,” said Mike. Spencer fabricated a coupler to enable the 1350 to be coupled to an American Turbine jet pump.
Jet boats are piloted by a driver and navigator. Spencer’s navigator is his father Russell King. After testing and dialing-in the rig – Spencer and Russell were ready to race. They selected the 2015 World Jet Boat Championships as their first event. A total of 60 teams, representing the U.S., Canada, Mexico and New Zealand compete for 10 days – racing 550 miles through the rivers of Western Canada.
Out of the box, the 1350 powered SunsetShaker approached 130+ mph speeds. Not bad for its inaugural competition. Still – it wasn’t quite enough to squelch 1,800 h.p. turbine powered competitors capable of speeds in excess of 140 mph. Even with the power gap – they finished an impressive fourth overall.
“It’s a new boat, the engine is new to us, and just finishing these marathons is a feat,” said Spencer.
“He ran for ten days without an issue and a lot of racers took note. We’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding the 1350 following this year’s World Jet Boat Championship,” Mike said.
Spencer’s engine is coming back to Racing where our technicians will work their magic, converting it to a 1550 competition model. While that is being done – Spencer plans to make modifications to the hull – in hopes to reduce weight while enhancing the drive line in preparation for increased power.
I’m looking forward to seeing how he does at the 2016 Worlds. My guess is he’ll have people lined up to sneak a peek of the engine that beat the turbines. 🙂
Photos Courtesy of Henri Thibault. Click to enlarge.
Mercury Racing swept the 52nd annual 24 Hours of Rouenendurance powerboat race. The race concluded Saturday, May 2nd. This was the third consecutive year race organizers diverted from the traditional April 30 start and fourth consecutive year the race was run over a two day period.
Defending champion Philippe Chiappe, with Team Nollet #1 drivers Christophe Larigot, Peter and Nelson Morin won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Chiappe and team drove their Mercury S3000 race outboard powered hull a total of 784 laps to win the event. Russian team TeamNew Star 1, with Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST power, finished a mere one lap behind Chiappe – providing race fans with one the most exciting finishes in recent Rouen history.
Team Navakart Racing #35and TeamNavakart Racing #32 finished 759 and 753 laps respectively for 3rd and 4th overall and 2-3 finish in Class 2 competition. Team Bourgeot Racing Team completed 652 laps to place fifth overall and and second in Class 3 competition. TeamPegase Racing Team and Team Autovision & Tullio Abbate rounded out 3-4 in Class 3 competition. All were powered by Mercury Racing outboards.
The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard dominated Class 1 competition, powering Arion Racing to victory with 480 laps completed. Team Magaur finished three laps behind to cinch a second place podium finish. Team Marine Inshore, Team Viking DKC and DEFI 24H Esigelecrounded out 3-5. All were powered by Mercury 60 EFI Formula Race outboards.
It’s hard to believe its been 15 years since I traveled to Rouen and witnessed Team Mercury’s historic race victory with low-emissions OptiMax outboards. Henri Thibault’s incredible photography makes me want to make a return trip to the magical French city on the River Seine to again experience this one-of-a-kind event.