Our MAX5 is providing top performance in both domestic and international outboard applications.
Nor-Tech Boats came to us for help in establishing a speed record for production outboard center consoles. Quad 400Rs, spinning 31-inch pitch MAX5 props powered their 390 center console to an astounding speed of 101 mph!
“The boat performed outstanding at both top-end speed & cruising,” said Nor-Tech founder Trond Schou. “The fuel consumption was an impressive 1.5 mpg while cruising at 50 mph! We highly recommend this propeller for high-performance boating.”
Kirk Beattie of Preferred Marine recently took delivery of his triple 400R powered 36-foot Invincible center console. Kirk was truly amazed with the MAX5s’ performance.
“The boat not only stays hooked up, the more we trim her, the more bite they provide, said Beattie. “It is a slingshot out of the hole: 0-55 mph in 11.2 seconds with a top speed of 81 mph. They are efficient too; delivering 1.2 mpg at a cruise speed of 50 mph.”
“The beauty of the props is that my fuel efficiency at cruise is not compromised with a heavy load. When I load her up with 475 gallons of fuel, five guys, full coolers and the tackle we still manage to get 1.1 mpg at 50 mph! The MAX5 props are serious!”
Toffen’s MAX5 Experience
Toffen Gunnufsen from Norway is a huge Mercury Racing enthusiast. He has updated the power on his 1984 Phantom 25 hull multiple times. Phantom was essentially an offshore race hull made from 1970 through the early ’90s.
Toffen’s most recent repower entailed replacing a Mercury Racing 350 SCi with our popular 400R outboard. The boat ran 86 mph with a 25-inch pitch Rev 4; a 4 mph increase in speed using the same prop. He gained an additional 3 mph when he updated the 400R with a 25-inch pitch MAX5.
World Champion Propulsion
Francis Notschaele and Alain Coppens piloted their 300XS-powered Skipper BSK hull to win the 2018 UIM Endurance Class S1 World and European Championship. The reigning Class S1 champs switched from Bravo I props to MAX5s to capture their second consecutive championship.
We are excited to see the MAX5 shine in multiple applications – both here and abroad.
Mercury Racing congratulates Adam Leland, winner of our Brand Passion Essay contest. We received several quality stories, and Adam’s winning essay is presented below. We will also share others in future blog posts.
Adam and his dad Fred are lifelong boaters and Mercury owners. You can sense by reading Adam’s essay that he and his dad Fred bleed black.
My love for fast boats and Mercury engines came from my dad. I have fond memories of his 115hp short shaft “tower of power” he bought new and ran for many years on a little Glaspar G3. When I was a small child he gave me a little 10-foot hydro with an old Merc. We called the boat “hiccup” because of the sound that old little motor made.
As I grew so did my love for fast boats. Around the age of 12 I got a 1969 10’ GW Invader with a 1984 Merc 25.
I loved that little boat but I needed to make it go faster. My friend and I decided one day to “borrow” my uncle’s 50hp Merc and throw it on the back. Boy, that was a fun run.
As I got older so did the size and power of my boats. When I was in high school my dad handed down our family 16-foot Checkmate Predictor to me and my brothers. We swapped the 115 Merc for a nice healthy V-6 Merc with a jack plate and a 26-inch pitch prop. That was the boat that truly taught me how to drive.
My dad stepped up and got himself a 19-foot Eliminator Daytona with a potent V-6 Merc. It was highly modified and had a nitrous oxide system installed. That engine was built for raw power – nothing else. We eventually upgraded to our dream motor; a 1997 Mercury Racing 260hp 2.5 EFI outboard. In my opinion, that was the best motor of all time.
We continued to run fast boats every summer up and down the small lake in Maine where we have a cottage. Now a father myself, I look forward to passing down our boating passion to the next generation of Mercury Racing junkies.
Well done, Adam. Enjoy your time on the water with your family.
Our hot new 4.6L V-8 300R has a new fan. Liberator Boats of Florida owner Randy Corson received his first 300R in June. Randy has extensive experience with our legacy V-6 300XS two-stroke. He anxiously rigged his first 300R in anticipation of its performance and he was not disappointed.
The 300R, which is 44% larger in displacement compared with the 300XS, produces 40% more bottom-end torque and provides 25% quicker acceleration.
“The V-8 four-stroke produces so much torque that it demands a larger diameter prop,” said Randy.
“We saw 1-1/2 to 2 mph faster top-end speeds with the 300R compared to the 300XS with comparable props. The boat topped out at 106 mph; 5-6 mph faster than the 300XS when running a 15-1/4-inch diameter – 34-inch pitch Mercury Racing 5-blade CNC outboard cleaver,” Randy said.
The popular MAX5, a Mercury Racing sterndrive prop that is finding success in select outboard cat and vee applications, also ran well with low (9.7%) slip and a top-end speed of 103 mph at 6200 rpm.
Liberator Boats of Florida sales have soared with the release of the 300R.
“The engine has an awesome sound from outside of boat, yet is uncommonly quiet inside. It’s really the best of both worlds for the modern-day outboard performance boater,” said Randy.
Randy has extensively documented his 300R experience on screamandfly.com, a popular on-line forum for performance outboard enthusiasts. Screamandfly.com owner Gregg Terzian will be documenting the performance of his latest 300R Liberator in a video shoot later this month.
I recently celebrated my 30th service anniversary with Mercury Racing … and how things have changed as we’ve raced through the years. One thing that hasn’t changed is my passion for this brand. I believe that can be said for my colleagues as well.
In my opinion, Mercury Racing has built its high-performance reputation by enduring the harsh racing environment with durable, reliable products. The vintage slogan, “The Race Never Stops!” conveyed our relentless pursuit to win … at races and within our industry. At the core, our mission is to develop innovative, class-leading products for our customers and shareholders. That hasn’t changed during my tenure.
After thirty years, I still have the same passion for my work and love for the Mercury Racing brand that I had on day one.
I want to know what Mercury Racing means to you! Submit your story here.
For sharing your story, you will be entered for a chance to win a custom Mercury Racing Pelican cooler. See terms and conditions for more details.
Mercury Racing has had a working relationship with Captain Steven Lamp, owner of Dream Catcher Charters, for nearly 20 years. Steven relies on Mercury products to earn a living. His office space is the beautiful waters off Key West. He has been intimately involved in the development of a number of our key consumer performance outboards including the OptiMax 200XS, 2.5XS, 250XS, 300XS, Verado 350 SCi and Verado 400R.
He has also been my go to person for real world feedback regarding Mercury Racing Propeller performance. I recently reached out to Steven for performance feedback regarding our ECO XP propellers.
One of Steven’s charter boats is a beautiful 36-foot Yellow Fin offshore center console with triple 350 Verado outboards. He had been running stock 21-inch pitch Mercury Rev 4 props. I sent him a set of our 20.5-inch pitch Racing ECO XPs to try.
Steven conducted back-to-back tests to compare the Rev 4s with the ECO XPs. The boat load consisted of two guys and 100 gallons of fuel. Water conditions were flat.
He ran the Rev 4’s first to establish a baseline. The Yellow Fin accelerated from 0-20 mph in 4.5 seconds. Acceleration from 0 to 20 mph was 5.3 seconds with the XPs, 0.8 seconds slower than the Rev 4s. However – all aspects of performance – including overall handling – was noticeably improved with the ECO XPs.
Steven was impressed. “I love the way the boat feels. It feels like it’s on rails. The bow lift over the Rev 4s is HUGE! The Rev 4s are slippery; handling is dicey. There is no slip with the ECO XPs. Handling is tight for both right and left-hand turns.”
I am impressed as well. Thank, Steven, for taking the time to provide us this real-world performance feedback regarding the offshore center console performance of our Racing ECO XP propellers.
Happy 50th Birthday to Captain Steve Lamp, owner of Dream Catcher Charters. Captain Steve relies on Mercury products to earn a living. His office space is the beautiful waters off Key West.
Mercury Racing has had a working relationship with Steve for nearly 20 years. He has been intimately involved in the development of a number of our key consumer performance outboards including the OptiMax 200XS, 2.5XS, 250XS, 300XS and 400R.
He has also been our go to person for real world feedback regarding Mercury Racing Propeller performance. Steve also provides field testing data on a number of Mercury Marine engines, control systems and props.
Steve and I first met at Lake X for a 200XS photo mission. His passion for boating in general and Mercury Racing was obvious the instant I met him. It’s rare to have a personal relationship with an individual who not only earns a living with our product but one who is such a passionate brand ambassador.
To this day Steve represents Mercury Marine at the Miami International Boat Show. It is in the show environment where Steve’s experiences and extensive product knowledge truly shine. He has a knack for conveying information in layman terms to the public, highlighting product features that are important for their specific needs. In an instant – he can switch gears and carry on a conversation with members of the media regarding a variety of topics and not miss a beat.
When he’s not in the Mercury booth you will find him on the water providing product demos for Mercury as well as Yellow Fin, the builder of his bay boat and offshore center console.
Steve, we are blessed to have you as a friend and a member of our team. We wish you all the best as you continue your adventures from Mile Marker 50. Throttles down…. The Race Never Stops!
I’ve led many tours of Mercury Racing over the past 28 years. People are constantly amazed to see our skilled labor handcrafting outboards, sterndrives, propellers and accessories. Some of the more common questions asked are, “where does your labor comes from and how do they learn their skills?”
Our employees come with a strong skill set and work ethic in place. The only training needed are for things that may be specific to the job at hand. I attribute their strong work ethic to the Midwest culture. In Fond du Lac, it most likely also stems from the rich German ethnic mix and heavy farming influence. I truly believe farming brings with it an inherent mechanical aptitude that has been ingrained within Mercury since the late Carl Kiekhaefer founded the company in 1939.
The education and interests of today’s generation has changed. Millennials grow up using technology – aspiring to play video games and becoming “device” experts from an early age. They are used to instant gratification.
Industries such as ours are beginning to feel the pinch in finding skilled labor with a strong work ethic and passion to build and service the products we manufacture. Many say Millennials don’t want to get their hands dirty or have the desire to actually learn skills to build or repair products. I personally believe they are as interested and as capable as ever. We just need to provide them the education and tools they need to succeed.
Marty Signorelli – owner of Diamond Marine – a Mercury Racing dealer located in Ft. Lauderdale – made me aware of one school that is making a difference when it comes to filling the void in skilled labor. His nephew Michael attends Coral Shores High School in Key Largo, Florida. The school has a dedicated marine vocational program. Students who attend the 4-year program learn skills to service marine engines. Upon graduation they can enter the work force as a marine mechanic or further their education in a vocational tech school. I spoke with instructor Chris Catlett regarding the program. Chris has been teaching for 12 years. He is a 20-year Coast Guard Veteran with over 30 years of marine experience. Over 100 students are currently attending the program.
“Mercury Marine helped launch the Marine Service School program. We have 60 Mercury outboards made up of a mix of 2-stroke and 4-stroke models. The kids learn everything; from rebuilding powerheads and gearcases to diagnosing and repairing hydraulic and electrical systems. We are one of five marine mechanic trade schools in the nation which provide students an alternative to a formal four year college education,” said Chris.
For the past several years, Chris has taken the students to Key West for the annual Super Boat International Offshore World Championships. This past year eight students got to work with the race teams.
“The kids see the boats go past the school on their way down to Key West for the races. I feel it is important for them to see the engines in use – be it the recreational outboards they work on day in and day out or the exotic – high powered race motors they see competing in the extreme race environment. They get to see cutting edge technology in their own backyard, ” Chris said.
Michael Signorelli has mechanical aptitude built into his DNA. His uncle Marty and Joe are legendary in their ability to maximize the performance of our legacy 2.5 EFI 2-stroke competition outboards. A future in marine is his destiny. His father Frank is a private boat captain. Michael, now a sophomore, started the Marine Service School program in 2015. His first project was rebuilding a 2-stroke 9.9 h.p. Mercury. He has since moved on to rebuilding 75 h.p. models and beyond. Michael is very interested in engineering. His particular interest is navel architecture. Like mechanics and engine builders – the marine industry can never have enough navel architects.
We are thankful for instructors such as Chris Catlett and the various vocational programs around the country. I am confident program graduates will provide tech support for Mercury and Mercury Racing products well into the future.
Brian Huinker called me recently for prop advice on a boat he and his nephew bought together. Brian is a Technical Application Manager for Mercury Marine.
Brian and his nephew Mike Huinker bought an Alumacraft Trophy 195 with a 200 Pro Verado. With his work – Brian travels with an assortment of tools and props to assist dealers and builders in their boat setup. Brian has realized success in the past with the stock, stainless steel 3-blade propeller. He happened to have a 19-inch 3-blade in his support van – so he mounted it on the Verado. Brian mentioned he had heard good things regarding our Bravo I FS. His nephew Googled it and found a variety of information (there’s more to that – read on 🙂
Calm Before the Storm
It was right after Brian had dialed the boat in with the 3-blade that he and his nephew packed their gear and were off to Northern Minnesota for their annual fishing trip on on Lake Winnibigoshish. Their first day out was beautiful. The water was calm and the fish were biting! 🙂 The 19-inch 3-blade turned the 200 Pro Verado 5800 rpm at 50 mph. Unfortunately, the weather turned and the calm serenity of the first day was a distant memory.
The wind stirred the lake into a fury of rough water. Mike was driving – doing all he could to battle the rough seas.
“We were getting pounded and wet. It was a rough day on the water,” Brian said.
The wind picked up even more on the next day. Brian was busy loading his gear – getting ready to head out when he noticed Mike working on the back of the engine. As he got closer he could see he was changing the prop. It was not just any prop. He was installing a 20-inch pitch Bravo I FS.
“Looking at the prop, I looked at him and asked, did you borrow one? No he said.” I ordered it. I’m thinking wow, must have been good YouTubes and other positive news for him to order one,” said Brian.
“My research I found YouTube videos of Steve Miller and Jim Saric discussing the Bravo I FS . Then early last spring another YouTube video of Gary Parsons (professional walleye angler) talking about the FS and I was sold. I had the prop before we took delivery of the boat,” Mike said.
Brian and Mike proceeded to put their rain gear on expecting another rough and wet day on the water. They take off and were about half way to their fishing spot when Brian asked Mike if he was driving the boat differently from the previous day. Mike said no.
“I was able to push the throttle harder and the boat handled so much better in the rough conditions. We were not getting pounded, the boat had a much better ride and we were staying much drier,” Mike said.
“We were impressed with the boat. The Bravo I FS changed everything about it. It made a believer out of us,” Brian said.
Now instead of dreading the day on the rough waters, Brian and Mike are able to enjoy the ride to their fishing spot.
Sometime later they were able to find calm water.
“With the engine mounted at the second hole (same height as with the 3-blade stainess) they matched the 5800 rpm engine speed and 50 mph top speed. Mike then raised the engine up to the third hole while also adding a trolling motor and three batteries in the front compartment. The added weight didn’t affect the FS a bit. The engine turned 5800 rpm’s all day at 50 mph,” Brian exclaimed.
Good stuff. I look forward to hearing from Brian again to see how he and Mike are doing now that the weather is turning nicer and their Alumacraft is dialed in for some serious fishing. 🙂
There is nothing better than getting a call from a customer who is ecstatic with the the performance of our products. Eli Delany, a longtime customer and tournament angler, called recently to share results he is experiencing with Pro Finish Pro Max props on his OptiMax 250 XS powered 21′ Stroker DC bass boat.
Eli, a seasoned veteran, is a member of the Mercury Pro Team. He has also been a member of a BASS Divisional Championship team in recent years. Eli’s tournament fishing is fueled with passion – not just for the sport but also to promote awareness for Autism – something that is near and dear to Eli’s heart. When I asked if I could share his test results, Eli jokingly responded, “I’m not sure my competitors will believe how fast the Pro Max goes on my rig!”
Eli runs both 32″ and 30″ Pro Max wheels on his rig. The 250XS, fitted with a 1.62:1 Sport Master gearcase, is mounted on a 14″ hydraulic jack plate.
“My rig ran 102.3 mph with 32″ Pro Max fresh out of the box. The boat was under a light load, with the trolling motor, all batteries and electronics onboard,” said Eli.
That is very impressive – given his 250 XS is well seasoned. Eli went on to tell me he is also experimenting with a 30″ Pro Max wheel.
“I just started playing with the 30″ Pro Max. I got in excess of 95 mph under tournament load,” Eli said.
“What I like about the Pro Max is its acceleration! It’s significantly faster than another brand prop I run of a similar pitch. It also carries a load very well,” said Eli.
These are very impressive numbers. Eli credits much of his success to his mechanic Glenn Taylor, a Mercury Master Technician since 1983.
Eli’s passion and enthusiasm is contagious. I admire people like him who share their positive energy, time and talent to promote important causes such as Autism Awareness. We are proud to be associated with his mission.
American offshore racing veterans Gary Ballough (driver) and Johnny Tomlinson (throttles) piloted Abu Dhabi #6, a MTI catamaran powered by twin Mercury Racing Class 1 Race sterndrives, to win the 2015 Class 1 World Championship! The season finale event took place on the teams’ home waters as part of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final event for the 2015 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat season.
Johnny and Gary placed third in qualify on Thursday, giving Team Abu Dhabi an eight point advantage going into the final event. They needed to either beat or finish immediately behind T-Bone Station (Luca Fendi and Giovanni Carpitella) to cinch the title. Read more
My good friend Steve Miller recently bought a 2014 Lund Pro-V 2075. Steve is the Senior Category Manager for Mercury Marine. He was heavily involved with the Verado from day one and also on the ground floor of the 150 Fourstroke launch as well as the launch of its 75-115 siblings. He knows the products – inside and out. Its only natural his 2075 Lund features Verado 300 Pro Fourstroke power. Steve uses the boat for both fishing and family time on the water. Read more
Congratulations to Mike Fiore, Brian Forehand, Joe Sgro and Dr. Michael Janssen in establishing all new Unlimited Vee Bottom and SV Single kilo speed records. The American Power Boat Association sanctioned the special event records for Outerlimits Powerboats. I first learned of the initial record via a Speed on the Water post early Monday. Brian (Forehand) drove and throttled the SV 43 Outerlimits, powered by twin 1650 RACE sterndrives, to a two-way average speed of 174.938 mph. The former vee bottom kilo record of 171.88 mph was set by Reggie Fountain and Ben Robertson in 2004. Fountain and Robertson drove a 42-foot Fountain on the same course as used today.
Early this morning my phone lit up with multiple messages – the first being from Mike (Fiore); post this on Facebook right away. I was ecstatic to learn Brian (Forehand) and and Joe (Sgro) made back-to-back passes of 179.500 mph and 181.422 in the SV 43 for a new APBA Unlimited Vee-Bottom kilo speed record of 180.47 mph! Reggie Fountain was top of mind since Monday. His record of 10 years is broken and not by a Fountain. His former employee was behind the wheel for multiple records and all of the action took place in front of his house. I had to call him. Read more
Here we go! Another Miami Boat Show is underway and like always, we have tons of news to share. As we celebrate Mercury’s 75th anniversary we have released our new Mercury Racing logo. The new branding celebrates our rich Racing heritage while promoting our technological leadership in high performance propulsion. All Mercury Racing sterndrive engines on display in the Mercury booth feature the new branding. As usual, we have a number of exciting new products at the show.
Our all-new 8.6L 540 sterndrive replaces the 8.2L 525 EFI. It outperforms it’s sibling in a variety of fronts. A 21 cubic inch displacement advantage enables the 540 to provide 13 percent more torque for enhanced hole shot and an additional 50 ft-lb of peak torque. It also delivers superior fuel efficiency and range compared to its 525 sibling. All this power and efficiency comes from 87 posted octane (R+M)/2, or 91 RON (global) pump gas. Digital throttle & shift replace mechanical cables – providing the operator with an intuitive control experience. The 540 complies with both EPA and CARB emissions requirements.
Also being debuted is the new Bravo One XR Sport sterndrive. The new Sport gearcase is two inches shorter than a standard Bravo or Sport Master. The gearcase shape provides enhanced hydrodynamics compared to the standard length Sport Master. Dual water pickups increase water flow for enhanced cooling in a variety of applications. The 540 on display in the Mercury booth features the new drive coupled with an integrated transom sytem (ITS). Cigarette Racing has a pair of 540s in their gorgeous 38 Top Gun VIP edition. Read more
I just got some great news from Mike Griffiths – our resident product integration expert. Mike has been helping me dial-in an assortment of props for various applications. Mike and I tested props with anglers during Mercury’s National Walleye Tournament in Fond du Lac earlier this summer. Mike claims he is not an outboard guy, but you would never know it. It didn’t take him long to transfer his sterndrive performance boat knowledge to enhance the set-up of an average outboard walleye rig.
A number of anglers were smiling after reaping the benefits of Mike’s work on their boats. Mike provided input on weight distribution, engine height, trim tab positions and of course, props. The Bravo One XS was the star wheel for Optis; the Pro Finish Bravo I FS was more often than not the wheel of choice for Pro Verado folks. Read more
Give it up for the Australians and their total domination of the 2013 Water Ski Racing World Championships! The event, held in Tenerife, Spain, concluded Sunday after four rounds of racing. Mercury Racing propulsion was the power in front of all six class world champions. As you can see, conditions were more ideal for an offshore race than ski racing.
To me – running a 21 foot boat with a QC4v 1350 stuffed between the stringers would be a handful. Racing it would another thing all together.
But to ski behind that? No thanks. I can’t imagine going as fast as they do on calm water. Ski racing in big water where your tow boat is periodically airborne? Forget about it! That takes some serious skill, stamina and pure guts!
Guy Williamson, our Service Director in Australia sent me an e-mail with the outstanding results. Read more
“M for Mercury! M for Miss GEICO! M for Magnificent!” Those were the first words from Gary Goodell upon my congratulatory call to him Monday morning regarding Miss GEICO’s convincing win last weekend in Port Huron. OPA’s bracket race rule, with a speed cap of 135 mph, puts a spotlight on driving skill and acceleration. Miss GEICO’s QC4v 1650’s are unparaled when it comes to acceleration. Time in and out of the turns were the deciding factor in this bracket race.
“The 1650s ran flawlessly. They respond and pull like no other. They are a blast to drive,” said Miss GEICO driver Marc Granet. “We enjoyed having Mike Griffiths (Mercury Racing Product Integration Manager) and (Mercury Racing Engineering Tech) Johnny Bauer with us for the weekend,”
Marc said. “It was an insightful weekend. We learned alot. The team is continuing to gel. The 1650s continue to impress us – and our competitors,” Marc exclaimed. Marc said there was one moment when they were concerned about the engines. “We we slowing down upon completing the race and I started to hear an odd rumble sound. Scotty [Begovich] heard it too. It was a few seconds later before we realized it was the roar of hundreds of fans along the Sarnia, Ontario side of the St. Clair river. The response was overwhelming!,” said Marc. Read more
Man – I love this time of year. Things are humming here at Mercury Racing. In fact – I’m so jammed – I really shouldn’t be taking the time to write this. I just couldn’t wait to share the latest news regarding our Bravo I FS propeller.
Josh couldn’t have picked a worse time to test. It was a week-long stretch of 85 degree temps and unusually high humidity. Thanks to electronic boost control, the supercharged 300 Pro Fourstroke didn’t miss a beat.
The 300 Pro Fourstroke was first rigged with a 22″ pitch Tempest Plus. The boat ran 62 mph @ 6150 rpm with full fuel, two guys and a boat load of gear. Josh then switched to the 24″ pitch FS and began his run. Over time – he was able to raise the engine by one-half inch. At that setting the boat ran 64.9 mph at 6050 rpm. The engine height, (measured from bottom of the cavitation plate to boat bottom) was 4-7/8 inches.
Whats Up Doc?
The Triton likes the Bravo I FS. Although hole shots were similar, the FS provided enhanced bow lift, faster acceleration and nearly three mile per hour gain in top-end speed. A big change – particularly when under heavy loads as Josh has demonstrated.
Thanks, Josh for taking the time out your busy schedule – and literally sweating the details in your Bravo I FS test session. We appreciate it and I know our readers will find your results useful as well.
Kevin Skiba and I just returned from the 10th annual Boyne Thunder poker run. It is rare to come off of any travel feeling refreshed. But this event was refreshing – in many ways. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Boyne City is very close to my home town of Sault Ste. Marie. Driving across Michigan’s Upper Penninsula and over the mighty Mackinac bridge brought back many memories as we made our trek to paradise. I had forgotten how beautiful the area truly is.
We were impressed by the amount of people roaming about the waterfront upon our arrival Friday afternoon. Tad Whitten said our display truck was busy from the moment he arrived. Main street was jammed with people checking out the classic cars and performance boats. It was great to see the community support an event in such a grand way. The incredible weather didn’t hurt either. Read more
“It was great to win a race in my home state,” said Terry Rinker. “I had family, friends and even former classmates cheering me on,” Terry said. Contributing Mercury Racing photographer Paul Kemiel, who lives in Michigan City, Indiana, was instrumental in bringing the excitement of outboard tunnel boat racing to LaPorte. “I’ve been involved with promoting the SBI Great Lakes Grand Prix since its inception,” said Paul. “Jason Miller, Sports Development Manager for the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, asked for my input regarding other types of powerboat racing they could bring to the area. I told them Stone Lake was a natural for F1 tunnel boats,” Paul said.
US Formula 1 Powerboat Tour President Jose Mendana worked with race organizer Jason Miller to put on the event. “The community was very excited. The amount of people who showed up for the boat parade and street party was incredible,” said Jose.
“LaPorte was phenomenal. Crowds of people were constantly by the boats asking for autographs,” said Tammy Wolf. “It was the most phenomenal North American race I’ve been to in some time,” Tammy said.
Tammy went to LaPorte to continue testing of her new Mercury OptiMax 200 XS SST race outboard powered F2 ride. She knew she wouldn’t be competitive with the higher horsepower F1 boats. “I thought I was fast until the first F1 boat blew past me! I still have my training wheels on, I’m giving the boys headaches,” said Tammy. “I don’t think they are used to girl drivers. I thought I would be one of the guys…they don’t seem to quite know what to do with me,” Tammy said. “Chris Fairchild took me under his wing and let me pit with him for the weekend,”said Tammy. “Tammy is doing great. She is still learning the differences between SST60 and F2. I thought she adapted well to the right-hand turn in LaPorte,” said Chris. Read more
It’s been a year since we introduced the Bravo I FS outboard propeller. It was originally developed for single engine four stroke outboard applications. We’ll, it didn’t take long for the word to spread regarding the prop’s performance. Folks running multiple four stroke outboard rigs started asking for right and left-hand rotation sets of the popular prop.
Being the conservative person I am, I opted to first work with a handful of people running various hull types to prove the concept before releasing the counter rotation Bravo I FS models. It took longer than I thought to get feedback from the field.
I grew frustrated because I wasn’t getting any details regarding performance results. All I would get was, “They’re great! Thanks. ” or more often than not – no news at all. It was like pulling teeth. I found out over time the props worked so well that they wanted to keep their performance secret to themselves. Eventually, I got the detailed information I was looking for and I am happy to share it with you here. Read more
Meanwhile, in the frozen tundra of Fond du Lac, people at Racing and Mercury headquarters are busy preparing for the upcoming Miami International Boat Show. Mercury has a vast array of exciting products to show and talk about. True to our Miami history, Racing will again have a few new things to share as well 🙂 Read more
Happy Holidays from all of us at Mercury Racing. I hope you had a joyous Christmas with family and friends. For those of who may have missed our Facebook Holiday Countdown, Check it out! MercFan has to have the coolest Christmas tree on the planet!
It’s hard to believe 2013 is a only few days away. I’m looking forward to a fresh start. We have some exciting things to share again in Miami and we’ll be sporting some new wheels in time for the Lake Havasu Boat Show and Desert Storm Poker Run. Lot’s of exciting things planned for the new year. In the mean time, I thought you might enjoy some more visuals from Key West.
At Mercury Racing we’re really pumped with the performance of our new Bravo I FS props. With some help from my angling friends, the application of the Bravo sterndrive prop on four stroke outboards was an instant success. We first focused on the single engine applications.
Long time friend and coworker Steve Miller, Senior Category Manager for Mercury, recently fished with Professional Musky angler Jim Saric. We gave Steve a 22″ pitch Bravo I FS for Jim to try on his Verado Pro 250 powered Ranger 620VS.
Video courtesy of Jim Saric – The Musky Hunter Television Show.
Whew! I’m just getting back to a “normal” schedule after last week’s Key West Poker Run. It was a great event. We had people at the Mercury Racing truck from the moment we unloaded our 1350 and 565 display engines through the 10:00 p.m. closing time. It was non-stop action Thursday through Saturday. It’s always fun to meet and greet folks who enjoy our products. It is equally enjoyable to establish new relationships with future customers.
This year was the 20th anniversary of the event. Stu Jones and the Florida Powerboat Club staff didn’t disappoint. This has to be the largest gathering of performance boats on earth. It is also the largest gathering of performance boat builders and dealers. Industry movers and shakers included Reggie Fountain, Randy Scism (MTI), Peter Hledin (Skater), Chad Braver (Cigarette), Todd Warner (Statement), Nils Johnson and Trond Schou (Nor-Tech), Paul Loguidice (Hustler), David Woods and Scott Shogren (Pier 57). Read more
In seeing some of the photos regarding the event, I’m thinking 99 Psycho Clowns skier, Wayne Mawer, had his own version of the epic tune going through his head. “Clowns in front of me, racers to my right – here I am….” You truly have to respect these guys for what they’ve accomplished.
Imagine racing a 21-foot boat in which our potent quad cam, four valve 1350 sterndrive takes up half of the interior! That’s gotta be a rush on its own. Now think about strapping a board under your feet and hanging on as the twin turbocharged engine, producing 1300 lb. ft. of torque, pulls you across the water at speeds never before seen from a production sterndrive. Then, throw a bunch of competitors into the mix! It takes a lot of courage and talent to race on smooth water. Now, add some messy weather. Water ski racing in the rough requires a whole new skill set. Read more
Terry repeated his 2011 performance by claiming both SST 120 and F1 OPC National Championships. He also claimed the new SST 200 OPC National Championship. The defending Mod U champ surrendered that title to Chris Fairchild.
A total 10 boats lined up for start of the SST 120 30-lap final on Sunday. Terry Rinker dominated the event, finishing an impressive 36 seconds ahead of Brent Dillard for the championship. Lee Daniel, Mark Jakob and Terry’s son Ashton rounded out 3-5. All were powered by Mercury SST 120 race outboards.
Chris Fairchild earned the pole for the F1 20-lap final. Unfortunately, mechanical gremlins took him out of the race about mid way through. “A steering cable broke at the drum at 115 mph. The boat took a hard left to the infield. The G-forces were so great, the tail cone was sucked inside the combing board,” Chris said. Thankfully, Chris was unscathed. Terry Rinker went on to romp this class too, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Mark Welch for his second consecutive F1 National Championship. Jeff Shepherd finished third. OptiMax 200XS SST powered Merv Bjork and Donny Lick rounded out 4-5 in a class featuring purpose built Mercury race outboards of much greater power. Read more
“It’s really impressive if you think about it. The new 565 provides the same performance as the 600 SCi, Mike said. Mike continued, “We were 15 mph faster than the next boat in our class. That is huge – particularly given the 565 is naturally aspirated”
Now here’s something noteworthy: 3.2 MPG on 89 octane pump gas! This is real-world, family boating experience in a new 29 Outerlimits vee bottom with Mercury Racing’s 565.
Mike Everson is the proud, new owner of this beautiful rig. And he lives near us! So, we invited Mike to Fond du Lac for some data collection on his Outerlimits. Mike Griffiths, one of our field techs, gathered some fuel consumption data on Lake Winnebago; however, Mike Everson shared his following weekend experience, too. He covered 124 miles with his family on the Mississippi River. (Hey, it’s his new boat, you would too!) He averaged 3.2 MPG over those 124 miles. Impressive.
Here is Mike Griffiths’ drier, more clinical data:
Sweet! Lake conditions limited our ability to extract the 29’s absolute top performance. (Outerlimits’ builder, Mike Fiore, noted 98 MPH top end back at the factory.) However, 93 MPH with three people and a full fuel load is respectable — especially attaining 2.7 MPG with the digital throttle held wide open! [In Darth Vader’s raspy, measured delivery…] “Impressive. Most impressive.”
Reigning SST 120 World Champion Chris Fairchild won the 2012 SST 200 UIM/APBA World Championship Sunday, July 22. The championship consists of four heats of racing at the PNC Trenton Roar on the Riveroutboard tunnel boat race, an annual event that takes place on the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan.
Chris earned a pole position by winning the one lap time trials on Saturday. His two heat race wins on Saturday and a second place finish behind Dan Orchard in Heat three on Sunday provided him enough points to clinch the championship. Dan, Donny Lick, Mark Proffitt and Jimmie Merleau rounded out 2-5 in overall championship points. All were powered by Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards.
Seven out of 10 competitors relied on OptiMax power. This was the largest gathering to date of low-emissions, 2-stroke Mercury outboards in a U.S. tunnel boat competition.
The event title was updated from SST 120 to SST 200 World Championship this year. Formula 2 competitors running the traditional Mercury SST 120 race outboard voted to separate the scoring of SST 120 and OptiMax 200XS SST powered boats for all 2012 American Power Boat Association (APBA) sanctioned events. The change makes SST 120s legal to run in SST 200 events; but an OptiMax 200XS SST is not legal and thus points are not accumulated in SST 120 competition.
The Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) would have nothing to do with the battle between the original SST 120 class and the new SST 200 class featuring Mercury’s low-emissions OptiMax technology, especially since the SST 120 is still winning races. They gave an ultimatum stating “There will be only one world championship.” Trenton race organizers decided to go with SST 200 – acknowledging OptiMax as the preferred power for Formula 2 outboard tunnel boat competition. Read more
Mercury OptiMax powered boats swept the Formula 2 competition at the 25th annual Dow Bay City River RoarSunday, June 24. A total of 13 boats lined up for the 30-lap final on the Saginaw River in Bay City, Michigan. The race was round two of the 2012 Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour.
David McCormick, crew chief for F2 winner Donny Lick gave me a play-by-play of their victorious weekend. “Chris Fairchild won the first of two qualifying heats, with Donny in second. We changed props and it was all Donny – flag-to-flag- in heat 2,” exclaimed David. Fellow OptiMax competitors Jimmie Merleau and Chris Fairchild rounded out 2-3. Donny got the pole position for Sunday’s 30-lap final – with Chris, Jimmie, Dan Orchard and Merv Bjork rounding out the top five- all with OptiMax 200s,” said David. Ruban Ascencio was the lone OptiMax driver in the remaining field along with four traditional Mercury SST 120 outboard powered boats and two F1 Sport entries (featuring carburetted 2.5 Liter Mercury outboards).
Donny lead the 30-lap final from the start with Chris Fairchild in hot pursuit. As the race wore on, traffic began to build. Donny got blocked by traffic on lap 28. Chris made a move and was successful in getting around Donny for the lead. His lead was brief, as by lap 29, he too was blocked and Donny regained the lead to capture the checkered flag. Chris, Jimmie, Merv and Dan rounded out 2-5. Chris summed up the event by saying, “Donny ran a good race. It was great to see the Optis finish strong.”
“It was just a fantastic weekend. This was my first major series win since I got into tunnel boat racing in 2000. And I just realized it was Donny’s first major F2 victory since he started back in 2006,” said David.
I had asked Donny if he had ever run in Bay City before. He rattled off the different years and blown powerheads or broken equipment that went along with them. “Thank you Mercury Racing for developing such an awesome motor. This thing just keeps running and running – we don’t really have to do anything to it. It’s much easier to run and maintain than the 120s. It’s certainly more economical; in both fuel usage and cost of ownership,” Donny said.
David McCormick was one of the early adopters of the OptiMax race engine. “We first ran the Optis three years ago. It’s been a learning curve for us. It’s taken this long for the racing community to accept it. I think the results here prove it is a viable engine. We’re excited for our next major race, the Three Rivers Regatta, July 3-4, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,” David concluded.
F1 in Black& White
Terry Rinker of Tampa, Florida dusted off his 2005 Lee tunnel boat to win the F1 competition. The field of 12 had a surprise entry with the return of veteran tunnel boat ace Tim Seebold. This was Tim’s first powerboat race in almost two years. I believe this was the first time in history a Seebold qualified for a race in an engine other than black in color and a boat that was not of their own design. Tim qualified in a V-6 Johnson powered DAC hull. A blown powerhead forced him to start last on the dock in a backup Johnson powered Seebold for the 50-lap final. His father Bill Seebold was on the radios.
I asked Terry what it was like to see Tim compete with Johnson power. “It was good to see Tim back. He’s a tough competitor, no matter what he’s driving. Chris [Fairchild] is always tough to beat as well.” Chris had similar words to say. “Terry ran a great race. I finished seven seconds behind him and 12 seconds ahead of Tim in his 3.0 Liter Johnson. I’m happy with that – given I run stock 2.5 Liter Mercury power,” Chris said. Seebold, Brian Venton and Steve Lee rounded out 3-5. All, with the exception of Seebold, were powered by Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboards.
This was Terry’s fourth Bay City victory – the last was back in 2006. “Bay City is always tough. Its just a rough race – you never know what the next lap will bring,” Terry said.
The next round for the Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour is the Roar on the River, July 20-22, Trenton Michigan.
It’s been a few months since the Miami introduction of Mercury Racing’s 565 horsepower, 8.7 liter engine. I thought I’d check in with the “early adopters” for their impressions. I suspected I would be pleased; I was right.
The universal highlights:
1) exceptional top end performance,
2) unexpectedly good fuel economy!
3) seductively smooth shift and throttle and
4) amazing time-to-plane and mid-range acceleration!
Top End. Nordic’s new 24SX catamaran, with a single 565, is routinely “over the 100 mph mark,” according to Nordic GM, Kevin Doane. Cigarette’s 38 Top Gun 90+ MPH runs, well… 90+! “Really, it’s 90++!” says Skip Braver. “It shifts like it has 1350’s,” he continued. Nor-Tech’s 420 Monte Carlo “tops 86 mph” in the words of Scott Conrad. Formula’s Miami show boat, 400 FX Super Sport, is running 63 mph for its owner (2 people, full of fuel and water). Whatever your boating preference, that is excellent performance from these engines in a wide range of boat types.
Veteran female F1 driver Marit Stromoy of Norway, who is also competing in Rouen for the first time, will campaign a Mercury S3000 powered boat in Class 3 competition.
This is Tammy’s first Rouen experience. “It is a dream come true to attend such a legendary and historical event. I never thought I would have the opportunity to compete in the toughest and most challenging tunnel boat race in the world,” said Tammy. No new comer, she’s been racing boats for over 17 years.
I asked Tammy how the team came about. “The team was chosen by Team Manager Albert Hericher (Marie’s husband) and Operations Manager Carl Kinder. They reviewed the top female tunnel boat drivers in the world and I am honored to be one who was hand-picked for this team,” Tammy said. Two-time Rouen champion Chris Fairchild has been giving her guidance over the past couple of months. “Chris taught me Rouen is not won on the first lap. The race will equally be about survival and speed. I believe a constant strong performance is needed to be successful,” said Tammy. “Driving in Rouen is an honor; finishing in Rouen is a great achievement; a podium finish will be a dream. The most incredible part of this journey is the amazing support I have had from Mercury, Peters and May, my family, friends and fans,” Tammy said. Read more
Guy Williamson from our Australian office sent me exciting news recently regarding our OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard. The latest generation of the low emissions 2-stroke made a big impact at its Australian Formula Powerboat GP debut. The second round of the national series was held April 28-30 on the Clarence River in Grafton, Australia.
In a David vs Goliath performance, The three OptiMax entries finished 2-3 and 5th in Formula 1 competition. Apparently the Australian powerboat racing governing body has not yet finished its technical inspection and rule book for the 200 h.p. engine designed for Formula 2 competition. Those wishing to race were forced to move up into the Formula 1 class and compete against 300 h.p. Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboard powered hulls. Any way you look at it, it’s an all Mercury victory.
Reigning 2011 Australian F1 champion Damien Mackenzie continued his winning streak in Grafton. Although Damien was able to fend off the pesty F2 Opti entries – three of his fellow F1 competitors weren’t so lucky. Mercury OptiMax, driven by Michael Page, finished second, just ahead of fellow Opti competitor Grant Trask in My Home Now. Gavin Simmons finished behind the two OptiMax powered entries in his Mercury 2.5 EFI race outboard powered hull. Page and Trask are now 4th and 5th in the F1 points chase – despite their running F2 class engines and missing the 2012 season opener.
Somehow, still images don’t quite convey the atmosphere of a poker run. My last post, just after Desert Storm, (and Rick Mackie’s just before) described the breadth of the activities. We posted some photos of the new boats, both on display and in the water. Nevertheless, there’s nothing quite like going on board and feeling the vibe — especially with friends.
I managed to hitch a ride with my new friend, Ken Armstrong, on board his 1350 powered 48 MTI “Phantom” for the poker run on Friday and found myself cruising at 159 mph! Hearing “Come on. Let’s go!” I wasn’t about to go back to the rental car for either my GoPro or Drift HD170 camera. So, I videoed with my Flip camera – hand held, no less. My audio sucks, but that’s a function of Ken’s stereo (complete with hydraulically actuated speaker hatches) blowing away the puny mic of my humble little camera – not Ken’s on-board sound system, which could entertain Las Vegas without leaving Lake Havasu! Read more
I had a blast at Desert Storm this year. (Or should I say “once again this year!”?) The first West Coast showing of our new 565 was at the Havasu Boat Show just last week — and we had one on display at Desert Storm’s street party and another in a 24 Nordic! And in even greater numbers than last year, Mercury Racing QC4v engines were back.
Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) had four customers’ boats with QC4v power. Marine Technology Inc‘s (MTI) 1350 powered “Phantom” 48 was pounding out tunes as well as boat speed — its twin 1350s performing dual roles of power and musical accompaniment. (I tagged along with owner, Ken Armstrong, and his crew for the poker run — and the party that seems to spring up wherever he goes. Wow! I think “Phantom” could idle on its sub-woofers alone.) And there’s more! Dr. Gabe Jasper’s brand new, bright red and silver Frisini 43 Catania catamaran with 1350’s made its desert debut as well.
Dave Hemmingson enjoys turning heads with Mercury Racing QC4v’s. At Desert Storm last year, DCB was ripping up Lake Havasu with Mike Stevenson’s stunning orange and black, 2,700 horsepower M35 Wide Body. In 2010, Gary Williams’ 1350 powered M31 recorded 176.4 mph. This year, with the same 1350s coupled to a new pair of Mercury Racing Pro-Finish CNC props, the metallic green rocket ship ran over 180 mph — on pump gas! The official speed record for a single engine boat this year? Troy Rapp’s DCB F29. Sporting a single Mercury 1350, the 29-foot cat clocked an astounding 129 mph in Saturday’s shootout! Read more
I’m fortunate to annually represent Mercury Racing at the Bass Master Classic in the Mercury booth. This year, a fisherman named Rick asked me if there was a Mercury prop that would work for him. He had recently purchased a 2012 Triton 19XS powered by an OptiMax Pro XS 200. Rick was frustrated with the performance. The sharp turns and switchbacks on the Bayou where he runs were causing his propeller to break loose. This forced him to back off the throttle, causing the boat to lose speed and drop off plane. Rick had contacted his Triton representative regarding the issue. Although they discussed various options, the rep suggested Rick continue using a three blade prop.
The performance facts that I gathered in our conversation pointed me to a Bravo I XS. I told Rick the prop is designed specifically for low-emissions 2-stroke OptiMax outboards. Rick responded, “Isn’t Bravo I a sterndrive prop?” Read more
In my previous post (Part 2) regarding high performance boat operation, I reviewed basic information on rigging fit and function. Now its time to head to the ramp.
While the boat is still on the trailer, walk around for a visual inspection of the hull. Next, climb aboard for a visual inspection of the interior and engine compartment (motor well for outboards): ensure everything is in place and secure. Don’t forget the drain plug(s)! Check your other safety accessories: aboard? In secure locations?
Once your boat is launched, review the helm to familiarize yourself with the location and function of all instruments and controls. Make sure the steering wheel, throttle and shift controls are well within your reach and that you are comfortable with their operation.
If your boat is fitted with K-Plane trim tabs, be comfortable with the location and operation of the tab trim switches. The driver needs to know the location and function of accessory switches such as bilge blower, bilge pump, running lights, horn, courtesy lights and related fuses, or circuit breakers. Read more
Spring is a great time for newbie and veteran performance boaters alike to get familiar with their craft. For starters, you should review your owners manuals — really, you should — and review the key components of your new boat.
Performance boats vary widely in propulsion and size. Outboards come in 20, 25 and 30-inch drive shaft lengths to accommodate a variety of applications. Mercury (and other brand) outboards are fitted with a standard gearcase for most applications. Hulls that can take advantage of the high power-to-weight ratio of a 300XS may benefit from its wide range of gearcase options. Similarly, Mercury Racing offers a variety of sterndrives for differing power capacities and hull types.
Mechanical control: High performance outboards are usually rigged with with dual steering cables, a shift cable, throttle cable and fuel line. With performance sterndrives, throttle and shift are accomplished with cables, but steering is hydraulic. These include 600 SCi and 700 SCi Mercury Racing packages.
Digital control: On Digital Throttle & Shift compatible outboards, such as the 400R and sterndrives including the 520, 540, 565, 860, 1100, 1350 and 1550 mechanical throttle and shift cables are gone — replaced with a single electronic cable. Steering is either electric (Verado) or hydraulic (MerCruiser). Read more
With Spring in the air, the timing is right to review the basics of high performance boat operation to ensure you and your passengers have a safe and enjoyable Summer on the water. We include a Guide to Hi-Performance Boat Operation with every engine we ship. We encourage new and current owners to review the book and then get some in-boat driving lessons from your local high performance dealer. Those who do not have a qualified driving instructor in their area may want to consider Tres Martin’s Performance Boat School.
Our operation guide is packed with general performance boating information including a list of descriptive terms relating to propellers, hull types and overall boat performance. Let’s first review the various performance boat hull configurations.
Florida Powerboat Club’s (FPC) Miami to Islamorada poker run follows the world’s best boat show. It’s unusually interesting because of that timing: Many of the Miami Show boats make their first outings with Stu Jones’ club. I counted eight show boats on Thursday’s wave.
OK, poker runs are about the fun, relationships and a common interest in performance boating. But my focus is mostly on our customers and their hardware (my job!)…
This year, I hitched a ride on Thursday with Derek Wachob, his family and friends. Their new 42 Cigarette Huntress is powered with five of the Mercury Racing designed 350SCi Verados! What a ride! And the sound system: young Madison sure can “shake that groove thing”! (So can Abby – and probably anyone else within about two miles.) Derek reloaded and made the trek again on Friday in his sinister black ZR 48 MTI.
What a couple of weeks! For me, the Miami Show is about the best activity one can still call work. We rolled out Racing’s new, 8.7 liter, digital throttle and shift, 565 hp propulsion package. That gave me plenty of excuses to hang out with customers of Mercury, Cigarette, Dave’s Custom Boats, Formula and Nor-Tech.
My first indication this was going to be a breakout Miami show was first thing Thursday. We had a huge gathering of media and trade professionals for our 10:05 a.m. press conference.
Kevin Grodzki was first up to unveil the Mercury 150 Fourstroke outboard for its debut appearance at the world’s largest boat show. Fred Kiekhaefer followed with his unveiling of our all-new 565 sterndrive. Both engine’s were very well received. From that point on – the show was a non-stop-go.
We had two free-standing static 565 engine displays at the show – one in the Mercury booth and one in Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) booth.
Chris Fairchild is a busy guy. His passion is powerboat racing. He’s been racing tunnel boats for over 20 years. He not only races his own boats in F1 and SST 120 classes, he also builds and repairs race engines and gearcases. He manages to do this in addition to his “real job” of building custom homes with his father, Jim. So, when he sent me pictures of his latest project, I wasn’t surprised. But it still impresses me that he accomplishes what he does with all of the things going on in his life.
A neurosurgeon approached Chris with the idea of restoring the family boat he grew up with. The boat started life as a 1959 Glass Craft Aero Dynamic Citation outboard runabout. The doctor wanted to restore the Glass Craft so he could have something to run on the river during the limited time he is “off-duty.” The challenge was the water levels are too low for traditional outboard propulsion. The doctor asked Chris if the boat could be converted to a jet boat. Chris, always up for a challenge and a journey into the unknown, said, “why not?” Read more
What started as a spectacular week in the Florida keys was clouded by tragedy: the deaths of Bob Morgan, Jeff Tillman and Joey Gratton because of individual boat blow-overs while racing in SBI’s Key West World Championships. Very sad and they will be missed. Heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of these gentlemen from all of us at Mercury Racing.
In contrast, the Florida Powerboat Club poker run from Miami to Key West was both safe and fun! Stu Jones’ event attracted over 175 entrants with more than 160 boats making the trek in four waves; one each day, Tuesday through Friday. I had the opportunity to meet many new friends and catch up with some I haven’t seen for a while. Read more
Terry and Rob Rinker enjoyed a historic Labor Day weekend in Kankakee, Ill. The father/son outboard tunnel boat racers claimed four out of ten titles at the 26th annual Outboard Performance Craft (OPC) National Championships. The event, held on the Kankakee River, is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association (APBA). Kankakee is prerequisite for any driver hoping for induction into the APBA’s Hall of Champions. Success here puts you in the record books forever.
Terry won SST 120, F1 and Mod U National Championships. I believe he is the first to capture three OPC National titles in one year. And to make the holiday weekend even sweeter, Terry’s son Robbie was crowned SST 60 National Champ. SST 120, Champ and Mod U classes feature Mercury V-6 race outboards. Outboard Marine Corporation Johnson and Evinrude race outboards are featured in SST 60 racing.
The Rinker’s record setting four class sweep is historic. The weather was as well. I’ve been to Kankakee a few times during my race support days. It was usually hot and muggy. Mother Nature brought a wild mix of weather this year. Extreme wind gusts were the greatest challenge for the lightweight tunnel race boats. Read more
First, the shootout format (for those who are unaware): Enter the one mile course at 40 mph. At the drop of a green flag, accelerate as fast as possible to the highest speed you can reach by the radar gun one mile away. Sounds simple.
Hats off to Canadian, William Tomlinson, and his 6,000 hp 50 ft Mystic turbine powered catamaran – with the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout top speed of 208 mph! Whew!!! William wins the patience contest, too, with two very clean runs…that did not trip the radar guns. That had to be frustrating. Chip Romer performed flawlessly in his 388 Skater at 191 mph. Nice driving!
However, the pump gas shootout was between American, Bob Bull, and Norwegian, Tor Staubo. Both ran 48 MTI cats (Bob had two at the event!) with twin 1350 hp Mercury Racing turbocharged engines. And both came fully armed with professionals along side: Bob carried Randy Scism, owner of MTI. Tor enlisted another world champion, Johny Tomlinson, for the sticks. Read more
You may wonder how we go about testing props. We have a number of our own outboard and sterndrive boats that we use for initial testing. Nevertheless, I’m a firm believer of getting feedback from those who use the product everyday in the real world. Recently, I wanted feedback on performance differences between our Lab Finished Bravo I and Pro Finish Bravo I XS outboard props. My target applications were Walleye and bass anglers.
I first learned Chris Fairchild won the 2011 SST 120 UIM/APBA World Championship Sunday, July 24, in a voice mail from my photographer buddy, Paul Kemiel. The championship consists of four heats of racing at the PNC Trenton Roar on the River outboard tunnel boat race, an annual event that takes place on the Detroit River in Trenton, Michigan. Chris won the event with an OptiMax 200XS SST race outboard, defeating a field of 15 boats, including defending SST 120 World Champion and fellow OptiMax competitor Jimmie Merleau.
Chris called me Monday. With a summer cold, he didn’t sound like a recently crowned champion. It was a while into our conversation before the topic of his accomplishment even came up – after a prompt from me. Read more
Kris started from the pole in a rough race. He and Jeff Reno collided going into in turn one. Neither flipped – but the incident created a gaping three foot hole on the starboard sponson of Kris’s boat.
“It was filling up with water in the turns,” said Kris. As luck would have it, the race was stopped shortly after when another competitor flipped. Chris Fairchild and 20 fellow racers and crew members worked feverishly in the pits – cover the hole with duct tape and whatever else they could find. Kris said he would have never been able to finish the race – let alone win – without their help. Read more
The 24th annual Dow Bay City River Roar tunnel boat race, round two of the 2011 Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour, concluded Sunday, June 26. And like the past 23 years – this year didn’t disappoint. Bay City, Michigan was one of my favorite stops when I followed the series’ with our outboard race support truck back in the 1990s. The Saginaw River, contained with sea walls, is always full of surprises. I’ve witnessed more blow overs and wicked barrel rolls at this race than I care to remember. Ask any driver who has experienced it and they will tell you Bay City is one of the most challenging tunnel boat races in the world.
Weather conditions this year were near perfect. It was sunny all weekend- with temps in the mid 60s during testing on Friday, warming up to a comfortable mid 70s on Saturday for qualify and low 80s for the final races on Sunday. The winds picked up at race time, creating a rough chop against the current.
Miami, Florida native Shaun Torrente has always been an exciting driver to watch. At 32, he is a young, skillful driver who isn’t afraid to take chances. That personality trait can make the difference between winning and second place. it can also mean the difference between winning and not finishing. Shaun has matured as a driver since I last saw him race. He is now competing on the UIM F1H2O Formula 1 circuit for Peters & May Racing, with race experiences throughout Europe as well as Qatar and Portugal. Read more
Happy Memorial Day! The U.S. holiday brings with it a flood of emotions. First and foremost, it is a time to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
The holiday also marks the start of summer. And this year – God knows – summer can’t come soon enough. In Wisconsin – we can whine and cry about our wet, cold Spring or what seems more like the Winter that won’t end. But, with the exception of a few areas, we have escaped unscathed compared to the destruction experienced in the South, the earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, New Zealand floods, and other areas affected by mother nature. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by recent storms and natural disasters.
I love summer. I think most people do. Believe it or not – I don’t currently own a boat. But the combination of a VERY long Winter and cold, wet Spring has me yearning to get on the water. I look forward to taking my seven year old son fishing, swimming, tubing, and just enjoy our time on the water. Spending time with my son brings fond memories of myself growing up in Michigan and spending the summers at our family cottage on Lake Superior. I look forward to warmer weather and enjoying outdoor fun with friends and family. I’m sure you are as well.
Randy Davis, owner of Nordic Boats, idles by Card Stop #2 during the 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run. This was the maiden voyage of Randy’s new Nordic 43 Enforcer catamaran – and, clearly, he was both impressed and delighted. It is powered with Mercury Racing’s 1350 engine and M8 drive packages. As nice as this boat runs and accelerates, I can’t help but be amazed by the idle quality of its quad cam, four valve engines.
As Randy’s crew glided by for their card, I wanted to capture the engines’ sound. Everybody else aboard just wanted to banter. I guess some people are normal, but I’m an unapologetic engine geek. Nevertheless, I caught some of the idle sound. Johnny B did a great job on the engine calibration! It just purred. Randy’s team did a very tidy installation! The 43 Enforcer’s beauty belies its intense performance.
For wide open engine sound, see and hear the pass by video footage on DCB’s M31 (Gary’s green one) and M35 (Mike’s orange one) and the fleet of 48 MTI’s (Derek’s black one; Bob’s more-or-less orange one and Albert’s uh, very colorful one)! I love the desert colors!
Thursday was the fifth annual Desert Storm Street Party. This was the largest gathering of high performance boats, marine propulsion and tow vehicles ever assembled. McCulloch Boulevard was jammed with displays on both sides of the street for more than a mile. Our Mercury Racing truck was parked in a prime location — perfect for one old gear-head. He looked up from his wheelchair at our QC4v 1100 and said, “Lord Jesus, have mercy.” Gotta be the quote of the day. Read more
The 2011 Miami Boat Show was a great success. Almost everyone in the industry was upbeat. Deals were made, boats were sold and Mercury Racing propulsion was featured in numerous boats at the show – including eight 1350 powered boats!
We hit the ground early on Thursday, Feb. 17, opening day. Fred Kiekhaefer got things rolling with a 10:15 a..m. press conference in the Mercury booth where he unveiled the new 1100 sterndrive.
Fred assisted Cigarette Racing later Thursday evening with the unveiling of the new 42X Ducati boat featuring Mercury Racing’s new 1100 engines coupled to NXT #6 SSM drives.
Dave Hemmingson is stoked. His company, Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB) in El Cajon, California is the first West Coast OEM boat builder to experience our new 1350 sterndrive engine packages. See Fred Kiekhaefer’s post Halloween Party at Dave’s where he documents the October 27 shipment of the DCB engines.
Mike Griffiths, one of our installation specialists, traveled to DCB to assist with the initial install of the engines in a 31M Wide Body.
Mike met up with the DCB team in Lake Havasu City, Arizona after the Thanksgiving Holiday. He arrived armed with an array of our new Pro Finish 5-blade CNC Cleaver props for the December 2nd sea trials. You have to “sea” the sea trial videos, below! Read more
I just got off the phone with Randy Scism at Marine Technology, Inc., (MTI). They first tested Bob Bull’s Mercury Racing 1350 powered MTI 48 Race/Pleasure Thursday, October 21 near the MTI facility. Mercury Racing Product Integration Manager, Mike Griffiths, worked closely with MTI in this, the first install of 1350s in a catamaran and the first 1350 install for the Wentzville, Missouri based company.
The installation went very smoothly – culminating with the on-water test Thursday. Test time was limited due to water conditions and the need to transport the boat to Florida. It will be on static display in the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, at Pier 57/MTI in-water slips October 28-Nov 1. Read more