Though it took first place as the only boat in its class at the Super Boat International offshore race in Cocoa Beach, Fla., earlier this season, the 44-foot Miss GEICO catamaran earned its first "competitive" checkered flag with piston power at last weekend's Offshore Powerboat Association race in Port Huron, Mich./Ontario, Canada. Competing in OPA's Extreme Class—bracketed to a top speed of 135 mph—Miss GEICO, which is powered by Mercury Racing 1650 Race Engines, bested Broadco, Phoenix Parts and Cat Can Do to the take the top slot.
"Bracket racing is really challenging because the boat wants to go a lot faster," said Marc Granet, the driver of Miss GEICO who piloted the cat with longtime throttleman Scott Begovich. "Just when you begin to feel like you're going really fast, you have to slow down.
"There was some really tight action yesterday," he continued. "Cat Can Do and us were deck to deck for entire race, which I think was 13 laps. The water conditions definitely favored the light, fast boats."
The Port Huron event was the first race of the year in which Miss GEICO did not encounter some kind of mechanical issue. Mechanical gremlins also dogged the Miss GEICO team last year when the team ran the boat with Mercury Racing 1075 SCi engines after its turbine-powered 50-foot Mystic burned to the waterline after a practice session.
"Fortunately, none of the problems we've had this season have been with the 1650s—they've been rock solid in every race," said Granet. "They make so much power and torque. They're just fantastic."