As we wrote last week, this coming weekend, May 19-21, 2017, Point Pleasant Beach hosts the very exciting powerboat offshore Grand Prix.
The big boats will compete on Sunday, from around 1:45pm, right in front of the beachfront in Pt Pleasant Beach, all the way down to Bay Head. The favorite is the neon green Miss Geico boat, last year’s winner, as well as a multiple national and world champion.
Facing Miss Geico is the silver/black powerboat of Alex and Ani, representing Scuderia Cazanni. Its throttleman is none other than Serafino “Jimmy” Cazanni, one of the legends of offshore racing. He was one of the pioneers of super speed boats in the 90’s, when he won several national championships, and he has returned to racing in 2013 with his new team.
We spoke to Serafino about his rivalry with Miss Geico, and he told us:
“The very accomplished home team and last year’s winner, Miss Geico Racing are clearly a target I intend to vanquish. The multiple world and national champions managed to beat us in every event last year no matter how well we ran. For 2017, we’ve made some significant adjustments and expect to give them a battle in the exciting, close quarters racing PPB provides.” “Beating Miss Geico isn’t the most important thing in the world however beating a team of their stature is a very significant accomplishment. They are the home team at Point Pleasant Beach and winning in their house would be very gratifying.”
“Also if I beat Miss Geico, Scotty will return my Checkered Flag belt”, he added, referring to Scott Begovich, the throttleman of the opposing team. Despite their heated rivalry, the two stars are friends and they’re even staying together in the same house while getting ready for the race.
We also asked Cazanni why does an offshore powerboat need a throttle man and a driver, for our readers who are not very familiar with the sport:
“The throttle man and the driver are equally important and they both need to be attentive to their duties to get the boat around the course safely and efficiently. I think the biggest difference between what we do is that I, as a throttle man, I feel the boat, and the driver has to muscle the boat. I’m strapped in tight, literally wearing the boat like a finely fitted suit, the G forces transmitted to my body telling me what to do. The driver needs to find the shortest way around the course and counter steer to compensate for waves and currents and, importantly, keep an eye out for a lap traffic or passing boats. Hopefully we won’t have to worry about both passing us.”
It should be noted that the Alex and Ani / Scuderia Cazanni team is also using this event to promote the local community and to raise money for the K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital.
Here’s a brief overview of the weekend’s schedule:
4-8pm: Race Boats on Display at the Arnold Ave Block Party
9pm: Racer Meet & Greet – Martell’s Lobster House
12-3pm: Race Boat testing
5pm: Boat Parade up Ocean Ave
7pm: Racer Meet & Greet – Jenkinson’s Pavilion
10am: Race Control Operational
12pm: RACE 1 (subject to adjustment)
1:45pm: RACE 2 (subject to adjustment), featuring Miss Geico vs. Alex and Ani
7pm: Awards Ceremony – Martell’s Lobster House
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