Stellar Start in National Championships Bring High Hopes for Key West
A stellar start by the American Ethanol Cat Can Do race team, at the Britehouse Superboat National Championship held in Clearwater, Florida, Sunday, October 2, had the Cat Crew smiling. “I hit the throttle and soon everyone was in my rearview mirror,” said Throttleman Keith Holmes. “Ed Smith (Driver) found the fast groove around the first turn and off we went to the lead.” The Cat, reaching straight away speed of almost 160 MPH, had a formable lead on a packed Unlimited class, leading a total of 9 out of 19 laps, on a chamber of commerce style Florida day, with a light chop and perfect offshore powerboat racing conditions.
While the start of the race was awesome, testing and the final outcome proved another story. “We had difficulties in testing Saturday, including blowing a drive and some other gremlins to debug,” said Holmes. “The crew stayed on top of things and worked hard, into the evening, getting the bugs worked out, with support from Ignite American Ethanol’s Technical Director, Dan Schwartzkopf as well as Mike D’Anniballe from Sterling Performance Engines ”
“Miss Geico had a good start as well, giving us a good hard push into the first turn and down the back stretch, commented Holmes. “Our monster Twin Ethanol Sterling Performance Engines were strong and dialed in, and it looked like we had the set up to win.” The Unlimited class field, including CMS 3, Wake Effects 03, Lucas Oil and CRC, held positions, for 9 laps, behind Cat Can Do. Miss Geico dropped out of the race early, with mechanical issues on lap 2.
Disappointment gripped the Cat Crew after lap 9, as mechanical gremlins took over. A broken driveshaft took the American Ethanol Cat out of contention, and the Cat Crew throttled-down just before the race’s midpoint, leading to #3 CMS boat, taking the victory.
“We were very disappointed, but yet feel hopeful as we prepare for the World Championship,” said Holmes. “The American Ethanol Cat has the power and speed to make Key West some very exciting races.” The Superboat 36th Annual Key West World Championships will be held November 6-13.
Photo Credits: Pete Boden