59 boats signed on for the 10th running of ‘Thunder of Cocoa Beach’ and the event certainly lived up to its name this weekend, the newly formed partnership of the OPA (Offshore Powerboat Association) and P1 Offshore got off to a flying start with a number of entries not seen for many years. The sights and sounds of so many boats racing in the famous surf of Cocoa Beach certainly provided a spectacle worthy of the name, with Miss GEICO taking the honours in the newly reformed Class One category.
There were epic races throughout the field with close battles in the Super Cat, Superstock Cat, and P1 Superstock classes but no doubt the highlight of the weekend was seeing Miss GEICO come through the pack from a 5th place start to take the Class One victory. The experienced crew of Steve Curtis and James Sheppard rounded the first turn in 3rd and by the end of lap 2 Miss GEICO had caught the fast starting 222 Offshore team of Giovanni Carpitella and Darren Nicholson. Curtis and Sheppard proceeded to make inroads into the early lead of Dubai’s Victory Team. On lap 3 Miss GEICO pulled alongside the leaders and looked to make the pass around the outside of the southern turn marks of the course, despite strong defence from Victory the pass was completed as they roared north along the surf line in front of the thousands of spectators lining the beach. Miss GEICO pulled away to what looked like a commanding lead but there was a late scare when one of the new Mercury Racing 1100hp motors went into guardian mode, there was no problem bringing the boat home however, and kicking off the USA Class One Championship with a win.
There was frustration for Sam and Daisy as their 2019 P1 USA campaign start was delayed due to a supply problem with their new Mercury Racing 300R engine, despite promises that it would be delivered in time for the weekend’s racing, a delay with the shipping company meant that it didn’t arrive in time for them to make the start line on Sunday. All was not lost however as in the weeks leading up to the event, they were able to trial and test the new P1 Panther 28R prototype. “The new boat is awesome! It’s feels like a serious race boat, the combination of the stiffer carbon construction and new Mercury 300R means that it’s a lot lighter on its feet, the response and feedback from the new set up is thrilling. The added safety from the enclosed cockpit is a welcome addition to the new package also.” The duo also completed their ‘Dunker’ or capsule safety training at the weekend and Daisy added “The safety benefits of the new closed cockpit are clear to see; the cockpit is stress tested to withstand almost 5000 newtons of force! The passion and professionalism of the Dark Side Rescue team in keeping the crews safe is great for the sport and we’re looking forward to getting our GEICO Panther on the water!.”
Sam and Daisy are back in the UK for a few weeks before returning to Florida’s east coast for the St Pete Grand Prix on the 15th and 16th June where they’ll be looking to kick start their 2019 championship campaign.
To keep up with their progress head to colemanracing.co.uk, and if anyone is interested in getting into Powerboat racing don’t hesitate to drop the team a line too. The team are always looking to forge new partnerships and would welcome any interested parties to get in touch via social media or by e-mailing email@example.com