If at first you don’t succeed, thanks to weather and water conditions, try again tomorrow. That was the lesson for competitors and organizers of the 2016 Desert Storm Poker Run Shootout that saw driver Robbie Willis and throttleman Chris Kissinger back up the team's 2015 King of the Desert title with a 183-mph run in Low Altitude, team owner Win Farnsworth’s turbine engine-powered 50-foot Mystic Powerboats catamaran.
But like everyone else involved, the team members behind Low Altitude had to wait an extra day to get it done as wild weather forced the organizers to scrub the event shortly after it started on Saturday morning.
Robbie Willis and Chris Kissinger laid down a 183-mph pass in Low Altitude on Sunday. All photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix
“We did a 175-mph pass—we made two passes Saturday—but the water was bad,” Farnsworth said. “It was windy and choppy and white-capping, which made it interesting. People didn’t want to run in that weather.”
After Saturday’s event was called, the organizers and most of the competitors agreed to try again Sunday. Conditions that day were “sticky glass,” said Farnsworth, who gave up the driver's seat to Willis to "make sure he had a chance to run the boat." Kissinger and his new driver did “three or four” more passes, the best of which was one mile per hour faster than the 182-mph run that earned the team last year's King of the Desert title.
Close behind Kissinger and Willis was Gary Smith with a 181-mph run in Predator, his 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran. Also running a Skater cat—for the first time in a shootout event—was Summer Richardson, who laid down an impressive 176-mph run in the Swoop Motorsports Dial 911 38-footer.
“It’s probably the best day of racing we’ve ever had there,” Farnsworth said. “You had Gary, Summer, me on Saturday and Robbie on Sunday (alongside Kissinger) competing with each other and a whole bunch of DCB guys competing in the 160- to 170-mph range. There were competitive boats in all the classes. And I have never seen that many people watching.”
The the three fastest boats of the 2016 Desert Storm Shootout—Low Altitude, Predator and Swoop Motorsports—put on a show last weekend.
Farnsworth estimated that under “perfect” conditions his 50-footer could reach 190 mph on the Desert Storm course.
Next up for the Team Farnsworth/Low Altitude group is the GLOC Shootout (July 7-10) on Oklahoma's Grand Lake O' the Cherokees. While Farnsworth said he’s planning to compete in the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout (Aug. 27-28), he’s uncertain if he’ll run in the top-speed contest during the Texas Outlaw Challenge (June 22-26).
“I’m not sure yet,” he said. “We have to get everybody back here and regroup. I’m going to play that one by ear.”