By now, most adrenaline-seeking boaters and Mercury Racing fans have heard about the supercharged 450R product announcement. And, while the noise about the news is still loud, there’s even more to share.
The guest experience during Mercury Racing’s 450R introductory event in Nashville included an on-water demo day where boat builders, their customers, media and more captured first glimpses and took breathtaking rides on eight boats powered by the 450R. This Poker Run-style trip on the water began in downtown Nashville, passed through the locks, headed up the Cumberland River, and included three stops on Old Hickory Lake.
At the event’s conclusion at Blue Turtle Bay Marina, poker hands were dealt in exchange for chips collected along the run, and the highest hand was secured by Mr. Mark Tysinger of Hampton, VA. To celebrate the win, Mercury Racing made a $5,000 donation on behalf of Mr. Tysinger to Operation Stand Down Tennessee.
Founded in 1993, Operation Stand Down Tennessee is a non-profit organization that provides Tennessee-based veterans and their families resources focused on transition, employment, housing, benefits, peer engagement, volunteerism and connection to the community. Its goal is to engage, equip and empower veterans and it employs 45 staff members – 65% of whom are veterans. The organization is supported by federal grants, fundraising events and donor gifts such as the $5,00 donation from Mercury Racing.
There’s not much in the on-water speed world that can top and introduction of a company’s fastest, most powerful engine . . . unless it’s a company announcing its fastest, most powerful product launch and pausing to give thanks and support to the men and women who make possible its pursuit of wide-open freedom.
To learn more about Operation Stand Down Tennessee, please visit osdtn.org or call (615) 248-1981.
Roadster Shop swept the Road America Concours d’Elegance event July 20 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, by finishing 1-2 for best builds in the American Muscle class. A total of 18 cars were entered. Concours d’Elegance is a French term that means a “competition of elegance” and refers to an event where prestigious vehicles are displayed and judged.
Designed, developed and manufactured in-house, the Mercury Racing 32-Valve DOHC SB4 7.0 engine adapts our proven high-performance valve train to a customized LS-based cylinder block that produces a staggering 750 naturally aspirated horsepower. Mercury Racing’s advanced four-valve cylinder head combustion system and dual overhead camshaft valve train provide superior performance and durability compared to a standard two-valve design. The Pontiac 2 + 2 was completed just in time for the Nationals. Barry has not yet taken delivery. He is very anxious to do so.
Barry is a self-proclaimed car nut. He has been one all his life. His father being a used-car dealer while Barry was growing up may have something to do with that. Barry got his first car at the ripe old age of 14. His first new car, a 1963 Chevy Impala Super Sport, was purchased at age 16. Barry would purchase his third car, a Pontiac 2 + 2, at 19. It was very similar to his latest Roadster Shop project car.
Barry owned a steel-fabrication business for 40 years. While his career and raising a family limited his street rod hobby, his work continually refined his eye for quality steel fabrication – something he would appreciate at a whole new level in the future with Roadster Shop.
Barry has known Roadster Shop owners Jeremy and Phil Gerber and their father and company founder – the late Neal Gerber – a very long time. In fact, Barry was their first customer. His first car, a 1932 Ford Dearborn Deuce Roadster, was delivered on his 60th birthday. The award-winning ’65 Pontiac 2 + 2 is his sixth Roadster Shop project car.
“Neal and his sons started the business out of what was a very small hot rod shop. In 10 years, Roadster Shop has grown from an unknown entity to the top of their game in the high-end custom-car business. Their mix of old-world hand-craftsmanship with modern technology is unparalleled in the street rod business,” said Barry.
From early childhood, Barry established a pattern in regard to car ownership. He doesn’t seem to hang onto them for more than three years. About a year and a half ago Barry began reminiscing about the Pontiac 2 + 2 ride he had in his late teens. He became obsessed with the process of building cars, which he compares with building a custom home. As he expressed, “The fun is in the building part.”
Barry said the uniqueness of the Mercury Racing SB4 engine sparked an interest as well. He began to wonder what it would be like to stick the naturally aspirated 7.0-Liter small block SB4 in a big, beautiful car. During my phone conversation with him, it didn’t take long for me to realize that, once he commits to something, Barry is full-in with laser focus on every aspect of the build process.
2 + 2 (4 CAM)
Not only is Barry passionate, he has a wealth of automotive historical knowledge as well. He told me Ferrari was the first to use the 2 + 2 moniker. It means 2 seats plus 2 seats – a reference to driver and passenger bucket seats in front, matched with bucket style seating in the back. He also told me Ferrari used V-12 four-cam engines in the ’60s. Porsche also used four-cam engines in the ’60s. Both are rare and very difficult to find today. Knowing the rarity of the four-cam engines was another draw for Barry toward the Quad Cam Four Valve SB4 engine. The 4-CAM moniker on the car pays tribute to the technology. The “4 CAM” Wisconsin vanity license plate pays tribute to the birthplace of the SB4 under the hood.
Back to the Future
In the ’60s, Pontiac was known as the performance arm of General Motors. John DeLorean, creator of the famed stainless-steel DeLorean supercar featured in the Back to the Future movies, was the division CEO. The 2 + 2 was more of a performance sedan, while the GTO was the big seller for muscle-car enthusiasts. One thing that set the 2 +2 apart (well known by Pontiac purists) is the unique eight-lug wheels. Developed in 1960 and in use through 1968, the eight-lug wheels incorporated a one-piece casting that integrated the brake drum at the rear of the wheel. The casting was finned to keep the brake drums cool. Not only were the finned eight-lug wheels functional, they were also a timeless work of art. Even though the GTO stole the show in terms of sales, the larger 2 + 2 held its own. MotorTrend ran a feature article on a shootout pairing the Pontiac 2 + 2 with a Ferrari. The results were very, very close.
Attention to Detail
Barry wanted the car to retain its classic elegance with new technology.
“The mission was to retain the car’s original looks but update every mechanical component to modern standards,” said Barry.
The 2 + 2 is extremely well built – much more perfect than the original could ever aspire to be. The interior, custom built by Avant Garde Design, is an art form on a whole new level. The quality level of fit and finish is impeccable. The interior space, seats, dashboard, trim and headliner are covered in fine leather. The center console is milled out of three-quarter-inch aluminum milled to perfection. You won’t find a single screw in the entire interior.
Roadster Shop re-engineered and rebuilt the complete vehicle to have all the conveniences of a modern automobile. The only original pieces in the car are the door hinges. The chassis, differential, suspension, transmission, wiring, steering column and brakes are all new. The car features a custom Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis and high-performance suspension. The SB4 is coupled to a Tremec T56 six-speed transmission. Roadster Shop even built custom stainless-steel headers and a complete exhaust system. A C & R Racing radiator keeps the SB4 cool as it runs through the gears up to its 8000-rpm rev limit. Even the door latches, while retaining the original aesthetics, are new with modern latching mechanisms. The SB4 styling has been revised with custom powder-blue paint to match the original factory engine color. The spark plug wires and engine cover add to the era-correct aesthetics.
Barry was so enamored with the eight-lug wheels that he had the originals scanned and replicated to perfection. And here’s an interesting fact: The original wheels were 14 inches in diameter and 6 inches wide. The new disc-brake rotors alone are 14 inches in diameter. Massive Pilot Sport 295/35 19 (front) and 335/30 20 (rear) tires are mounted on the all-new wheels.
We are very proud to have our SB4 automotive crate engine the power of choice in these award-winning vehicles. We are anxious to get Barry’s feedback upon his first trip behind the wheel of his teenage dream car restored and resurrected for the modern era.
Nick Petersen and I just returned from the 16th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run, July 12-13. Nick is our Propeller Specialist and Project Manager. What a spectacular experience on every level!
The event has grown to be one of the most popular poker runs in the country. Boat count has grown from 85 in 2010 to 120 this year. Activities began Friday, July 12 with the annual Boyne Thunder Stroll the Streets event. Our Mercury Racing Experience truck was front and center at the intersection of Main and Lake Street. The weather was just perfect. People traffic through the truck was non-stop throughout the evening. The all-new 450R outboard was the star of the show. The Cold Fusion White Rear Tie-Bar cat model and a cut-a-way display of the same model in Phantom Black were leading topics of conversation and backdrops for social media selfie pics.
The most common question was “how much.” When we responded that MSRP ranges from $53K-$64K, depending on the model, the common response was, “that’s what we thought.” Warranty and fuel requirements were also a hot topic. Consumers and boat builder partners were pleased to learn the 450R runs on 89-octane fuel and is backed by a three-year factory warranty, with up to five years of Mercury Product Protection available.
Nick and I got to participate in the poker run on Saturday with Florida Powerboat Club founder Stu Jones and his family in Project 1080, Stu’s Resto Mod Cigarette 38 Top Gun powered by twin Mercury Racing 540 sterndrives. This was a special treat: It was Nick’s first visit to Boyne, and my first time to do the entire run. We were in the first flight of boats; It was exhilarating to come on plane with a number of like-size performance boats as we progressed down Lake Charlevoix toward Lake Michigan.
The 145-mile run includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs and Bay Harbor, and a lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix. Lake Michigan served up two to four-foot seas – quite forgiving considering what she is capable of producing.
It was great to see so many of our industry friends supporting the event onsite. Speed on the Water’s Pete Boden was behind the lens, photographing all of the action from a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter. Nor-Tech sales rep Terry Sobo made the trip with a new boat in tow for delivery to an ecstatic customer. American Custom Marine owner and Mercury Racing dealer Mike Knoblock represented us well with the Racing Experience Truck parked in front of his customer-appreciation event Thursday evening, with Racing banners visible for all to see.
Mike capped the event by splashing an all-new Nor-Tech 390 Sport center console with triple 450Rs. The new owner ran with Mike on the 390’s maiden voyage over the Pure Michigan waters. “I can tell it’s fast, Stu said, “that thing passed us like we were standing still.”
It’s always great to hang out with Speedboat Magazine’s Ray Lee and Todd Taylor. Michigan based Skater rep Tony Cutsuries was impressed with seeing the 450Rs in person for the first time.
It was nice catching up with Dan Kleitz of Outerlimits; he’s eternally pleasant and upbeat. Doc Jansen is living the Racing brand – running Wide Open as much as possible in his Dual Calibration 1550/1350 powered Outerlimits. It was fun to see former- offshore-racer-turned-poker-run-enthusiast Rick Bowling and his 1350-powered Gone Again Talon catamaran. It was Rick’s and Ray Lee’s first Boyne Thunder experience, and both were impressed.
The three major benefactors of Boyne Thunder are the Main Street program, Camp Quality, and Challenge Mountain.
The Main Street program’s mission focuses on maintaining a vibrant downtown while preserving its historical heritage and supporting sustainable projects. Some of the projects that people enjoy are Stroll the Streets on Friday nights, the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday throughout the year, a pedestrian and bicycle friendly downtown, and façade improvement grants for local businesses.
Since it began, Boyne Thunder has raised more than $500,000 for Camp Quality, a nonprofit organization that provides special experiences and support for children with cancer.
Challenge Mountain is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching and improving lives for the mentally and physically challenged through outdoor recreation. All donated dollars to Challenge Mountain go directly to support winter and summer programs including skiing, biking, canoeing, kayaking and sailing.
“What makes Boyne Thunder special is the number of volunteers that pitch in to make the event run smoothly. Most all of the volunteers have a connection to one of the benefactor organizations but come together to work on the event and promote the event’s mission, not their own. Each of our committee members handle various components of the event and work with those volunteers in their areas and with great communication, we have found this business model works for us,” said event organizer and Boyne Thunder Board Chairmen Bob Alger.
Mercury Racing is honored to be associated with events such as this, where the entire poker run event staff is voluntary. No egos. No hidden agendas. Just a community event focused on promoting the sport we love which in turn supports a great cause.
The Rock Aqua Jays water ski team has repowered its flagship tow boat with triple Mercury Racing 4.6-Liter V8 300R FourStroke outboards for the 2019 season. Founded in 1961, the Janesville, Wisconsin-based team has won 20 national water-skiing titles since 1975. They were the first amateur team to build three-tier, four-tier and five-tier pyramids. They also hold the Guinness World Record for the largest human pyramid on skis.
The new 300Rs replace 3.2-Liter V6 Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS outboards. The new 300R-powered rig made its debut June 15-16 at the 2019 season opener in Warsaw, Indiana, during the City of Lakes Invitational. The engines delivered – powering a first place overall and a sweep of all box scores. The win was important, as Warsaw will be the site of the D1 National Championship, August 9-11.
Rock Aqua Jays Vice President Kevin Ostermeier is ecstatic with the new 300Rs.
“As expected, the amount of raw power and torque brought to the water is unbelievable,” said Ostermeier. “When pulling 14-plus bare-footers with the OptiMax 300XS outboards, driver Bob Brockman would bring up the throttles a touch more as they stepped off to compensate for increased drag. With the 300Rs, the boat has ZERO hesitation as we all step off.”
“It didn’t take long for us to realize no throttle adjustment is necessary with these stump pullers. As for our large pyramids with bigger loads (40-plus skiers) that we’ve pulled so far, we’ve preferred a slower troll-out speed than normal to start the entire group, knowing the engines can pull us out from the deep with ease. The 300Rs are always hungry for more.”
Our June 18th launch of the all-new Mercury Racing 450R FourStroke outboard in Nashville, Tennessee, was unprecedented on so many levels. In my 30 years of service at Racing, this three-day event was off the charts in terms of scale, quality and exposure.
Activities began June 17th with a reception and dinner for select global marine-industry media at Blake Shelton’s Ole Red restaurant bar. Racing General Manager Stuart Halley and Mercury Marine President Chris Drees addressed the group upon the unveiling. Needless to say, gasps from the crowd were audible upon the drop of the drapes. The crowd was then subdued – listening intently as Stuart presented details of the new product – the result of three years of development by the Mercury Racing engineering team. Stuart concluded his presentation with a video that highlighted some of the boats the media would experience the following morning.
We dodged inclement weather for the most part to get all the demos in. To say the least, all 450R-powered boats – from the sporty cats to the six-engine Cigarette Tirranna – made huge impressions.
Following the mid-afternoon departure Tuesday of our media guests, we switched gears to prepare for the arrival of our boat-builder partners and their guests. Product displays at Ole Red were moved to the main level where Stuart would share the stage with The Royal Hounds – Racing’s outstanding house band for this iconic global launch.
All The World’s A Stage
Kendra Sommer, star of Cruisin’ With Kendra, transmitted all of the excitement of the launch via a live stream on the Mercury Racing Facebook Page. The crowd went wild upon the unveiling and, like the night before , listened intently as Stuart listed and explained the product details. The energy in the room was palpable. I don’t think there was a single individual who didn’t get his or her picture taken with one of the the three 450R product displays. We couldn’t wait for our builders and their guests to experience the product.
Mercury product integration personnel drove the boats up the Cumberland River for an on-water display in downtown Nashville Tuesday evening.
Wednesday morning, guests were shuttled from the hotel to the river for breakfast, where Steve Miller, director of Racing’s marketing, sales & service, presented a mandatory safety meeting prior to their departure.
The first 15-mile leg included “locking through” to Old Hickory Lake where we stopped for lunch at Blue Turtle Marina. A mini poker poker run took place afterward, during which participants on all nine boats made stops to capture collectible Mercury Racing poker chips.
And the Winner is…
Formula Boats guest Mark Tysinger collected the winning hand for the poker run. Mark redirected his $5,000 winnings to Operation Stand-Down Tennessee, a nonprofit veteran’s services organization. Mark also received a framed Nashville 2019 450R commemorative poster.
We want to thank Tennessee Powerboat Club representatives Justin Lucas and Chad Collier for all of their help in organizing our poker run. They were an immense support, volunteering their time in ensuring it was the great success that it was. We want to also thank TPC members who provided their boats and time for our designated poker chip stops.
We enjoyed our time in Nashville. It was great to see our media friends, boat-builder partners and their guests enjoy themselves as they experienced the all-new 450R in music city. I have many memorable moments in my career – this one tops the list.
The success of any business starts with the people who work there. That is particularly true here at Mercury Racing. Our employees are highly skilled, extremely passionate and dedicated to their work. We rely on schools that provide technical training to secure a skilled workforce for the future.
One such program that caught our eye is the Lomira Robotics Club, in Lomira, Wisconsin. Established in January of 2017, the club provides students hands-on training to gain a better understanding regarding robot construction. To enhance their experience – the students elected to enter their projects into a robotics tournament. Competition accelerates student learning and provides them exposure to students from other schools and their associated robotics programs. Two middle school teams and one high school team, each comprising of four students were entered.
The season began in June 2018. All team members participated in a five-week summer school program to develop a greater understanding of programming and engineering design. Robot construction to build prototypes and develop code began in September.
Turning Point, the theme of the 2019 Robotics games, requires robots to flip and raise caps, turn flags by shooting balls, and climb platforms. VEX Robotics has over 20,000 teams representing more than 50 countries competing around the world. All three teams from Lomira qualified for the Wisconsin VEX Robotics Championship, March 3-4 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Master Minds, consisting of eighth-grade students, stood out in the skills competition for their programming and driver performance. Their 11th place finish qualified them for both the U.S. Open Robotics Championship and the World Championship. In the general game, they reached the quarterfinals of their division with their robots placing in the top three for the state of Wisconsin.
Mercury Racing supported the program with a $4,000 donation to assist with expenses associated with the VEX World Championship tournament.
The Master Minds had a fantastic run at the VEX World Championship Tournament, April 24-27 in Louisville, Kentucky. Their 11-3 overall finish placed them in the quarterfinals for their division and in the top 32 middle-school robots in the world.
“The tournament was filled with great opportunities for our team to network with outstanding engineers from middle through collegiate levels, representing bright minds from across the world,” said team mentor Chris Keiler, Lomira School District director of pupil services.
Lomira Middle School Science Teacher Blake Bogenhagen, who also serves as a team mentor said, “We are proud of the hard work, dedication, and accomplishments of all of our robotics teams, and appreciate the partnership from companies like Mercury Racing to help make these real-world experiences happen.”
Mercury Racing was glad to be involved in a supporting role.
“Mercury Racing is proud of the Lomira Robotics Club and their accomplishments, particularly because it’s such a young program,” said Mercury Racing General Manager Stuart Halley. “We support these programs in hopes of attracting the talent to support our business and the surrounding communities in the future.”
We are excited to get back out on the road with our Mercury Racing Experience truck. The truck got a much needed face lift with an all new wrap promoting our new Mercury Racing brand positioning featuring the Wide Open slogan. The first stop on our 2019 Wide Open Experience Tour is the April 5-7 Lake Havasu Boat Show in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
The Mercury Racing Experience Truck is a rolling showroom staffed with personnel to represent our full line of high performance propulsion products. National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and Propeller Specialist and Project Manager Nick Petersen will be available to answer questions regarding Mercury Racing products and programs throughout the boat show weekend.
Mercury Racing is revved up for another big Miami International Boat Show with the release of exciting new products and revised positioning of our iconic brand.
The all-new 1100 Competition engine was an instant crowd pleaser upon its unveiling this morning in the Mercury booth. Developed exclusively for the newly formed APBA Offshore Championship series, the 9.0-liter engine features Mercury Racing’s exclusive aluminum four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train. Read more
Dr. William Fox caught the automotive bug at the ripe old age of 6 when his grandfather built him an electric go-cart. He would study cars and call out their unique features when traveling with his parents. He particularly had a passion for classic cars. His personal goal was to have his dream car by the age of 40. He wanted to have something that was unique, had enough room for the kids and was fun to drive.
Dr. Fox reviewed several classic cars, but his criteria narrowed his search to the Chevrolet Chevelle. He was particularly attracted to the ’66 model – a perfect blend of styling that became an icon for the beginning of the muscle car age. “The knife-like front edge screams muscle. It has just enough of an edge to it yet comes across as a family sedan – a sleeper at the stop light,” said Dr. Fox.
Dr. Fox is having a blast in his dream machine. It’s his daily commute to work. It is a conversation piece at traffic lights, parking lots and drive-throughs. One thing he hasn’t done yet – to the chagrin of his son – is to provide him a ride to school so he can be the envy of classmates and teachers alike. Come on Dad – just once?
We are there in force with factory reps supporting both events. Mercury Racing QC4 sterndrives compete in the Superboat Unlimited class, while the legacy 300XS outboards are featured propulsion for stock outboard competitors. The race format entails three days of racing: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Class championships are awarded to those with the greatest number of points earned throughout the week.
Best Hand Wins
Over 90% of the Key West Poker Run participants rely on Mercury Racing propulsion. That is an impressive stat considering a record 215 boats are registered for this year’s event. The engine mix ranges from our legacy two-stroke 300XS outboard to the Dual Calibration QC4 1550 sterndrive. The 400R is by far the most popular outboard – the power of choice for high-performance catamarans and center consoles.
“It’s truly amazing how the sport continues to evolve with new technology. We could never have imagined Verados from Mercury and Mercury Racing would account for 50% of our poker run fleet!” said FPC founder Stu Jones.
I reached out to Stu to get his input regarding the state of the club and performance boating in general.
“It just keeps getting more and more exciting … as new blood comes to our membership roster, and I continue to meet people from across the country and around the globe.”
“There’s a passion among these people that drives me and keeps me focused on running some of the biggest and safest poker run events in the country. I strive to work with other organizers as well, so we can achieve a common goal of growing our sport and bring new blood to performance boating.”
“Technological advancements have greatly enhanced the user experience. The boats are going farther, skipping fuel stops, and completing the poker run every time. Our attrition numbers for a typical run are down to single digits, which is something that we would never think possible. I’m having a real hard time giving away the broken propeller award because everybody seems to get there now.”
“We appreciate the continued support from Mercury Racing … which recognizes the importance of the sport and the lifestyle that it gives to so many people. Our 26th Key West Poker Run is underway with a fantastic start, beautiful weather in the Keys.”
FPC’s poker run village, located at Conch Republic Sea Food Company will be hopping into the weekend with participants and fans alike checking out the awesome hardware on display from various performance boat builders and associated vendors.
Resto Mod Cigarette
Project 1080, the FPC’s Resto Mod pace boat, is on static display in the Cigarette booth at the Key West Poker Run village. The Cigarette booth is adjacent to our Mercury Racing Experience Truck display.
The boat is flanked with display panels featuring a timeline of the restoration project as well as FPC’s 25-year history, along with the history of the legendary Cigarette brand.
Mercury Racing Experience
Our Experience Truck will be packed with exciting product displays and our factory reps will be eager to talk about them. Featured products include the versatile Dual Calibration 1350/1100 sterndrive, the all-new V-8 4.6L 300R FourStroke outboard and 400R cutaway outboard display.
For those of you lucky enough to be in Key West, be sure to stock up on Official Mercury Racing Merchandise – available for purchase at the Racing truck. Merchandise will be sold Thursday through Saturday.
Triple Mercury Racing outboards pulled a total of 80 water skiers for a Guinness World Record for the largest human pyramid on skis. The record was set August 18th in Janesville, Wisconsin by the Rock Aqua Jays water ski team with the help of two additional Wisconsin based teams. Joining the Rock Aqua Jays were skiers from the Aquanuts team from Twin Lakes and the Webfooters, based in Fremont.
A total of 80 skiers in multiple four-tier pyramids traveled 1,148 feet – about twice the distance necessary to officially surpass the existing 64-skier record. About a year of training and practice preceded the world-record attempt, and more than 2,000 spectators witnessed the accomplishment.
The skiers were pulled from the dock area by a pair of tandem boats powered by Mercury Racing OptiMax 300XS outboards. Once the skiers reached open water, the lead boat released; the pyramid then came together and the record run was accomplished behind a single boat powered by triple OptiMax 300XS outboards. All outboards on both boats were equipped with Mercury four-blade 15-pitch Revolution propellers.
“Mercury Racing has a long and storied history of breaking records and raising the bar,” said Steve Miller, director of marketing, sales and service at Mercury Racing. “This was a perfect opportunity to yet again demonstrate what our products and the people who design and build them are capable of.
“We were thrilled to do it all over again with such a wonderful and dedicated group of athletes, and we extend our congratulations on this amazing achievement.”
The skiers initially broke the existing record with a 70-skier pyramid, then added 10 more individuals on a subsequent run to establish the 80-skier record. Guinness officially confirmed the record within two weeks.
“This world record could not have been possible without our friends at Mercury Racing,” said Kevin Ostermeier, who was responsible for putting together the world-record attempt. “The power and reliability are there when we need it, regardless of what they’re pulling!”
The Rock Aqua Jays, founded in 1961, have won 20 national water skiing titles since 1975. They were the first amateur team to build three-tier, four-tier and five-tier pyramids.
“This record shows how passion, talent, and teamwork can come together in a common goal to execute a remarkable feat,” said Ostermeier.
We are very excited to reveal Roadster Shop’s gorgeous ’66 Chevelle muscle car featuring our SB4 7.0 automotive crate engine.
Designed, developed and manufactured in-house, the 32-Valve DOHC SB4 7.0 engine adapts our proven high-performance valve train to a customized LS-based cylinder block that produces a staggering 750 naturally aspirated horsepower. Mercury Racing’s advanced four-valve cylinder head combustion system and dual overhead camshaft valve train provide significantly improved performance and durability compared to a standard two-valve design.
Roadster Shop is the exclusive SB4 distributor. The Mundelein, Illinois based company has been an automotive aftermarket industry mainstay in performance chassis fabrication and custom car building for over 30 years.
The project started with a call from Roadster Shop customer William Fox. William wanted to build a muscle car, something to compete with any late model European sports car. While reviewing available engine/power options William was intrigued by the new SB4 for its high rpm operating band and naturally aspirated, 750 horsepower.
The SB4 Chevelle qualified as a Roadster Shop “Survivor Series” build; a car that arrives clean in its original condition. The body is stock with the exception of some minor work to the transmission tunnel, and firewall. The paint, which ironically is very close to our Mercury Racing Blue, is original as are the chrome bumpers.
This iconic American muscle car has all the conveniences of a modern automobile. Roadster Shop re-engineered and rebuilt the complete vehicle. All new wiring and plumbing was installed. It features a custom Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis and high performance suspension. The SB4 is coupled to a Tremec/Bowler T56 6-speed transmission. Roadster Shop even built custom stainless steel headers and a complete exhaust system. Massive 345/40/19 (rear) and 265/40/18 (front) tires are mounted on all-new RS OE-2 wheels. A C& R Racing radiator keeps the SB4 cool as it runs through the gears up to its 8000 rpm rev limit.
The interior is updated with sound deadening material, modern instrumentation, cruise control, sound system and power windows. Recaro Expert seats provide support for the driver and passengers to comfortably experience the SB4’s full capabilities.
Roadster Shop debuted the SB4 Chevelle at the Goodguys 2018 PPG Nationals, July 6-8 in Columbus, Ohio. Roadster Shop personnel and fans alike were blown away with the SB4’s smooth idle and user friendly running qualities.
“This is by far the smoothest, cleanest performing engine we have ever used. It feels like its not even trying to make all of that power, almost effortless. The smoothness is noticeable throughout the entire rpm range, from idle to 8,000 rpm,” said Roadster Shop director of business development Josh Henning.
“This package really does a number on your senses. It gives you an organic analog connection to the car with a smooth powerband to create a hybrid muscle car/super car experience like we have never felt before.”
We are excited to see what Roadster Shop has planned next for the SB4. You can be assured it will be the baddest build in its class.
Greetings from Key West! We are here to support and celebrate the Florida Powerboat Club’s 25th anniversary Key West Poker Run. We are proud to again be the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event which has over 180 registered poker teams from around the globe taking the 170 mile scenic tour from Miami to Key West.
“Congratulations to Stu, Jackie and the entire Florida Powerboat Club on 25 years of this signature poker run. You have set the bar for safe, well organized events and we are honored to be affiliated with such a quality organization. We wish you many more years of success;” Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen.
Mercury Racing Experience
The Mercury Racing Experience Truck is again a featured display in the Poker Run Village.
Factory reps will be on hand to answer questions and provide details regarding our Race to Repower program. Scott Reichow is available to provide advise regarding propeller applications.
Get you Race Gear Here!
Official Mercury Racing Merchandise is available for purchase. Don’t miss out! Quantities are limited. The Experience truck and merchandise tent will be open 3 pm to 10 pm Thursday; 10 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday.
Greetings from the Las Vegas Convention Center – home of the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. We are excited to promote our new SB4 7.0 (Small Block Four Valve) automotive aftermarket crate engine. The SB4 earned two Global Media Awards upon its 2016 SEMA debut. Read more
We are pleased to announce we have partnered with Roadster Shop of Mundelein, Ill., for the distribution of our SB4 7.0 (small-block, four-valve) automotive aftermarket crate engine. The announcement comes one day prior to the opening of the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The show runs October 31 through November 3.
The 32-Valve DOHC SB4 7.0 engine adapts Mercury Racing’s proven high-performance valve train to a customized LS-based engine that produces a staggering 750 naturally aspirated horsepower. Mercury Racing’s advanced four-valve cylinder head combustion system and dual overhead camshaft valve train provide significantly improved performance and durability compared to a standard two-valve design.
Roadster Shop has been an industry mainstay in performance chassis fabrication and custom car building for over 30 years. It produces innovative, performance-based vehicle-specific chassis & suspension components for top tier street rods, trucks and pro-touring muscle cars. The Mercury Racing SB4, available for immediate delivery, offers Roadster Shop customers a turnkey, fully calibrated high-performance engine package.
“Being avid powerboaters for three generations, we are extremely familiar with Mercury Racing’s offshore marine products and the incredible rigors they are built to withstand while maintaining top-level performance. We are excited to partner with a company that can provide that level of durability in a 750 HP automotive engine package,” said Jeremy Gerber, Roadster Shop vice president of operations.
Roadster Shop owner Phil Gerber agreed.
“We are excited to partner with Mercury Racing on bringing the SB4 engine to the hot rod industry.” “The SB4 is an incredibly unique package that fits perfectly with the direction of high-end custom cars being built today. This engine will certainly be a game-changer and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of it.”
The feelings from Mercury Racing are mutual.
“We are excited to partner with Roadster Shop,” said our General Manager Erik Christiansen. “They are highly respected and passionate veterans of the automotive aftermarket industry. Our capabilities are complementary and we appreciate their approach to providing innovative, high-quality products and services.”
Roadster Shop’s C07 Central Hall booth features a Mercury Racing SB4 engine is fitted in their all-new RS4R – a full independent front suspension, 4WD chassis developed for 1966-77 Ford Bronco SUVs. Designed and developed in-house, the custom chassis offers 12″ travel in the front and 13″ in the rear. Dual rate springs, combined with 2.5″ Fox Factory series twin tube bypass shocks and coilovers optimize ride quality and overall performance.
The RS4R is configured to accept Coyote/6R80 or LS/4L80 drive train packages with an Atlas 2 Speed transfer case. The design allows the use of 285 series tires and +17″ wheels on all four corners without the need for fender mods.
Be sure to stop by the Mercury Racing Experience Truck to see the all-new QC4 860 sterndrive and 400R Carbon Edition outboard. Factory reps supporting the event include National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and Performance Propeller Manager Scott Reichow. Mercury service rep Chris Moore is set to answer service related questions. Nick Petersen will complete his Mercury Racing Propeller summer intern experience at LOTO.
Be sure to ask our team about the unprecedented Race to Repower program which features a cash rebate, free DTS rigging kit and Zero Effort Control with the purchase of a 520, 540 or 565 sterndrive engine package. The program offer expires December 31.
The Mercury Racing Experience continues on Thursday with the Marine Technology customer appreciation event. Outerlimits’ customer appreciation event follows on Friday. Our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths will represent Mercury Racing at both events.
Mobile marketing trucks for Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine will be on site for the Friday evening “Boats on Main” Block Party, and at the Grand Prix Fan Fest Saturday and Sunday in Centennial Park.
“We have a rich racing heritage with Sarasota, one of the founding U.S. offshore powerboat racing sites,” said Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen. “We are excited to return in support of the Grand Prix, the community, and of course Powerboat P1.”
“Mercury Marine is thrilled to team up with Mercury Racing to support the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix in 2017,” said Michelle Dauchy, chief marketing officer for Mercury Marine. “The Grand Prix is all about power, and no one in boating knows more about power than Mercury and Mercury Racing. This is going to be a spectacular event for the racers and the crowd!”
“Having a strong brand like Mercury involved with the 33rd Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is extremely exciting and supports our future growth and global recognition,” said Lucy Nicandri, executive director for Suncoast Charities for Children. “Mercury has been an outstanding partner, not only for the Festival, but also to Suncoast Charities for Children.”
“The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix is without doubt one of the outstanding weekends of the P1 SuperStock race season. Two action packed days of racing on the 1st and 2nd July right off Lido Beach will be watched by tens of thousands of spectators,” said Powerboat P1 USA managing director Azam Rangoonwala. “Mercury’s support is a testament to the growth of the sport as well as the festival. P1 believes that it’s Grand Prix events are an ideal platform for the marine industry to display their products and engage with the fans on and off the water.”
Mercury Racing Experience
The Mercury Racing Experience truck features an array of high-performance marine engine displays, including a 300XS outboard, the exclusive power for the P1 SuperStock Championship series. The 300XS,featuring a potent V-6 powerhead coupled with a robust midsection fitted with a heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly and race-proven Sport Master gearcase, is designed to endure the harsh offshore racing environment. Handcrafted precision-matched Mercury Racing propellers ensure that each boat realizes its maximum performance.
The Mercury Edge truck is a mobile testimonial to Mercury’s competitive advantages with a portfolio of recreational products designed to excel in the harsh saltwater environment. Included in the truck’s displays are:
A working simulator of Mercury’s industry-leading Joystick Piloting for Outboards system, including Skyhook digital anchor and Active Trim automatic trimming system.
Cutaway of the speedy 115 Pro XS outboard – a version of the 115hp FourStroke that features extra speed.
Mercury’s industry-leading anti-corrosion protection system, including the technology that allows Mercury to provide the industry’s only three-year anti-corrosion warranty.
Mercury product experts will be available to answer questions regarding all Mercury products.
Also representing Mercury Marine at the festival’s Friendliest Catch – a kids fishing tournament held in conjunction with the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix event – will be Capt. Don Dingman, host of the television series Hook the Future the past 15 years. On Hook the Future, Dingman takes kids fishing around the globe and enables them to experience world-class fishing while instilling the values of being good stewards of our environment. Since 2005, Captain Don also has hosted Kids Fishing Clinics at major boat shows and events across the Southeast U.S.
Race to be Cool!
Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine are combining forces to make this an event to remember. Fans can stop by either truck to enter to win a demo ride in the P1 SuperStock official pace boat or a YETI cooler. Winners of the demo ride will take part in the event by waving the race “start” and “checkered” flags! Also featured at the trucks are a T-shirt giveaway, free sun screen and other promotional items.
The Mercury Racing Experience truck is located just West of the intersection of Querio Street and McCulloch Boulevard in what is one of the world’s greatest collection of high performance powerboats and tow vehicles.
Mercury Racing factory reps are eager to talk about our full range of high performance propulsion, including the all new – naturally aspirated QC4v 860 sterndrive and 400R Carbon Edition outboard.
We will be showing our integrated helm controls and the latest in VesselView touch screen monitors as well.
Propeller Specialist Scott Reichow is educating consumers and industry partners on everything they need to know about Mercury Racing Propellers.
She’s Worth it!
Our Race to Repower promotion, featuring unprecedented deals on 520, 540 and 565 sterndrives, is available for those who are ready to freshen up their favorite hull with new power.
This is the perfect opportunity to update not only power but also user friendly digital controls. Today’s motors offer greater displacement when compared to the 8.2 Liter 500 carb, 500 EFI, 525 EFI and 575 SCi engines they are replacing.) This results with enhanced hole shot, mid range punch and improved overall efficiency and boat performance. Be sure ask our experts about this limited time offer. She’s worth it!
Power Up and Chill Out!
Qualified prospects who take a brief survey while visiting the Mercury Racing truck will get a free Mercury Racing visor. Visor quantities are limited so be sure to get to the truck early. Survey respondents will also be entered to win our grand prize; a custom 30 quart Mercury Racing Pelican cooler with matching 32-ounce tumblers.
Go Boldly with Mercury Racing Merchandise
Mercury Racing merchandise is available to purchase throughout the event. We have a full array of items for guys and gals.
Make sure to snag a souvenoir event T-shirt as well as Race to Repower and QC4v Experience Ts. All are limited quantities. Get yours before they run out!
We are very excited to sign on as the presenting sponsor of the Powerboat P1 SuperStock outboard racing series for the 2017 season. The one-design, single-engine race series features identically rigged 28-foot P1 Panther vee-bottom race boats.
The venerable Mercury Racing 300XS outboard is the exclusive power for the 2017 Spectre P1 SuperStock USA Championship. The low emissions, 2-stroke engine replaces Evinrude E-TEC outboards. The 300XS, featuring a potent V-6 powerhead coupled to a robust mid-section fitted with a heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly and race-proven Sport Master gearcase, is designed to endure the harsh offshore racing environment. Handcrafted-precision matched Mercury Racing Propellers will ensure that each boat realizes its maximum performance.
“The performance of the P1 Panther with the 300XS is outstanding. Acceleration and top speed are dramatically improved, and the tracking and handling is crisp and nimble. It’s like a new boat,” said Spectre P1 SuperStock USA Championship spokesperson Martin Sanborn.
“Partnerships are at the heart of our P1 business and our new alliance with Mercury Racing, the acknowledged leader in the marine high performance industry, is testimony to the growth and stature of the P1 SuperStock series,” said Powerboat P1 USA Managing Director Azam Rangoonwala.
“Our association with Mercury Racing brings a wealth of experience and reliability, and we are confident that this move will generate even greater interest in our national championship,” Azam said.
“Powerboat P1 is a rich part of our racing heritage” said Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen.
“We are excited to feature our 300XS outboard in this highly competitive one-design racing environment, where setup and skill is key to winning,” Erik added.
The 2017 P1 SuperStock USA Championship season kicks off May 20 in St. Cloud, Fla. The complete schedule is as follows:
We are promoting our Race to Repowerprogram featuring unprecedented deals on Mercury Racing 520, 540 and 565 sterndrive engine packages. We will be providing a review of our new products as well as highlights of the repower program throughout the weekend.
Mercury Racing Experience Presentation Schedule:
Friday, April 7: 2 pm
Saturday, April 8: 1 pm and 4 pm
Sunday, April 9: 1 pm
Attendees, who take a brief repower survey, will be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $500 grand prize; a 30 quart Mercury Racing Pelican cooler with four matching 32 ounce tumblers. In addition, a limited quantity of Mercury Racing visors will be handed out at the conclusion of each presentation.
The grand prize winner will be announced Wednesday, April 12.
This is the year to power up your ride with fresh Mercury Racing power. She’s Worth it!
Greetings from Miami! We just unleashed a number of exciting new products at the Miami Boat Show. Two new members have been added to the game changing QC4v sterndrive family. The power range now extends from 860 h.p. to an astounding 1750 h.p.! We’ve also added an exotic model to our popular 400R outboard family. And, a new surface piercing propeller, designed exclusively for 400R consumer performance outboards and the 400 ROS competition outboard, is produced on the same state-of-the-art CNC machines used to mill Mercury Racing’s legendary five and six blade sterndrive cleaver propellers.
All New 860 Sterndrive
Designed, developed and manufactured in-house, the naturally aspirated QC4v (quad cam four valve) 860 sterndrive features Mercury Racing’s exclusive aluminum four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train. These quad cam, four-valve heads are integrated with Racing’s proprietary 9.0 Liter V-8 cylinder block, packed with Mercury Racing designed and specified hardware.
The 860 shares all of the high performance running qualities of its turbocharged siblings. Rear-facing ram horn intakes direct induction noise rearward for enhanced power and to reduce cockpit noise for a more pleasant boating experience.
The 860 is backed by an unprecedented 2-year warranty for recreational boating.
400R Carbon Edition
We are very proud to reveal the 400R Carbon Edition, an exotic high performance Verado outboard featuring contemporary layered surfacing sculpted out of lightweight carbon fiber composite.
Carbon Edition 400Rs share all of the industry leading performance characteristics and creature comforts of its Phantom Black and Cold Fusion White 400R siblings, while providing a an even higher level of luxury with this bold, aggressive visual treatment.
CNC Outboard Cleaver
Designed exclusively for 400R consumer performance outboards and the 400 ROS competition outboard, the precision machined five blade CNC Outboard Cleaver Propeller is designed to maximize top-end speed on performance hulls powered by 400R and 400 ROS outboards fitted with the Mercury Racing Sport Master gearcase.
Game Changing Power for Offshore Powerboat Racing Competitors
Our new QC4v 1750 Competition sterndrive raises the bar of offshore powerboat racing. Producing an astounding one thousand seven hundred and fifty horsepower, the most powerful engine ever produced by Mercury Racing offers massive torque for unmatched acceleration and top-end speeds.
The 1750 sports a bold new color package which differentiates it from its consumer QC4v siblings.
Miami marks the public debut of an all new Mercury Racing Propellers display. The state-of-the-art display represents our full range of high performance outboard and sterndrive props. The show also marks the public debut of an all-new video. The Artisans features the talented men who who handcraft each Mercury Racing propeller to precision tuned works of art. An enhanced Mercury Racing Propellers website is coming soon as well.
Bold New Sterndrive Graphics
Bold new sterndrive graphics for the full line of XR, M6 and M8 drives are represented on our in booth static displays.
An all new cut-a-away QC4v 1550 sterndrive display is sure to be a conversation piece throughout the show.
Race to Repower
Our Race to Repower promotion continues through June 30. A program Point of Sale poster on prominent display next to the 540 sterndrive engine display.
MPP For Three!
Our MPP For Three! extended coverage program continues in support of all 400R models. The program expires July 1.
Whew! I’m spent and the show has just begun! Be sure to follow our Facebook live broadcasts through Saturday!
By raising the engine a couple of holes from the factory setting, we found the best prop for Steve’s setup was the 21” pitch Bravo I FS. It was like a new boat. Planing, handling and top speeds were all enhanced. One thing to note: Steve’s rig did not have a kicker motor.
This past November we set out to test two new pitch offerings for the Bravo I LT. We used Steve’s new 2016 Lund Pro-V 2075 300 Verado Pro FourStroke. The engine was set at the same height as his 2014 Lund; The anti ventilation plate is 2.5” above boat bottom. The big difference with the 2016 Lund is the addition of a 9.9 h.p. ProKicker. The added weight of the 9.9 ProKicker did slow things down with planing and top speed compared to his 2014 rig.
The goal of the test was to verify the performance of the new 19” and 19.5” pitch LTs. Planing performance, view of sight while planing, mid-range throttle response, handling in turns and top speed and engine rpm at wide open throttle were all measured.
When the water settled, we were amazed how well the 19.5″ Bravo I LT performed. It planed quicker, offered an enhanced throttle response, great handling and best top-end speed. Needless to say, I didn’t get the 19.5” pitch Bravo I LT back after the test. 🙂
We are expanding the Bravo I LT line once again in the near future by adding 28″, 28.5″ and 29″ pitch offerings. These exciting new models will bring new life to heavier go fast bass rigs such as Bullet’s 21XRS with Mercury 250 ProXS power.
Greetings from Las Vegas! We are here for the 50th Anniversary SEMA Show where we just revealed our latest automotive aftermarket crate engine, the SB4 7.0. The 32-Valve DOHC V-8 was designed, developed and manufactured in-house.
The naturally aspirated, 7.0 Liter engine features Mercury Racing’s exclusive aluminum four valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train integrated with a LS cylinder block packed with Mercury Racing designed and specified hardware.
This proven valve train, which greatly enhances engine durability over a standard two-valve design, enables the engine to produce a staggering 750 horsepower at 8000 RPM on pump fuel!
Benefits of the DOHC four-valve design versus the typical LS pushrod layout include:
Improved intake and exhaust flow enables increased engine performance
Efficient, high tumble four valve combustion
Low mass, high stiffness design reduces stresses and enables smooth high RPM operation and long life
Improved drivability due to optimized camshaft timing at comparable horsepower levels
Mercury Racing is unique in the high performance powertrain business in that we design and develop fully integrated systems. We even go as far as developing our own electrical and engine management systems. Our proprietary powertrain control module, featuring internally written software, provides the opportunity for customization and application specific needs.
The Mercury Racing SB4 7.0 was developed utilizing 3D simulations and analyses on airflow, cooling, fuel and lubrication systems. Intense finite element analysis (FEA) studies were conducted on the head, block and rotating components to ensure an efficient and reliable powertrain.
Prototype testing is where the rubber meets the road. Mercury Racing conducts fired engine, motored engine, and dynamic rig testing. Tests are conducted to calibrate engine management systems, evaluate in-cylinder combustion, and measure timing drive dynamics and torsional excitation, just to name a few. Mercury Racing people, capabilities, and facilities are recognized through ISO 9000 and EU RCD certifications.
Dressed to Thrill
SB4 7.0 engines are sold as turn-key, ready to run engines. This includes a Mercury Racing engine control system and custom styled engine cover with SB4 7.0 cover graphics. Exhaust and engine front drive components (power steering, alternator, air conditioner pump, pulleys, belts and related brackets) are not included.
An engine front drive accessories kit is available. The kit consists of the necessary brackets, fasteners, belts, idlers, and pulleys to attach components such as the power steering pump (which is included) and an alternator or air conditioning compressor (which may be sourced elsewhere).
SB4 7.0 compatible aftermarket alternator and air conditioning compressor:
AC Compressor: AC Delco ~ PN: 1522274
Alternator: Powermaster ~ PN: 58247
An Analog Gauge Interface (AGI) kit, compatible with both digital and analog gauges, is also available.
Show & Go
This is our fourth consecutive SEMA show. Our main booth, #37005, is located in the Upper South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. An SB4 7.0 is featured in their development vehicle, a mid engine Ultima GTR Supercar. The Ultima is flanked with two SB4 7.0 static displays, one fully dressed and one cutaway to reveal exclusive features. A fully dressed SB4 7.0 is also displayed in SEMA’s New Product Showcase, also in the Upper Show Hall. Edelbrock, booth #22643 Central Hall, is displaying the SB4 cylinder head they cast for us.
We are proud to display one of SpeedKore’s most popular builds to showcase our potent QC4 1650 crate engine. Deemed TANTRUM, the 1970 Dodge Charger earned a Gran Turismo award for best domestic build at SEMA last year. Speedkore’s impeccable carbon fiber work, featured throughout the car, was one of many unique highlights that caught the attention of the judges and media alike.
From there – the car was sent to Los Angeles for multiple photo sessions and video shoots – culminating with a feature on Jay Leno’s Garage. Timing is everything. Shortly after the Leno show – the Mercury Racing powered Charger was requested for filming of the next movie in the Fast & Furious franchise. TANTRUM will be seen in the upcoming Fast and Furious film – Fast8. In US theaters April 14, 2017
The legendary Cowes-Torquay-Cowes endurance powerboat race finished Sunday in what will go down as the roughest in the event’s 56-year history. Thirty two to 38 mph winds stirred up 13-19-foot seas – challenging competitors and equipment.
The 190-mile endurance race was created in 1961 by newspaper tycoon and second world war fighter pilot Sir Max Aitken after seeing the Miami-Nassau Powerboat Race that began in 1956. Sir Max proposed a similar race be staged in England between Cowes and Torquay.
Competitors began their journey on calm waters along the Solent, a 20-mile long strait that separates the Isle of Wright from mainland England. Conditions would deteriorate quickly for the 14-boat field as they left the protected waters for open ocean competition. Gale force winds – stirring up 13-19 foot seas – changed the game. Endurance of crafts and crews would be tested to their limits.
Reigning Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Champion Vector MartiniRosso, a Vector hull piloted by Peter Dredge, Simon Powell, Malcolm Crease and Jason McVicar, succumbed to technical issues after enjoying an early lead. Technical issues forced Silverline, (Drew Langdon and Giancarlo Cangiano) out of the running as well. To make matters worse, their stricken boat was then swamped by a rogue wave and sank. Thankfully, no one was injured. The crew was rescued and the boat was towed to safety.
Conditions continued to take its toll on the field. Italian entrant Tommy Racing (Maurizio Schepici and Gabriele Giambattista) and Hendricks 55 (Miles Jennings, Markus and Vincent Hendricks) were the next two competitors forced to retire. This cleared the way for eight-time UIM Class 1 World Champion Steve Curtis, with team mates Richard Carr and Paul Sinclair to power through the rough in their classic Mercury Racing 1350 powered Cougar aluminum vee-bottom hull. The team averaged 58.42 mph to win the Cowes-Torque leg of the event.
Dorian Griffith, Shelley Jory-Leigh and Will Stevens piloted Blastoff Racing, a Fountain hull powered by twin Yanmar diesels, to finish 47 minutes behind the Mercury Racing powered Cougar with Biretta Due, a Belgium Buzzi RIB piloted by Jean-Pierre Neels, Thomas Vandamme, Marijke D’Hondt and Dmitry Schiller finishing 33 minutes behind Blastoff for a third overall finish. Thunderstreak, a 53 year old hull piloted by Robin Ward and Jeff Hall finished fourth but failed to complete the course within the stated 3 hour 51 minute time limit.
Attrition brought the starting field for the trip back from Torquay to Cowes down to to four. The field would swiftly be reduced to three when an oil pressure loss forced Biretta Due out of the competition.
Steve Curtis carefully throttled the Mercury Racing 1350 powered Cougar through the huge seas and to cross the finish line in what was an emotional victory. The British racer, who had won nearly everything in the sport of offshore powerboat racing, had never won the classic endurance event. Teammate Richard Carr has followed the race since a child. Richard has always dreamed of winning the coveted Cowes event. Blastoff pilot Dorian Griffith, who had been striving to finish Cowes-Torquay-Cowes since 2008, realized his dream – with a second place finish.
To endure such rough conditions is a testament to the competitors and the propulsion that carries them through. This Cowes-Torquay-Cowes victory proves the performance, reliability and dependability built into all Mercury Racing products.
Mercury’s new 115 Pro XS fourtroke earned its “Extra Special”status capturing UIM Class 3A and 3B World Championships last week in Tvedestrand, Norway. The engine, released as a consumer model earlier this year, proved its dependability and reliability when rough seas challenged crews and their equipment. The engine joins an existing fleet of low emissions two-stroke Mercury 115 Pro XS-powered competitors as well as those powered by competitive low-emissions two-stroke outboards.
The third and final race of the 3A World Championship was a ‘nail biter’ – right down to the finish. Most thought Paul Etasse’s competitive low emissions two-stroke outboard -powered Phantom 19G Team Slaver had done enough to secure the 2016 title. Paul, who had a 300-point advantage going into Race 3 over his closest rival, Jack Bobin (Motorvated Racing), only needed to finish fifth to clinch the championship. Motorvated Racing is an identical hull as Team Slayer with exception to power. Doug Ashley Marine, a UK Mercury supplier, rigged Jack’s Phantom with the new Mercury 115 Pro XS. Read more
It’s party time! The Mercury Racing Experience truck is front and center at the Desert Storm Poker Run Street Party. Our temporary address is easy to remember…1550 McCulloch Boulevard! 🙂 We are excited to once again be a part of the largest performance boat gathering West of the Mississippi.
Performance prop guru Scott Reichow is on site to talk props and reveal our latest wheel, The Lab Finished MAX5.
Satisfy Your Drive
Performance boat builders and dealers are finding the Sport Master gearcase enables them to achieve significantly higher boat speeds by allowing Verado 400R outboards to run at higher transom heights than models fitted with a production style case. To date, maximizing efficiency of the surfacing, low water pickup gear housing had only been limited by propeller slip. Customers have been eager to find a solution to take full advantage of the Sport Master’s capabilities.
The custom five blade MAX5, developed and hand-crafted by the Mercury Racing Propeller Lab, is custom designed for single and multiple Verado 400R Sport Master applications. The Lab Finished prop provides a measurable reduction in propeller slip, (up to a staggering 12% in some applications). In fact, MAX5 props were the thrust behind Nor-Tech Powerboats’ milestone center console performance run, clocking repeatable 101 MPH top-end speeds from their quad Verado 400R powered 39-foot hull.
The 15-inch diameter prop is offered in a pitch range of 23 to 34 inches in one-half inch increments. The one-half inch pitch offerings enable engines to be dialed-in to their maximum rpm operating range for enhanced throttle response, optimized cruise fuel efficiency and top speed. The stainless steel prop features the Mercury patented Performance Vent System® (PVS). PVS® enables the user to fine-tune the amount of venting needed for quick planing. MSRP is $2048.61.
Come See for a FREE Tee!
We are so pumped about the new prop that we even had a custom promotional T-shirt made. We got a bit carried away with that and well – have a few to give away. Quantities are limited. The MAX5 Satisfy Your Drivepromotion begins at 2 p.m. Stop by the Mercury Racing Experience truck for details.
Steel Wheels Tour 2016
Desert Storm is the opening stop on our 2016 Mercury Racing Experience truck tour. The truck interior got a complete makeover during the long Wisconsin winter. We’re excited to have you stop by and check it out. We have additional display updates in the works. It will be a show stopper for sure!:)
See you in the Desert. We’ll leave the lights on! 🙂
Twin Mercury Racing 400 ROS competition outboards powered Victory Team to win the Fujairah Grand Prix, Friday, April 8 on the Gulf of Oman in Fujairah, U.A.E. The race was round one of the 2016 XCAT World Series. The event is historic in that marks the first official race victory for our venerable 400 ROS competition outboard. 2016 is the first year the new four strokes can compete and earn points in XCAT competition. All but four of the 14-boat field featured 400 ROS power! Read more
We recently received exciting news from our friends at Mercury Australia. Mercury Racing powered boats dominated the Robinvale Euston 80water ski racing event, clinching 11 victories in the Expert classes and an additional six wins in the social classes. The event took place March 12-13 on the mighty Murray River which separates New South Wales and Victoria. Check out race Recap Video.
Don Gulley (driver) and observer Kevin Boylan piloted Merc Force, a Mercury Racing QC4v 1650 powered hull with skiers Jake Tegart and Steven Rowe in tow to take top honors in the Super Class division. It would be the team’s first win in seven years. Ironically, their past win before was also at the Robinvale event. Jessica Pearse, piloting the QC4v 1350 powered 99 Pyscho Clownswith observer Daniel McMahon and skiers Codie Rigg and Steven Berry in tow, finished a respectable second in Super Class.
“It’s been a long time coming. The last time we won was here in Robinvale. I even think we are a little quicker this time around,” Don said.
Record Setting Performance
QC4v 1350s were the power behind two record setting performances. Chris Stevens (driver) and Mark Boyer (observer) piloted Pigs Arsenal, with skiers Sean Stevens and Jack Stevens in tow, to win the Unlimited Inboard Competition. They finished a full two seconds ahead of the previous record for the class.
Merc Force F1, with Trent Souwer and Christian Apps driving and observing and skiers Chelsea Blight and Ellen Jones in tow, sliced a full 11 seconds off the previous record to capture the Women’s Expert category.
Mercury powered boats claimed a clean sweep in the Under 19 Boys Expert event, with Temper 2, Master Forceand Superbad finishing one, two and three – with a two minute gap back to the next finisher. SBR and Agent Orange,both sporting Mercury motors, collected Gold and Silver in the Unlimited Outboard competitions.
OptiMax 300XS outboard power swept the F2 class competition with Enforcer, Top Gun F2 and In Strife finishing 1-3. OptiMax 300XS outboards also scored big in the highly competitive MOC contest with Hardback Racing and Hodge Marine Racing finishing 1-2. An OptiMax 250 SportXS powered Velocity Racing to win the SMOC category.
Mercury Racing also dominated the Under 19 Girls competition with Melt Downand BallisticStill,both sporting OptiMax 300XS power, finishing 1-2.
Korrupt, sporting Mercury Racing 600 SCi sterndrive engine, clinched the competitive 70 MPH competition while OptiMax 250 SportXS outboards delivered No Cash and Southern Force to claim Gold and Silver respectively in the Sub Junior Girls category.
Congratulations to all of the teams in this very impressive showing of Mercury power. I look forward to sharing more good news from our friends down under as the 2016 water ski racing season progresses.
The new DSI engine joins the U.S. Department of Defense spec diesel outboard we released in May 2015. Both models feature our exclusive spark ignition, direct fuel injected 2-stroke technology which enables them to run on readily available ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel.
The 3.0 Liter V-6 diesels, which produce 175 propshaft horsepower, share 95 percent of their components with the gasoline 2-stroke Mercury engine from which they were derived. And, with only a handful of unique parts, there are minimal additional training requirements necessary for maintenance. Read more
K-Plane trim tabs were first developed to endure the harsh environment of offshore powerboat racing.
Originally designed to endure the punishing rigors of offshore racing, K-Planes feature a strong, corrosion resistant aluminum casting with large support ribs for enhanced durability.
New for 2016, custom color options will enable boaters to color match the tabs to boat graphics and color optioned Mercury Racing NXT6 & M8 sterndrives.
Available for boats 21-feet and longer, K-Planes are available for outboard and sterndrive race boats, performance boats, center consoles, commercial, and government applications.
The Reasons Why More Performance Pleasure Boaters, Racers, and the Military Trust K-Planes over Competitive Brands:
The proven gold standard on the liquid battlefield of the offshore race circuit
They plane boats faster and keeps them level for a safer, smoother ride in a variety of conditions.
Heavy duty, corrosion resistant aluminum casting with large support ribs for unparalleled durability
Double-acting hydraulic trim cylinders maintain position and react immediately to fingertip control from the helm
Elastomer mounts on each end of the hydraulic trim cylinders dampen impact loads, eliminate free play and eliminate contact between the stainless steel pivot points for enhanced durability, trim accuracy and corrosion resistance
Electrically bonded components and large sacrificial anodes further protect the tabs from the corrosive salt water environment
Heavy-duty hydraulic trim pumps, designed specifically for K-Planes, withstand the torture of offshore power boating
Electronic trim sender enables the boater to view real-time digital images of tab trim positions at a glance via Mercury VesselView monitors and other NMEA compliant systems
12 custom color options are available to seamlessly integrate with a variety of boat graphics and color optioned Mercury Racing NXT6 & M8 drives and transoms.
Seeing is Believing.
Boats equipped with K-Plane trim tabs require a trim indicator that provides the operator an accurate, real-time reference of both drive and tab positions.
Electronic trim senders provide the option of having drive and tab trim positions displayed digitally on a variety of large, easy-to-read electronic displays, including Mercury’s latest line of VesselView monitors.
With Performance Active Trim, new performance boaters are able to enjoy properly trimmed engines with virtually no learning curve, while experienced boaters will no longer need to monitor and adjust trim upon changes in boat speed or turns.
The integrated boat speed-based engine trim system specifically for performance applications where the gearcases are running partially surfaced. This intuitive, hands-free system automatically adjusts trim angle for changes in operating conditions to maximize performance and boat handling at speeds up to 50 mph. Read more
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the heralded Miami International Boat Show. We’re excited to be part of the historic event at the all-new location at the Miami Marine Stadium & Basin. As usual, Mercury Racing has a number of exciting new products at the show.
DSI (Diesel Spark Ignition) Outboard
We’ve released yet another specialty engine for light duty commercial and military patrol boat applications; the EPA Certified DSI (Diesel Spark Ignition) Outboard. The new DSI engine joins the U.S. Department of Defense spec diesel outboard we released in May 2015. Both models feature Mercury Racing’s exclusive spark ignition, direct fuel injected 2-stroke technology which enables them to run on readily available ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. Read more
Shortly after my post regarding Team Abu Dhabi winning the Class 1 Offshore World Championship – I had learned another Mercury powered boat had captured the Class 1 V World Powerboat Championship on the same weekend. That is newsworthy on its own. However – what is even more enticing is the boat is a 42-foot Fountain poker run hull powered by twin 700 SCi sterndrives. What’s more, the father and son team of Antonio and Giuseppe Schiano, owners of Hi-Performance Italy – a prominent Mercury Racing dealer in Naples, Italy pilot the boat.
Veteran powerboat racer Antonio Schiano said they had a specific strategy in place to capture the championship. “Consistency ultimately wins races,” said Antonio.
“The first day went great. Chaudron were competitive but they ultimately failed an engine – giving us an advantage in the first race. Bernico also ran well and continued to be a threat in race two after a superior start. We decided to follow and put pressure on them. The strategy worked as they too ultimately succumbed to an engine failure that forced them out of the race,” Antonio said.
“The superior reliability of the 700 SCi sterndrives worked hand-in-glove with our consistency strategy to earn us the championship. We were perfect thanks to the wonderful work of the technicians of Hi-Performance Italy, Rosario Schiano, Vincenzo Guidone, Ciro Guide and Vincenzo Alessio, who prepared the boat and motors,” Antonio concluded.
“The goal all along was to finish 1-2. Jeff and I placed second on Wednesday (race 1). We were taken out early Friday (day 2) when Team CRC rode up on some rooster tails and ended up hitting us in turn 1, resulting with a gaping hole on the port side of the engine compartment,”Johnny said.
“On Sunday, Jeff and I were third going into the first turn. Bob (Bull) and Randy (Scism) (CMS #3) were on the inside and GEICO was on the outside. We were pinched in the middle going through the turn. Once we came out into the rough – Jeff punched and we lever looked back,” said Johnny.
“MTI and Mercury Racing make a winning combination,” were the first words from Marine Technology, Inc., owner/CEO Randy Scism when we spoke this morning.
“Triple Crown champs; Superboat Unlimited National Championship, Superboat Unlimited World Championship and Class 1 World Championship. It’s been an awesome couple of weeks,” Randy expounded. This may be the first time in history Mercury Racing has captured the triple crown.
“We had a great year,” said Team CMS #03 driver Jeff Harris. “We ran every SBI race and the Lake Race at LOTO as well. Throughout the year, the only races Johnny and I didn’t win were the ones Bob and Randy won,” Jeff said.
“The winning boats led every lap. A large part of that is the engines are so darn reliable – lap after lap – race after race. There simply are no issues and thus why the Mercury QC4vs are so dominant,” Jeff concluded.
We’ve Got Your Back
I couldn’t wait to talk to Bob Bull this morning. As you would expect – he was ecstatic. “The motors ran great in the ’52 (CMS #3). They had three races on them from the National Championships and we ran them all week in Key West as well. Good to go. No issues. They are super dependable and deliver a ton of power,” Bob said.
It was this time last year we launched our new Mercury Racing merchandise program. One of the shirt designs the vendor came up with came up with features a sublimated design. The first rendering they shared featured race boats – but the art wasn’t representative of the modern offshore performance boat. I went through my archives and found a perfect overhead shot of a CMS MTI. It’s ironic – the design is a perfect tribute to MTI for their historic Triple Crown accomplishment and to Bob and Team CMS for their winning the 2015 Superboat Unlimited National and World Championships!
Congratulations again to Team CMS and MTI for your historic race season. I’m looking forward to catching up with you over the off season to see what you have planned for next year!
This will be a Key West to remember. We just revealed our all-new ROS (Race Offshore) competition outboard, the new boss of the XCAT World Series. The engine is on display for all to see on the Mercury Racing truck in the Poker Run Village.
A sinister relative to the highly successful Verado 400R outboard, the potent 4-stroke racer makes its competition debut next weekend at the Dubai Grand Prix, round five of the 2015 XCAT World Series in Dubai, UAE. XCAT has partnered with Mercury Racing in the development of the engine that will replace the existing fleet of Mercury Racing 2-stroke 2.5L EFI race outboards.
Ronan Morgan, CEO of World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) said, “All those involved in the XCAT World Series are looking forward to the introduction of the new Mercury four stroke engines. “Not only are these environmentally friendly, they are reliable and provide a huge increase to the horsepower and torque which are essential for an action packed weekend of racing.”
“As promoters of XCAT Racing, the WPPA have had a long-standing relationship with Mercury Racing. We’ve worked closely together in the testing and development of the engine to provide the ultimate in performance and fan experience,” Mr. Morgan Added.
Mercury Racing General Manager Erik Christiansen said, “We are very excited to launch our new Race Offshore competition outboard. The venerable 2.5 EFI 2-stroke Mercury’s have been a mainstay for many years and is still a solid product. The ROS builds on that foundation while using the four stroke technology today’s market demands.”
“We worked with the WPPA to develop a strong, reliable engine that meets the new U.A.E. exhaust emissions requirements. The ROS will be homologated into the Union Internationale Motonautique technical specifications for XCAT. Next season will be a transitional year with the entire XCAT field switching to the ROS four strokes for 2017. I’m looking forward to seeing our new engine compete next weekend in Dubai,” Erik said.
The ROS features the 400R powerhead mounted on an all-new race midsection featuring the competition proven Mercury Racing heavy duty swivel clamp bracket assembly. A Sport Master gearcase transfers the ROS’s massive power to the water. And to ensure every revolution counts, we’ve developed an all-new line of CNC cleaver props specifically for the ROS.
The new XCAT ROS outboards will power the #3 X Dubai boat piloted by Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Heindi. The race will be streamed live via the XCAT World Series website.
Short in Stature – Big in Performance
By appearance alone – it is obvious this isn’t a production Verado. In fact – the similarities end at the powerhead. The AMS midsection is replaced with a billet aluminum housing. Mercury Racing developed the new midsection to lower the overall engine center of gravity. The 10-inch mid, coupled with the heavy-duty swivel clamp bracket assembly, brings the overall engine mounting height to 15 inches – matching the current 2.5 EFI configurations. The low CG, combined with solid upper and lower engine mounts, is critical for overall handling at competition speeds – particularly when powering the high perf XCAT catamarans into and out of corners.
The ROS also utilizes a remote dry sump system which holds 8L of Mercury Racing Four Stroke Oil, the same semi-synthetic 25W-50 oil used to lubricate and ensure long life in the high output QC4v sterndrive product line. A carbon fiber lower cowl conceals the transition of powerhead to midsection. The lower front cowl features dual rigging tubes, one each for fuel and electrical systems. To assist in the repower of the fleet, the ROS uses the same high pressure fuel pump, also mounted in the boat, as the existing 2-strokes.
Zero Effort Controls with Digital Trim
The ROS brings XCAT into the digital age with Mercury Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS). DTS replaces traditional throttle and shift cables with digital precision, resulting in smoother shifting and instant throttle response. Mercury Racing’s ergonomic, high-style Zero Effort® Digital controls precisely signal driver intent to the DTS equipped Mercury Racing ROS outboards. An integral power trim switch in the throttle handle provides fingertip trim control. The DTS system also features one-touch Smart Start and automatic throttle synchronization.
The Mercury Racing ROS features the XCAT World Series logo and color matched orange accent graphics. The custom graphics package is featured as a tribute to the series’ exclusivity in Mercury Racing power and their support in product development.
With the ROS comes a new line of five and six blade CNC Cleaver propellers. The Lab Finished props, featuring a high performance over the hub exhaust design, were developed specifically for surface piercing applications such as those endured in the rigors of offshore powerboat racing.
The props are rated for 400 h.p. and are available with blade rake angles of 13, 15, 18 or 21 degrees. A variety of pitch sizes are available to dial-in each hull for maximum efficiency and performance.
I can’t wait to see the new engines compete next weekend in Dubai. I expect them to make a statement – both on and off the race course!
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
The aluminum four valve head dual overhead camshaft valve train, designed and developed to integrate with General Motors LS series hardware, provides improved performance and durability versus a standard two-valve design. The head design adapts Mercury Racing’s proven high performance valve train to the robust, small block LS engine family. Read more
Our Product Integration Manager Mike Griffiths recently returned from the Thunder on The Snake jet boat races in Lewiston, Idaho. Mike was there to support a project he had been involved with for a year now; the fitment of a QC4v 1350 in a jet boat. Say what? Yes. Mike and our associates at Mercury Canada successfully installed the first QC4v 1350 coupled to a jet pump.
Spencer King, of Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada is an eight time World Jet Boat Champion. In recent times – turbine powered competitors have taken the upper hand against his 20-foot jet boat powered by a custom built 900 h.p. Ford engine. We’ve experienced a similar trend in offshore powerboat racing. The teams that could afford turbines converted – and were the ones to beat until the QC4v arrived on the scene. I will never forget Key West – I believe it was 2011 – when Bob Bull spanked a well known turbine competitor at the SBI Offshore World Championships. He passed them like they were standing still. We had a 1650 Competition on display in the poker run village. People lined up to sneak a peek and snap a photo. They couldn’t stop talking about it.
Spencer is co-owner of Kingland Ford – an automotive and Mercury Outboards dealer. He knew he needed to update his power. He also felt compelled to go with something with factory support. He contacted his resources at Mercury Canada for suggestions. That’s when Mike got the call. He didn’t hesitate to suggest QC4v 1350 power.
The 9.0 liter engine, running on 91-octane pump fuel, cranks out massive torque (1300 lb. ft. from 2500 to 5500 rpm!) The 1350 and its competition siblings have earned a reputation for both performance and durability in recreational and competitive applications.
The closest 1350 application to Spencer’s is water ski racing in Australia. There – a driver and an observer pilot a 21-foot boat, powered by a single 1350 sterndrive, to 130 mph … with skier in tow! So – in that respect – the install if a 1350 in a 20-foot boat wasn’t a stretch.
Mike committed to the project after discussing it with Spencer and Mercury Canada. Mercury Racing technicians spent the winter converting the engine for jet propulsion. “We took things off the engine that jet boats don’t need. The transmission was one of them,” Mike said.
Spencer purchased a new 22-foot Outlaw Eagle Performance Boat to make room for the 1350. He named it Sunset Shaker. Mike traveled to Outlaw Eagle in the spring to assist with the rigging.
“I went through the process of wiring the boat for the engine, water and fuel,” said Mike. Spencer fabricated a coupler to enable the 1350 to be coupled to an American Turbine jet pump.
Jet boats are piloted by a driver and navigator. Spencer’s navigator is his father Russell King. After testing and dialing-in the rig – Spencer and Russell were ready to race. They selected the 2015 World Jet Boat Championships as their first event. A total of 60 teams, representing the U.S., Canada, Mexico and New Zealand compete for 10 days – racing 550 miles through the rivers of Western Canada.
Out of the box, the 1350 powered SunsetShaker approached 130+ mph speeds. Not bad for its inaugural competition. Still – it wasn’t quite enough to squelch 1,800 h.p. turbine powered competitors capable of speeds in excess of 140 mph. Even with the power gap – they finished an impressive fourth overall.
“It’s a new boat, the engine is new to us, and just finishing these marathons is a feat,” said Spencer.
“He ran for ten days without an issue and a lot of racers took note. We’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding the 1350 following this year’s World Jet Boat Championship,” Mike said.
Spencer’s engine is coming back to Racing where our technicians will work their magic, converting it to a 1550 competition model. While that is being done – Spencer plans to make modifications to the hull – in hopes to reduce weight while enhancing the drive line in preparation for increased power.
I’m looking forward to seeing how he does at the 2016 Worlds. My guess is he’ll have people lined up to sneak a peek of the engine that beat the turbines. 🙂
The hot news from Hot Springs, Arkansas is our release of five new half-inch pitch offerings for the popular Bravo I® XS propeller. The new offerings debuted this morning at the 2015 FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) tournament.
The new half-inch pitch offerings greatly enhance the application of the XS for single engine outboard applications. The addition of half-inch pitch offerings enable bass boat and center console bay boat owners to Dial-In their engine RPM for maximum power and efficiency. The new models include 22.5″, 24.5″, 26.5″, 28.5″ and 30.5″ pitch sizes – complimenting the expansive 22 inch to to 31.5 inch pitch range.
The Bravo I XS has proven to be one of our most versatile props. It’s a natural for 2-stroke applications and now – with the Mercury patented Performance Vent System®, it is delivering unprecedented performance on single engine four stroke applications as well.
Bravo I XS Part Numbers:
Get your rig Dialed in the XS. See you authorized Mercury dealer today!
Photos Courtesy of Henri Thibault. Click to enlarge.
Mercury Racing swept the 52nd annual 24 Hours of Rouenendurance powerboat race. The race concluded Saturday, May 2nd. This was the third consecutive year race organizers diverted from the traditional April 30 start and fourth consecutive year the race was run over a two day period.
Defending champion Philippe Chiappe, with Team Nollet #1 drivers Christophe Larigot, Peter and Nelson Morin won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Chiappe and team drove their Mercury S3000 race outboard powered hull a total of 784 laps to win the event. Russian team TeamNew Star 1, with Mercury OptiMax 200XS SST power, finished a mere one lap behind Chiappe – providing race fans with one the most exciting finishes in recent Rouen history.
Team Navakart Racing #35and TeamNavakart Racing #32 finished 759 and 753 laps respectively for 3rd and 4th overall and 2-3 finish in Class 2 competition. Team Bourgeot Racing Team completed 652 laps to place fifth overall and and second in Class 3 competition. TeamPegase Racing Team and Team Autovision & Tullio Abbate rounded out 3-4 in Class 3 competition. All were powered by Mercury Racing outboards.
The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard dominated Class 1 competition, powering Arion Racing to victory with 480 laps completed. Team Magaur finished three laps behind to cinch a second place podium finish. Team Marine Inshore, Team Viking DKC and DEFI 24H Esigelecrounded out 3-5. All were powered by Mercury 60 EFI Formula Race outboards.
It’s hard to believe its been 15 years since I traveled to Rouen and witnessed Team Mercury’s historic race victory with low-emissions OptiMax outboards. Henri Thibault’s incredible photography makes me want to make a return trip to the magical French city on the River Seine to again experience this one-of-a-kind event.
In our trifecta of Miami product releases propellers are always the unsung heroes. They are often forgotten about in the glitz and glamour of media conferences and product unveilings. However, it is that polished piece of art bolted onto the leg of an outboard or sterndrive that makes or breaks an engine’s performance. Performance propeller guru Scott Reichow gets it and is continually serving niche markets with new props and or enhancements to existing models. He did just that for the Miami Boat Show with the release of the all-new Pro Finish Bravo I XC propeller as well as enhancements made to the popular Bravo I XS and Pro Max props. Read more
The 1550 features an advanced control system which enables the operator to switch engine power level via an electronic key fob.
The Race key fob turns the engine into a pure bred race machine – pumping out one thousand five hundred and fifty horsepower on 112 AKI race fuel.
The Pleasure key fob is selected when a more leisure ride is in order, creating 1350 h.p. on 91 octane (98 RON) fuel. Both fuel calibrations provide maximum torque and efficiency and are designed to optimize the engine performance at each power level.
The electronic fobs work off of Mercury’s Theft Deterrent System (TDS). The Race/Pleasure key fobs provide the operator visual cues via an interactive VesselView display.
One key fob controls the horsepower output of multiple engines. The Theft Deterrent System disables the vessel when an assigned electronic key is not engaged. The dual calibration enhances consumer value by offering essentially two engines in one; both backed by a factory warranty.
This is not just a “valet key” where the engine is detuned; this is a fully integrated control system with switchable engine control. The technology greatly enhances the boater’s experience by providing the option to switch to pump gas when in areas where 112 AKI fuel is not available or when full race performance is not desired.
Two in One
The dual calibration enhances consumer value by offering essentially two engines in one; both backed by a factory warranty.
The 1550 is the latest generation of Mercury Racing’s exclusive QC4v (quad cam four valve) engine. Designed and developed in-house, the QC4v design has revolutionized the recreational sport boat industry.
The 9.0 liter quad cam four valve (QC4v) cylinder block and head design, combined with SmartCraft Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS), provides big power with luxury-car-like drivability. With the dual calibration of the 1550, you get both a race boat and a high performance pleasure boat.
Power to the Water
The 1550 is available with robust M8R drive and the Pro Finish 5-blade 1550 CNC Cleaver propeller.
Factory Backed Warranty
The 1550 is backed with a 10 hour warranty at the 1550 power level (at 2000 RPM or above) or 1 year, whichever comes first.
After months of rumors and speculation, the all-new Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboard is a reality. It was unveiled moments ago in Miami. At a staggering 153 horsepower per liter, the 400R is the most powerful consumer outboard ever produced by Mercury and provides the highest power-to-weight of all other four stroke outboards in its class.
The 400R features a custom cold air induction system for improved air flow and power development while significantly reducing intake noise for improved sound quality.
An all-new water cooled supercharger is designed to reduce intake temperatures and significantly increase air density. This enables the engine to generate unprecedented torque and unmatched acceleration all the way from the lower end of the power band up to the 7,000 rpm maximum engine speed. Electronic knock control enables the engine to safely run on 89 octane (95 Ron) fuel when the recommended premium 91-octane (98 RON) fuel is not available to maximize performance. Read more
We’re back in Las Vegas for the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show. It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we unveiled our QC4v automotive crate engine here. Since then – we’ve received a lot of interest in the product and its capabilities. Various applications have been suggested – off road racing, drag racing and high performance street rods to name a few. 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
Happy New Year! 2014 is Mercury Marine’s 75th Anniversary. The year will be filled with a variety of exciting events to celebrate our company’s rich history. Mike Butler’s restoration of “Little Red,” a historic Mercury Twistercraft tunnel race boat, is the first in a series of stories I’ll be posting throughout the year in celebration of Mercury’s rich performance heritage.
You will not find a greater authority on Mercury’s outboard racing history than Mike. In fact, Mike is a former outboard tunnel boat racer himself. It was 39 years ago when he brought his Twister race outboard to Mercury Hi-Performance to repair damage resulting from a racing accident over the weekend. It was on this visit that Mike saw Little Red. He had asked the late Mike Goerlitz, Mercury Hi-Perf Sales Manager at the time, if he could buy it. Mr. Goerlitz turned him down. It was not for sale. Mr. Goerlitz did offer Mike a position with Hi-Perf from which he quickly accepted.
Mike is also an active pilot and long-time member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He has restored a number of historic bi-planes and his Piper Cub that he flies year round. His passion for Mercury and craftsmanship skills would meld to bring back the glory of a rare gem in the history of outboard powerboat racing. Read more
We are excited to unveil our concept QC4v crate engine this week at the 50th annual SEMA show. The A multitude of configurations are possible, fom basic long block form to ready to run engines. The project has to be one of our best kept secrets ever.
This is our first SEMA show and there is a lot to see. We brought an exotic supercar fitted with a turbocharged QC4v 1650 crate engine. The car is complimented with an equally exotic DCB M41-Wide Body catamaran sport boat powered by twin 1350 sterndrives.
An immaculate cutaway crate engine display shows the brilliantly engineered inner workings of the QC4v engine design. That is flanked by a complete QC4v 1350 and 8.2 Liter 520 sterndrive engine displays. A complete QC4v crate engine is featured in SEMA’s New Products Showcase. 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
It’s been a busy summer. Last week we introduced our new 520 sterndrive and our our new mobile marketing truck at the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri. It was developed to provide recreational boaters a low-cost option for gaining access to Mercury Racing’s exclusive group of high-performance sterndrive propulsion systems. By the response we’ve received thus far, the engine package is destined to be the power behind a variety of recreational boating applications including runabouts, sport boats and cruisers. Did I mention pontoons?
Based on the 8.2L cylinder block – the 520’s cylinder bores are punched out to 4.560″ for a total of 8.6L of displacement. The larger displacement, combined with Mercury Racing cylinder heads, multiport fuel injection and an electronic throttle body results with more torque than the 525 EFI and nearly 100 additional horsepower over MerCruiser’s 430 h.p. 8.2L MAG HO. All from 87 posted octane (R+M)/2 or (91 RON) (global) pump gas!
The 520 is our first sterndrive to be backed by a two year limited factory warranty. Robust valve train components including a hardened camshaft are used for enhanced durability. Performance cam profiles, combined with larger valves, pack more air through the engine for greater power and torque. Greater displacement, combined with enhanced airflow, results in unprecedented mid-range punch and consistent pull through the engine rpm operating range. 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
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
National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and I are traveling to Michigan later this week to attend the 10th Annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run. Tad Whitten will meet us there with the Marketing display truck.
Having grown up in Sault Ste. Marie, a few hours North of Boyne City, I have fond memories of our family ski trips to Boyne Mountain. I’m looking forward to heading back to my old stomping grounds to witness this popular run. I spoke to event promoter Mike Knoblock recently. He said the event has a maximum capacity for 85 boats, and they’ve reached that limit. He is ecstatic with the growth they have experienced over the past nine years.
Event organizer and Main Street director Hugh Conklin said, “What has made Boyne Thunder special is its relationship with Camp Quality, a nonprofit organization that provides special experiences and support for children with cancer. Since it began, Boyne Thunder has raised more than $220,000 for Camp Quality, and it has become an important part of the camp’s success.”
A new Boyne Thunder partner this year is Challenge Mountain, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching and improving lives for the mentally and physically challenged through outdoor recreation. All donated dollars to Challenge Mountain go directly to support winter and summer programs including skiing, biking, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Mercury Racing is honored to be associated with events such as this, whose main goal is to give back to the community and enrich the lives of those in need.
Boyne Thunder kicks off Friday evening with a street party. The poker runs starts 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The 140 mile run over the waters of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan includes card stops in Northport, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, and a lunch stop in downtown Charlevoix.
Quite a few of our industry friends are attending. Jay Nichols, who provided the wonderful 2012 Boyne Thunder pics featured here, is coming after much pleading and prodding from me and buddy Ron Szolack. Matt Trulio will be on hand to provide Speed on the Water readers his first had account of event highlights. Nor-Tech sales rep Terry Sobo will be making a return trip as will Michigan natives Wayne and Joe Schaldenbrand. They are bringing a fleet of Sunsation boats. Michigan is also home to Douglas Marine. There will be plenty of Skaters to wow spectators, I’m sure. We hope to catch up with Peter Hledin while we’re there.
We look forward to seeing old friends and making new friends in our neighboring state.
We’re getting stoked to head south tomorrow for the 6th Annual Texas Outlaw Challenge poker run. We’re excited to check out this unique venue. Traveling with me is our National Sales Manager Kevin Skiba and prop guru Scott Reichow. Tad Whitten is delivering our poker run village displays featuring our 1650 RACE and 565 sterndrives, an OptiMax 300XS outboard, Mercury Racing Propellers and Accessories. If you’re attending, stop by and check out our horsepower stable:) Be sure to pick up an assortment of Mercury Racing Sportswear, including the official Everything’s Big in Texas event T-shirts. Boat attendance last year was 127. They are anticipating 200 boats this year!
Event promoter Paul Robinson is excited to have our support. “Mercury Racing has been an original Outlaw Sponsor since our first event 6 years ago, Paul said. “This year they are on-site in a centerpiece display featuring their new 1650 HP engine that debuted at the Miami Boat Show. We are proud to have it make its Texas debut at our event,” said Paul.
Run to Kenny’s
Johnny O’Loughlin, driving his 1350 powered 48′ MTI, was crowned King of the Hudson after his 167 mph run last weekend in New York City. Any bets on who will be the fastest in Texas? We’ll have a good idea when the 100+ MPH Club Extreme Shootout is completed Friday morning. The first leg of the Gunslinger Poker Run & GPS Shootout takes place Friday afternoon. Apparently, the one and only stop on this short run is MTI and Mercury Racing customer Kenny Armstrong’s residence.
The main event takes place Saturday when boaters will have a choice of 11 card stops throughout Galveston Bay and Clear Lake.
Some of the Mercury powered boats registered for the event include:
“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 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:) 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.
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
It’s hard to believe the 20th Annual Key West Poker Run is upon us. We are proud to return as Presenting Sponsor of this historic performance boating event. Dave Vehrs (whose full-time job is building high performance NXT1, NXT6 and M8 drives) just texted me to let me know he has arrived safe and sound after his three-day drive from Fond du Lac to Key West in the Mercury Racing big rig. The truck will be in the Poker Run Village with exciting product displays including 1350 and 565 sterndrives and Mercury Racing Propellers and Accessories. Our poker run prizes include a set of Mercury Racing Prop Covers for the top five hands with Mercury Racing (NXT1, #6, M8) surface drive propulsion. The two best hands with outboard or Bravo sterndrive propulsion and Mercury or Mercury Racing propellers will earn a Mercury Racing Propeller Lab Finishing certificate. This will enable the winners to have a set of props blueprinted or repaired at the factory by our highly skilled craftsmen.
Officially licensed Mercury Racing merchandise will be available for purchase on-site as well. Here’s your chance to play Santa with Mercury Racing Holiday gifts. Read more
Another year is quickly approaching the finish line. It’s hard to believe two years have passed since we launched this blog and our Facebook,Twitter pages and YouTube channel. Thank you for your participation, “friend”ship, tweetness, videos and feedback.
Watermarks: The Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show marks the start of 2013 boat show season in the USA. The Performance Dock will be stocked with a variety of go-fast gems. Cigarette Racing will again be the epicenter, with Nor-Tech, Formula and Statement Marine among the performance builders featuring their latest wares. Douglas Marine is displaying in Ft. Lauderdale for the first time. They will be showing their beautiful 412 catamaran with twin 1100s. The show will also feature the return of Baja with their debut of the all-new 30 Outlaw GT. Stu Jones and the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) will ensure all are entertained and catered to Friday eventing in their annual Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show Bash.
Speaking of FPC, We are busing preparing for the 20th Annual Key West Poker Run. We are again title sponsor and look forward to being on-site at the Poker Run Village with our mobile marketing truck and crew. Mercury Racing sportswear will be available for folks wanting to get a jump start on their Christmas shopping for both naughty… and nice :). Mercury Racing engines will again be the power to beat at the Key West Offshore World Championships, happening at the same time as the poker run. And, before you know it, the Miami International Boat Show will be upon us; seems we always have something exciting there! 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”
Race and lifestyle photos courtesy of Lauri Lampén.
Union International Motonautique (UIM) crowns an Offshore 3C Champion for 2012: it’s Marcus Johnsson – again! Lauri Lampén sent us a message recently regarding his friend Marcus, winner of the UIM Offshore 3C European Championship: “Marcus is the king of the 3C class. He’s won…three UIM world championships and now got his fourth European title. All of them he’s won with Mercury Racing engines.” Hats off for Marcus: winning multiple Offshore 3C European and World Championships is no simple task! Read more
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.
The 49th annual 24 Hours of Rouenendurance powerboat race concluded 4 p.m. Rouen, France time Monday, May 28. This year, Mercury dominated the event — powering the top nine finishers: Mercury powered the top five in Class 3 (mostly Mercury S3000 race engines with a sprinkling of Evinrudes). Merc owned all of Class 2 (OptiMax 200XS SST or SST 120 power). The fourstroke Mercury’s swept the top four in Class 1 competition (Mercury, Honda and Yamaha brands).
Rouen 2012 was historic on many fronts:
1) This was the first time in recent history the race start date was changed from April 30. It was the second consecutive year the race was not run continuously for 24 hours. This year the race was stretched out to three days, with six hours of racing on Saturday, May 26; 12 hours of racing on Sunday, May 27; and the final six hours run on Monday, May 28. Racing began 3:30 p.m. local time Saturday, May 26 and ran until 9:30 p.m. Racing convened at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 27 and ran until 9:30 p.m. Racing convened again 10:00 a.m. Monday with a 4 pm finish.
2) This year also marked the first time in history an International All-Female team (Olympic Team Rouennais #24) competed in the event.
3) 2012 was the first time a Mercury fourstroke won Class 1 which has historically favored 2-stroke Yamahas.
Class 3 and Top Five
Team Pegase Humanis #8, a Mercury S3000 race outboard-powered Moore hull won the race overall and Class 3 competition. Drivers Christophe Boyard, Xavier Savin and R. Avenel completed 730 laps, 30 laps ahead of Drakkar #2. Force Inshore#18, Neptune Inshore #14, and Tech Motor Racing-Matm#16 rounded out the top five overall and in Class 3 competition. All were powered by Mercury S3000 race outboards. Read more
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 just got off the phone with our National Sales Manager, Kevin Skiba. Kevin is on his way back from Arizona after the Lake Havasu Boat Show. It sounds like the show was a resounding success. Kevin and drive technician Dave Vehrs represented Mercury Racing at the show. Other Mercury reps included Brad Hammel from Mecury Repower and West Coast Technical Area Manager Michael Scott.
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.
“Mercury customers, myself included, want to boat on clean water and in a healthy environment. Mercury Racing showcases our environmentally responsible technologies through powerboat racing and performance boating,” said Mercury Racing President, Fred Kiekhaefer.
Nico Bauduin, responsible for Mercury outboard sales in Europe and the Middle East, represented us in Dusseldorf. “Mercury has worked hard over the past few years to bring industry leading emissions compliant technology to outboard powerboat racing. We’re proud of our racing heritage. We are equally excited to be working with the UIM in the development of low-emissions entry level classes for the next generation of racing champions.”
Nico was referring to the UIM’s new Youth Development Program. The powerboat racing training program is designed to encourage youth, starting at the age of 10, to get involved in the sport of powerboat racing. The program features two classes; GT15 and GT30. Both feature a 12-1/2 foot vee-bottom hull powered by a low-emissions Mercury four stroke outboard. The GT30 boats are capable of reaching speeds up to 62 mph.
UIM president Dr. Raffaele Chiulli said, “There are lots of talented young drivers and we want to provide an opportunity for them to participate in the sport by sponsoring these boats. Also, safety took top priority when the boats were being built.”
The UIM plans to take the boats to various races and power boating events around the world for a multicultural exchange with children from every member nation of the UIM. Tobias Komm is one of the drivers to sign up for the program. The 20-year old from Dinslaken, Germany will enter his first GT30 race in April.
We admire the UIM for their commitment in the future of powerboat racing. We’re proud to be the power behind the Youth Development Program and future UIM champions.
There’s another monster quad cam four valve platform motor going together in the engineering lab at Mercury Racing. Engineering tech, Charlie Reiter is getting a pointer from R&D engineer, Steve Wynveen. These guys, and the rest of the engineering team, are always up to something interesting!
Could they be discussing another variant of Mercury Racing’s QC4v? Maybe a global emissions compliant model? Ethanol? (Naw, that stuff is poison in a marine engine.) Sure is GREEN, though!
Maybe it’s a racing engine? Just imagine if we really turned up the wick. What if we ran it on race gas? Sure a lot of speculation about that. But why? Bob Bull’s 1350 powered 48 MTI turned in the fastest lap time of all the boats in Key West — including the turbine.
Perhaps they’re just testing components. Or paint (maybe we have too much “Hulkin’ Green” in inventory). Another endurance engine? Not glamorous, but we do a lot of that kind of testing around here, too.
I guess I’ll have to ask our Engineering Director, Erik Christiansen. Wait, at the Lake of the Ozarks shoot-out and again at the Key West races, he already told interviewers, “We don’t discuss new developments.(Sounds like something I’ve said.) Mum’s the word.” (Sounds like something my dad would have said.)
So, speculate. First, we’re flattered. Second, maybe you’re right. Maybe not. Third, maybe you will plant a seed. Fourth, the Miami Boat Show is just around the corner (February16); Mercury Racing often presents new products in Miami. This year will be no exception. Anyway, we will not say what’s next until we are ready. So please, don’t expect an answer before February 16, 2012.
Here we go. The Holidays are upon us. I’ll be busy in the coming weeks wrapping up projects including the 2012 Mercury Racing Wall Calendars (shipments are set for next week), finalizing 2012 marketing plans and attending to other unfinished business.
For me, the Holidays are the calm before the storm. I try to enjoy time with family and friends. One of my favorite parts of this time of year is catching up with dealers, boat builders, racers and consumers. I’m thankful for the many wonderful people I’ve met and become friends with over the years.
This is also my busiest and most stressful time of year. For over 20 years, the months of December and January are etched in my brain as “boat show prep time.” The Miami Int’l Boat Show is our a largest show. It serves us well in terms of connecting with our customers from around the globe. The Los Angeles show enables us to connect with our West Coast customers. 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
I’m excited about our title sponsorship of this week’s Key West Poker Run. Over 160 boats are registered for the Florida Powerboat Club (FPC) event. The poker run features four flights of boats running from Miami to Key West. Departures begin Tuesday and run through Friday. This year is proving to be one of the largest turnouts ever.
Dave Vhers (see On The Road Again) left Fond du Lac Saturday for Key West in the Mercury Racing mobile marketing truck. The truck will be set-up in the Poker Run Village with exciting product displays including a 1100 sterndrive, a 525 EFI with the Stage 1 X-haust Noise Reducer system and a Mercury Racing Propeller/Accessories display. We will debut our new Power & Propulsion full-line product catalog at the event as well. Poker run participants will receive a variety Mercury Racing branded items in the official event “goody bag.” Read more
Fort Lauderdale boat show: where to start? First, I spent more time in conversations than taking pictures.
My friend and 1350 customer, Derek Wachob (Black “Z48 Corvette” MTI), was on the performance dock when I arrived. Pier 57’s David Woods was working the Cigarette display. PR maven, Marilyn DeMartini, had Skip Braver engaged in a video interview with Wealth Magazine aboard Cigarette’s new, 39 center console fishing boat.
Cigarette’s European dealer, Marcel, always the gentleman, was politely grilling me about 1350 emissions and noise. “When may I have [QC4v] for the European Union market?” Easy questions; difficult answers: “It is difficult meeting low CO emissions of the European Recreational Craft Directive…blah, blah… But we’re working…blah, blah…” Seriously, we are working to comply with the EU RCD with the QC4v platform, but that’s all I will say for now.
Center consoles seemed to appear everywhere. The trend looks more intended for catching a good time than a big fish. Susan Patterson was eager to show off her new 44 Concept center console fish boat. Concept had (arguably) the most fishable of the new center consoles.
While both Cigarette and Concept center consoles’ lounge areas were comfortable, none had more relaxing ones than Trond Schou’s new Nor-Tech. With a 10 foot beam, the foredeck lounge area can accommodate two people taking a nap — and seven people watching them sleep.
Sunsation’s new 36 vee bottom displayed one of the most beautifully detailed engine rooms – brimming with twin 700 SCi power — whether the hatch was open or closed (through plexiglas hatch ports).
It was a good, fun boat show! Then the sky opened for two days.
The Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show is underway. Fred Kiekhaefer is there visiting with our boat builder partners and our customers on the “performance dock” at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.
I’m encouraged with the number of new boats being unveiled at this show. Of particular interest to me is the outboard center console market. Everyone is getting into the game. Some exciting products are coming from Cigarette, Deep Impact, Statement Marine, Nor-Tech and Sunsation.
I’ve compiled a list of performance builders I’m aware of that are displaying boats at the show.
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
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
I am excited about the growing popularity of Mercury’s 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard. The engine, which is built at Mercury’s outboard manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China, was originally designed for the Mercury FormulaFour outboard tunnel boat racing series: That Scandinavian series, featuring one-design 14-foot tunnel race boats powered by a production Mercury 60 h.p. four stroke, was originated by Brunswick Marine Sweden and their dealer, Mikael Frode’.
The 60 EFI FormulaRace outboard features a production 60 h.p. four stroke powerhead mounted on a 15″ (381 mm) mid section with solid engine mounts. Power is transferred to the water via a 1.83:1 gearcase and Mercury Racing Lab Finished T.E. Cleaver prop.
The engine first earned its stripes (and hot graphics ) racing at the legendary 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race where it competes in Class 1. Historically, Yamaha wins Class 1 racing because their 2-stroke engines are closest in spec with the class maximum 850 CC displacement rule. However, the four stroke Mercury has been moving up in position since it’s 2004 Rouen debut, with a podium finish this year (see the blog Half-Rouen!). Read more
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!
24 “Half-Hours” of Rouen is in books. The race concluded 4 p.m. Rouen, France time Sunday, May 1. Mercury dominated the 48th annual event, winning overall, as well as Class 3 and Class 2. (See Same Planet, Another 24 Hours) for class designations. Mercury powered boats swept the top 12 positions and powered 22 out of 28 competitors.
Rouen 2011 was historic in that it was the first time the race was not started with the intention of running a continuous 24 hours. Race officials changed the format this year, running the race for a total of 12 hours over two days to avoid racing overnight. The change was made in response to a tragic accident that took place last year. This year, racing started 2 p.m. local time Saturday, April 30 and ran until 8:00 p.m. Racing convened at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 1, with a 4 p.m. finish. Read more
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
As I write this, the 2011 Desert Storm Poker Run is in full swing. Another form of performance boats will gather later this week across the Atlantic ocean for the 48th annual 24 Hours of Rouen endurance powerboat race in Rouen, France. The world’s most grueling outboard powerboat race begins 4:00 p.m. Rouen time Saturday, April 30. Rouen tests man and machine as boats run non-stop for 24 hours on the Seine River.
The race features three classes of outboard powered tunnel hull race boats. Class 1 competition features engines with a maximum displacement of 850 cc (60-80 h.p.). This class is populated with Yamaha 2-stroke outboards. The Mercury 60 EFI FormulaRace four stroke competes in this class and is been a top contender in previous events.
Class 2 features engines with a maximum displacement of 2000 cc (130 h.p.-200 h.p.). Mercury SST 120 and OptiMax 200XS SST race outboards typically dominate this class. Read more
In less than 24 hours we’ll be boarding a plane for our trek to Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the Desert Storm Poker Run. When you live in Wisconsin – you need a full day of travel when your destination is… well, just about anywhere. We fly into Phoenix and then drive 3-1/2 hours to Havasu.
Things get rolling at high noon Thursday with 5th annual Desert Storm Street Party. The event has grown to be the largest performance boat show in the world. The biggest and baddest boats from the East Coast, West Coast and all areas in between converge on the small Western town to show their muscle throughout the three-day Desert Storm event.
The Mercury Racing truck is back on the road! Dave Vehrs, one of our drive technicians who has extensive over the road trucking experience, is the driver. Dave left Fond du Lac Sunday. His destination? Lake Havasu City, Arizona for the Lake Havasu Boat Show, April 8-10 and the Desert Storm Poker Run, April 27-30.
Dave plans to arrive in Lake Havasu early Wednesday afternoon. This will provide plenty of time to get the truck washed and prepped for the boat show on Friday. Kevin Skiba, our National Sales Manager, will help Dave prep the truck. Fred Kiekhaefer commented, “This may be the first time Kevin has been allowed to hold a sponge!” Dave is flying back to get back to building drives. Kevin is staying on to represent Mercury Racing at the show.
Those familiar with the truck will notice some subtle differences. The mission of the truck has changed from “product support” to “mobile marketing.” The graphics have been updated to showcase our latest consumer products; The QC4v based 1350 and 1100 sterndrive engine packages and our Pro Finish CNC 5-blade cleaver props. Read more
Brad Halpin and I recently returned from the Los Angeles Boat Show. (Brad is one of Mercury Racing’s technical experts who is responsible for helping boat builders learn to properly install Mercury Racing propulsion; I’m a sales guy.) Mercury Racing products, including the all new 1100 sterndrive, were on display in Mercury’s booth. Boat builders featured Mercury Racing outboards and sterndrives, including the 1350, in their booths as well.
For years, the LA show ran through two weekends for a total of nine days! Furthermore, the LA show was scheduled at the same time as the Miami International Boat Show. Exhibitors such as ourselves were challenged to support two shows simultaneously.
The recession then changed everything. Now, the LA show is about two thirds of its original size. This year, it ran March 17-20, one month after the Miami show. Boat builders and suppliers were upbeat and anxious to show their latest creations to the West Coast market. Read more
I would like to personally thank all those who came to Miami and visited Mercury Racing – in our Convention Center booth, at our customers’ displays, or on the water at Sea Isle Marina. From what you’ve told me, you like our new 1100 package. Me too.
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.
I’m getting all excited. In less than a month, the Miami International Boat Show will open its doors! In my opinion, Miami is the best high performance boating venue in the world. It’s a chance for me to escape Wisconsin’s winter and catch up with my industry friends and many of our customers. And there’s always something new. This year’s show appears to be no exception.
Four first-class boat builders will have new boats with Mercury Racing 1350 power on display: Cigarette Racing Team, Dave’s Custom Boats (DCB), Marine Technology (MTI) and, confirmed Feb 11, there will be a new model Nor-Tech at the Convention Center, too!
Randy Scism told me, January 24, that he will have a twin 1350 powered MTI on the water in one of Mercury Racing’s slips at the marina. (I’m hoping it will be John Woodruff’s beautiful new 48, but I’m not fussy! I’ll be satisfied with Bob’s or Albert’s.) We’ll also have a 525 EFI powered Sunsation XRT with X-haust silencing, another 525 Formula FasTech, a Spectre cat with outboards and a military Whaler 37 Justice with three “cop motor” Verados. You have to see all this!