The inaugural 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix was full of surprises to say the least. The weather was not the best as winds gusted well over 25 mph and rain poured all morning. Race World Offshore and American Power Boat Association officials were challenged as they had no choice but to cancel competition for the rest of the day due to a series of unfortunate crashes. However, John Tomlinson and Taylor Scism made a grand appearance in the 39-foot MTI while in Marathon, FL. Continue reading for an in-depth breakdown of the weekend in the Florida Keys.
When the 65 offshore powerboat racing teams and fans in Marathon, Fla., awoke this morning they were greeted by an ominous message: “Tornado watch for the Southern Keys.”
That set the tone for a day of racing that was going to challenge the officials from Race World Offshore and the American Power Boat Association in ways they had never imagined. After two boats in the 450R Factory Stock class flipped or blew over in barely two laps of competition on Sunday afternoon, officials put an end to the carnage by canceling competition for the rest of the day. The decision was made by RWO and APBA officials with input from the United States Coast Guard.
“It was a matter of safety and the decision of the Coast Guard,” said RWO president Larry Bleil.
“And common sense,” added APBA Offshore chairman Rich Luhrs.
The first race of the 2023 APBA offshore national series, the 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix was backed by Performance Boat Center and M CON offshore racing. Sixty-five teams showed up in Marathon, Fla., and there was a buzz of positivity about the upcoming season in the air. There were nine boats registered for the Super Cat class. Mod V and Super Stock both had double-digit entries and the 450R Factory Stock fleet felt like it was growing by the week.