When the Offshore Powerboat Association announced in late February that we were going to Bimini to race this weekend, I pictured postcard, light blue water, friendly locals, a gorgeous resort and epic racing. I wasn't wrong.
RUFSTR's Ken and EJ Salamone put on a show today in race No. 1. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thril Pix.
The action started yesterday with boats testing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The quiet island of Bimini was shaken to its core by the roar of big blocks—and the locals loved it. I've never been to a place that loves offshore racing as much as Bimini. Locals came up to the boats and they knew their stuff. The knew a Spectre from a Skater, a Fountain from a Cigarette and so on. It was incredible
Today’s race in the inaugural OPA Resorts World Bimini Grand Prix proved to be as epic as expected. A smallish, 16-boat fleet—to be expected at any first-year event—took to the water and provided great action.
The big story in first race lies with team RUFSTR. Father and son Ken and EJ Salamone held back Wazzup II and Specializied Racing (both previous Class 5 national champions) to take a hard fought and well deserved win. The water was calm but choppy, the back leg of the five-turn course giving some pretty decent airtime to all teams. Saris Racing Engines also took the win in Class 4 with Phantom 9 prevailing in SVL and Liquid Addiction in Class 6.
Race Two involved Class 3 (95 mph) and Super Stock. An immediate battle between 2nd Amendment Racing and Wazzup Motorsports broke out, leading AMH/Instigator and Strictly Business to round out the Class 3 fleet. The battle for first and second went on most of the race, with 2nd Amendment just squeaking by at the end.
For more action from today's Resorts World Bimini Grand Prix, check out the slideshow above.
Super Stock was equally as exciting with Gary Ballough in FJ Propeller leading all day. Scott Porta and Nick Scafidi(making his Super Stock debut) fought hard in second keeping FJ on its toes, with Specialized Marine trailing in trailing. The WMS team of Ryan Beckley and Tanner Lewis was plagued from the start with Guardian mode issues in the their Mercury outboard engines..
All in all the Resorts World Bimini Grand Prix was an absolute success. I expect next year’s event to have fewer kinks—and there were hardly any this year—and more boats. Without a doubt this will become one of the three or four major events of the year. Here’s to Bimini, and here’s to coming back next year.
Editor's Note: Johnny Saris is veteran offshore racer and a frequent contributor to speedonthewater.com. Saris covered much of the 2016 OPA season for the site.
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