In question immediately following Hurricane Irma, the Super Boat International National Championships won’t just happen as originally scheduled next weekend in Clearwater, Fla., they’ll go on with healthy fleets—in most cases the largest of the 2017 season—in several classes. At present, there are 36 teams on the Clearwater entry list.

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Several classes are boasting big fleets heading into the final race of the 2017 SBI regular season. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Several classes, such as the Superboat Unlimited category with season points leader Wake Effects, Lucas Oil/Silverhook, Miss GEICO, Team CRC/Sunlight Supply have at least four teams registered. With Frank and Jimmie’s Propeller, CR Racing, Nick’s Creative Marine and Turtle Cove Marina, the Superboat Stock class also will have—if all teams show—its biggest fleet of the 2017 season.

The Superboat-class, SBI’s premiere category, currently has seven teams signed up for Clearwater. While the battle for the national title rests largely between points leader Performance Boat Center/Jimmy John’s Freaky Fast and WHM Motorsports, both teams will have Salt Terminator/Sailor Jerry’s/Autonation, STIHL, NZ-1 Pro Floors Racing, Cleveland Construction and M Con to contend on the typically flat and fast oval course.

“We either need to finish ahead or no more than one place behind WHM to take the championships,” said John Tomlinson, the Performance Boat Center throttleman who shares the cockpit with drive Myrick Coil. “We’re ahead in points, but it’s close. So we’re going to focus on winning the race, as we always do.”

With two entries on the roster, the Superboat Extreme V-bottom field remains thins, yet the points race between defending 2016 National and World Champion AMH Construction/Instigator and Outerlimits is close enough that whichever team takes the checkered flag in Clearwater will head into the SBI World Championships in Key West, Fla., as the 2017 National Champion.

If all teams currently on the Clearwater roster show up, the Superboat Vee class will have the largest fleet of the contest with nine entries. Defending 2016 National and World Champion LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness/Rev-X Oil is on the entry list with Boatfloater.com, Team Octane, Phantom, Punisher, Buy Key West, Mr. Technology, Sun Print and TnT Racing.

The Manufacturer Production 3 and 4 classes also will field their biggest fleets of the season so far in Clearwater, with four and six teams respectively on the current registration list.

Tomlinson said that this year’s event in Clearwater has added significance as the city is still recovering from the devastating storm.

“If they want us there as much as they seem to, it’s absolutely important to go and show our support,” he said. “I mean, there are more important things than boat racing. Putting lives, families, homes and businesses back together is far more important. But from everything I’ve been told and read, Clearwater wants us back. So we’re especially happy to be going back this year.”

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