OptiMax Powers Fairchild to SST 120 UIM/APBA World Championship

Photos:Paul Kemiel Photographics

2011 UIM/APBA SST 120 World Champ Chris Fairchild in low level flight over the Detroit River.

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

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Oddities & Rarities – Part 3: Race Power

How many outboards can you lay down in a boat?

Maybe this should be “Part 3 through # n” — since few things are odder or rarer than “one-offs” tried in pursuit of a speed record or race victory. Still, some stand tall above others in sheer audacity. Here are some outboards with an identity crisis.

While it ran, it was fast! Count ’em – six sets of exhaust pipes!

Because of the high power to weight ratio of a Merc 2-stroke powerhead, it was inevitable that Mercury Racing’s Fred Hauenstein would lay some outboard engines down on their sides in his Arcadian Unlimted U-86 and go after inboard hydroplane competitors. Read more

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