The 34th annual SBI World Championship offshore powerboat racing finals were held in Key West again this year, and it was a privilege to accompany the Vortex racing team from Trinidad & Tobago and be the guest of seven, I mean eight-time champions, Miss Geico Racing.
Currently AMF Racing led by Gary Stray are re-rigging the Vortex boat, a 50ft Mystic, powered by twin T-53 Turbine Engines; which will be coming to their Homebase in Trinidad early 2015. These same turbine engines can also be found in the Cobra Attack Helicopter and the Vortex team already tested with a speed of 170mph on the water. Trinidad has class ratings for their races, and Vortex will have to reduce to speeds of 130mph.
Joining the Vortex Team would also be Cat Killer and Platinum Princess (a former Miss Geico boat), but their biggest competition will be from the Monster Team (formerly Snack Attack); oddly enough, a former member of the Snack Attack/Monster race team from around the year 2000 is Roger Bell…. a current member of the Vortex team, together with Roger are Alan, Nigel and they mean business for Trinidad racing in 2015.
Originally Vortex was placed in the turbine extreme class for the Key West event together with teams such as Quatar, Mary Mac and Aquamania; however due to SBI officials’ late decisions, this racing class was cancelled, leaving the Vortex team et al, with no choice to be spectators and supporters of their “team mates” Miss Geico Racing.
Normally most people speak of a racing team as a family, but the Geico team really do bring more than that to such a statement. From the marketing crew such as Lou, technicians Mica and Pat, even driver Marc Granet and throttleman Scotty B, they all are connected by a bond which is more than just a racing team. They are the true definition of a family.
Thousands of fans converged in Key West for this event, a bit less on the testing days, but the fans were present, supporting their favourites. The team of Alex and Ani did something I’ve never seen before, they allowed fans to place their autograph anywhere they could fit it onto the boat. The waters were mostly calm throughout the previous days of racing and testing, except on the final race day. Choppy could probably be a mild observation but that wasn’t stopping these races. The photos can probably attest to the conditions, with some boats even taking 10ft + flights.
The final event preparations were well underway, CMS team flew in additional engines the night before, Lucas Oil Team frantically tuned, Miss Geico also prepped, each with their shared mission, to win. In speaking with Marc Granet their only aim was to win, second or third place wouldn’t be enough; the win was all that had importance to them.
Marc was hyped for the final race, Scotty B…. generally pulled on his ECig ever so often, keeping a calm, positive demeanour. Winning by more than just a few feet, Miss Geico took the checkered flag…making them eight time world champions.
Miss Geico and other teams from this event may make an appearance in Trinidad in the near future, it’s currently under discussion; apparently one or two members of the Miss Geico team are looking forward to a bake and shark and having a cold Carib beer. SBI put on a pretty good event at Key West, it’s something to consider returning to, providing the Miss Geico team keep that bond, or if they make me part of the team.