It’s hard to believe a year has passed and the 2013 Miami Boat Show is underway. We’ve experienced some major events since our last visit to South Beach. Fred Kiekhaefer has moved on after 22 years of service. With Fred’s departure, Erik Christiansen has been named General Manager. Fred will continue to represent Mercury Racing over the next two years. In fact, he’s at the show. If your there, be sure to stop by the Mercury booth and say hello. Erik and our staff of sales, service and engineering personnel are there to support the brand as well.
I decided to forgo the show this year to be with my son. I’ll miss seeing everyone and the exciting new products being unveiled. Jay Nichols has ensured me he will keep me abreast of the action via his acclaimed photography.
Some of you may be aware of the rumor mill started a while back when Powerboat Nation posted a story speculating we were going to release a 1700 h.p. engine. The story featured a dated 1350 model shot. Erik squashed all rumors when he unveiled the all-new 1650 RACE sterndrive. Based on our exclusive quad cam, four valve 1350, this monster features new pistons, larger turbos and requires 112 AKI race fuel.
So there, PB Nation. You were correct in that – yes – we did release a higher power engine based on our exclusive quad cam, four valve engine platform. You were off on the power and color, however. And no, this is not your father’s poker run engine. It is a race engine that is sold, without warranty, to qualified powerboat racing professionals. I’ll make sure you get a press kit:)
Pump Gas Deception Ploy
Today’s release, to some, is no surprise. It certainly isn’t a surprise to Bob Bull. Bob helped validate the engine. In fact, he won the 2011 Superboat Unlimited Offshore World Championship with a set. He and MTI put up some impressive numbers with it at the 2011 LOTO shootout as well! All of these accomplishments were done without any indication regarding the true nature of the beasts beneath the hatches.
Word on the street (and water) via creative marketing was, “1350s won this and that….on pump gas!” Of course there were hard core enthusiasts who were on to us. One whiff of the fumes as the boat left the dock pretty much gave it away. You sure those are stock 1350s? What’s that smell? Smell? What smell? It’s pump gas, baby! Yep. It was….from a pump at the airport! But hey, that’s marketing and true to our heritage. Loose lips sink ships – and product development too. So now here it is for all to see, touch, and smell. We’ll, you may have to wait a bit to smell as the exhaust is sealed on the display motor:(
Green with Envy
In conjunction with the unveiling, we’re proud to announce Six time World Champion Miss Geico Racing – Team USA will be the the first team to run the 1650 RACE engines for the 2013 race season. Mercury Racing and Miss Geico Racing have come to a co-branding agreement which is founded on the team’s purchase of Mercury Racng 1650 engines and Mercury Racing CNC Cleaver Propellers. Miss Geico pilots Marc Granet and Scott Begovich are pumped. “We experienced what the engines are capable of first hand after witnessing Bob Bull’s explosive speed in his 2011 World Championship run,” said Marc. “Not since Dave Scott’s Mercury powered Budweiser team has a piston boat challenged Miss Geico’s massive speed,” Marc said. We suspect Miss Geico and others racing that week were green with envy regarding the capabilities of this package.
An unfortunate fire and total loss of the turbine Miss Geico last year forced the team to scramble for a back-up boat to finish the season. They chose Mercury 1075 SCis for power. They knew they wouldn’t be competitive but they were confident they would finish each race and finish the season with dignity. After numerous phone conversations between myself and Marc Granet, the team decided to stick with piston power and asked if we could help.
Being a marketing guy – I’m all about brand exposure. I highly respect Geico’s creative marketing. Miss Geico has a following that is analogous to what the Miss Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane had in it’s day. The Geico message is about safety and protection – very positive and very family orientated.
In our discussions, Marc and I have come to the conclusion our interests, goals and objectives are very similar. Geico and Mercury Racing working together on and off the race course is beneficial for the sport, for the industry and for all of the people both companies touch throughout the world.
Congratulations Erik and my associates in another successful Miami product launch. Congratulations Team Geico on your new power! We suspect it will be your competitors who are now Green with Envy.