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by Performance Boats Magazine

BILLY’S BEAUTY How Billy B Revamped the CHEROKEE MAIDEN Biesemeyer





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Cover photo by Brett Bayne Editorial: Speedboat Magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. All manuscripts, materials, photographs and artwork submitted are at mailer’s risk and must include self-addressed envelope with proper postage if requested to be returned. All letters sent to Speedboat will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes, and are subject to Performance Boats’ right to edit and comment editorially. All rights reserved. Reprinting in whole or part is expressly forbidden, except by written permission of the publisher. Postmaster: Send address changes to Postmaster: Send address changes to Speedboat Magazine, 9216 Bally Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730.

C O N T E N T S COLUMNS 6 CHRIS DAVIDSON 8 ALEXI SAHAGIAN 58 READER RIDES FEATURES 10 LONE STAR LEGENDS The Texas Outlaw Challenge once again proves that they do everything bigger ’n’ better in the Lone Star State.

22 X MARKS THE SPOT Speedboat pays a visit to Jason Ventura’s one-stop power shop in South Florida. 4

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30 TREK TO TAMPA Stu Jones takes his Florida Powerboat Club on a memorable poker run to a luxury-drenched Tampa / Saint Pete destination.

38 VELOCI-RAPTURE Who better to update a 1986 Velocity than Jim Bakatselos of Electronics Unlimited?

44 STUNNING SPLASHDOWNS What goes up must come down—and for these brave souls, the re-entry can really stir up the pot.

50 IT’S A CURE THING Virginia hosts the sixth annual Powerboating for a Cure poker run.

7/18/14 11:09 PM To find your nearest location to purchase a copy of Speedboat Magazine go to:

Published by DCO Enterprises, LLC Publishers Ray Lee

Chris Davidson

Editor Brett Bayne

Senior Tech Editors Jim Wilkes

Alexi Sahagian

Tech Editors Greg Shoemaker Jim Wilkes Valerie Collins National Sales Kerri Trapani Director Art Director Gail Hada-Insley Helicopter Services Fred Young

Photographers Todd Taylor, Paul Kemiel Randy Nuzzo, Kenny Dunlop, Stu Jones, Jeff Girardi Operations Manager Michele Plummer

BRETT’S COVE 60 WE LOVE YOU, ANNA Jack Weller’s backyard party continues to expand by leaps and bounds at Virginia’s rockingest lake.

66 UP TO SPEED The Outlaw Boat Racers have perfected their goal of indulging in no-frills, no-stress fun.

72 CHEROKEE PRIDE A vintage Biesemeyer gets some loving attention from Billy B of Krazy Kolors.

76 ROAR AT THE SHORE NJBA competitors head to Camp Far West for a rip-roaring weekend of racing.

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Webmaster Craig Lathrop

Web Design Element Media Design Editorial Offices 9216 Bally Court Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 (888) 577-2628 (BOAT)

SPEEDBOAT MAGAZINE (ISSN#1941-9473) is published 6 times a year by DCO Enterprises LLC. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Domestic $30.00 for 6 issues, Canada $53.00 for 6 issues, International $67.00 for 6 issues. All prices are for one year and in US funds. For subscription info: call (888) 577-2628. PRINTED IN USA These rates represent Speedboat’s standard subscription rate and should not be confused with any special rates or premiums otherwise advertised or offered.

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chrisdavidson What’s in a Name? If you’re wondering why the magazine you’re holding is no longer called Performance Boats, join the club— you’re in good company! I’m here to explain why I decided to rechristen it. We sold nearly two years ago to Vertical Scope of Toronto, Canada. It was a difficult decision, but necessary for various reasons. Numerous industries were hurting in the dawn of 2007, marine-related business were being pummeled (and continue for some to this day). New sales of high-performance boats were the hardest to be hit. Comparatively, used boat dealers flourished from 2009 to 2012 by selling low-hour boats at auctions for resale. This made it even more difficult for OEMs to remain competitive. Several manufacturers have weathered the storm, including Nordic, DCB, Shockwave and Eliminator. Our annual revenue fell by 90% compared to our glory days—annual ad revenues during our heyday with Larry Flynt Publications were nearly $2 million the last full year we produced Hot Boat. I launched Performance Boats in 2008 with less than $100,000 in ad revenue for that year. I thought it would just take a year or so to get back to the $2M annual benchmark that we had all enjoyed previously, but that never happened. Ad revenue for last year hovered around $150,000 for the print version of PB. was created for, and championed by, our loyal forum members and PB team members. That turned out to be a tough act to follow. Moreover, up until this month, each print issue of Performance Boats had the unintended effect of promoting what is essentially a competitive website for ad dollars and web surfers. Our new brand, Speedboat Magazine, exists in part to promote our new website, Speedboat will be run by the same people who ran its predecessor, but with a slight change in editorial 6

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focus. The expansion of Brett’s Cove has already taken place; it will cover more jet boats and V-drive action from Billy B’s events to action on the Parker Strip and Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series. Ironically, the survival of the last traditionally printed, nationally distributed high-performance boat magazine depends on our ability to continue developing interest in this new website, The demand for high-performance boating information and content will obviously continue to increase over the coming years., and, along with others, have blazed new paths for everyone to get more of what everybody wants. The challenge we face for Speedboat Magazine is coming up with features that are not necessarily timely. Even with desktop publishing technology at its best, it still takes us six to eight weeks to produce our product—sometimes longer. Our team has wrestled with the best way to present Speedboat to the public for over a year. As with any small corporation, having the ability to move fast is both a benefit and potential hazard. Without the necessity for lengthy boardroom discussions, things can change without the appearance of being carefully considered or planned. This isn’t the case with the Speedboat name change, even though the May issue transitioned from Performance Boats to Speedboat overnight after I made one late-night phone call to our editor. Flashback to 2007: Speedboat Magazine and was our original choice to title our new brand after we were uncerimoniously dismissed from Larry Flynt Publications. However, a few people attempted to put out some roadblocks in order to prevent us from launching a new boating title. Our backup plan was created and we purchased The magazine was an

instant success, with its up-close and personal coverage and technologically advanced website. Software was created by Craig Lathrop, our webmaster, that didn’t exist at the time— it included a video player and online digital magazine, things that were unheard of in our industry, as well as many others. We have outlasted all the powerhouses, including Hot Boat, Extreme Boats and Powerboat magazines from 2008 to 2012. This past year has been extraordinary, starting with the addition of Ray Lee. His enthusiasm and efforts have been invigorating for both us and our readership. Ray goes to many of the events and socializes with everyone. He has proven to be an indispensable contributor to the magazine, along with staff members Kenny “Redneck” Dunlop, Jim Wilkes and Todd Taylor, among others. Editor Brett Bayne has continued to be the engine that drives the train. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our collaboration, and he has developed a loyal following with his Brett’s Cove section. The comments that we get from his features are consistently positive and greatly appreciated by the hardcore boaters who work diligently to turn their hulls into sheer works of art. Brett delivers their creations to the masses. His section was expanded from 16 pages to 24 pages last month and will continue to grow. Everyone has noticed and offers great feedback. The coming years will be interesting to witness, as a new generation of boaters takes to the lakes, and new designs and technology comes into play. The Parker Strip and Lake Havasu have changed, but don’t expect the Hondos, Sangers and Coles to go anywhere. We look forward to enjoying the sound of their V8s roaring down the river for years to come.

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alexisahagian Transmission Slip Dear Alexi: I have a need for your expertise. The engines in my boat are great, but I am experiencing transmission troubles. It is a twin engine cat equipped with BAM transmissions. My problem is that every time I get to approximately three hours of run time, my oil smells burnt, and the boat often slips coming on plane or when I do a quick acceleration when on plane. The mechanic keeps changing the clutches in the trans, but has no idea why


ature, the transmissions will fail, burn clutches, etc. I would guess that is 90% the issue in your boat. Once you start slipping a clutch on the 10-16 clutch drum (depending on the case and transmission you have), it’s like a disease in there. I am going to assume you have moderate power. Moreover, the hard immediate accelerations will put the icing on the cake once the disease starts. If it were only one transmission, it is possible that it could be a bad part coming off the drum or planetary gear assembly then causing failure, but burnt oil is from seizure, slippage and basically any heat source, i.e., excess friction. Sometimes sitting can cause issues with transmission pump pressures. But again, it is usually not a problem at the same time in two units. Change the clutches out and put FA type oil from Valvoline or Lucas and you will be a happy boater again. I hope my simple suggestion fixes your ongoing problem.

Engine On/Off Mystery it’s happening. The boat sits for a long time in between when I use it; however, the shop that keeps looking at it says that they can’t figure it out. I need your help! Roman Watt Miami, FL For starters, the transmissions that BAM makes are very good and tough for all applications of boating. I see that you have about a three-hour drive time before your transmissions smell burnt. I would say that your mechanic is straight out using standard transmission oil in the transmission and not type F/FA specific oil. The BAM Velvet drive and several high performance transmissions require type FA oil. If you fail to install the proper oil at the proper level and check the level while warm at operating temper8

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Dear Alexi: I have a twin supercharged twin-engine boat in Florida. The engines are 540-cubicinchers with quad rotor Whipples and a MEFI computer system, HEI distributor and basic electronics. I really like the way the engines run, but

every once in a while, my rpms drop then spike back up at idle. It seems to happen

on my port engine more so than the starboard. I have had it checked out by all the best in the area and they keep telling me it is a short in the boat. I have isolated the dash and it still does it. Any ideas? Ryan Flores Cape Coral Florida If your problem is intermittent, it may be some type of short in the harness, electrical system, etc. These types of issues can be a bear to find. It really takes dedication and concentration, as well as a good order of operation, to attack the source of this problem. Of course, without seeing the boat, I can only suggest a few typical things we see here at Boostpower Marine. I would start by checking all of the grounds, a 10 pin connector at the engine and, of course, the key or kill switch, as a basic check. Believe it or not, we often see these being the culprits. Always review the absolute basics first, as they are not so time consuming and you can keep your thoughts clear as you dig deeper. If you have access to a scan tool for a MEFI/Mercury ECU, use it and see if there is any obvious history present in the codes, etc. After all of this, you will likely find that the GM-type distributor module in your distributor is bad. They can run erratic, stall, misfire, and just do a ton of weird things. It is a simple swap and review the trigger mechanism in the distributor while you are in there. At times, rust builds up on them and they get a dirty signal to the module/ ECM, etc., causing issues. We see this as the focal point of your problem once all the basics are reviewed. If you find a bad ground, don’t think it could be the only thing wrong. Bad grounds, low battery voltage and battery spikes from chargers all cause sensitive electronic items to go bad. It is recommended to

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Photographers Action photos: R. Michelle Percival Pre-crash photos: Kelly Bladen Post-crash photos: George Franklin


RIP, Popsicle


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As this issue went to press, the 28th Annual Augusta Southern Nationals dragboat race, presented by Lucas Oil, had just wrapped up competition. During the race, driver Dwayne Perry hooked to the right and rolled over in Jack Weller’s Popsicle, a Tom Papp-built Cheyenne that features an experimental hull built prior to his Stealth line. Perry suffered only minor injuries from the crash. Coincidentally, Weller’s boat had already been photographed for our Lake Anna feature (see Page 60), where it appears in pristine condition only a few weeks before the accident. The 19-foot boat’s bottom had recently been redone by Irving Capps, bringing it up to today’s specs. In addition, the drivetrain had been overhauled and upgraded from 2,400 to 3,000 horses.

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LEGENDS The Texas Outlaw Challenge once again proves that they do everything bigger ’n’ better there. Photography by Jay Nichols and Jamie Russell

All poker runs feature their subtle differences, schedules and charities...but only in Texas can you walk away with a gun. That’s what 100 attendees took away from the Texas Outlaw Challenge, a sprawling four-day event that takes its Outlaw moniker very seriously: Organizer Paul Robinson hands out 100 guns, continuing a tradition he began when creating the run seven years ago. “They are non-firing guns,” he explains. “They feel, look and cock like real guns, but you can’t fire them. Every year I change the style…I’ve had Custer, John Wayne—you name the outlaw, I’ve had their guns.” This year, as part of the Thursday kickoff, Robinson 12

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arranged to convert a local bread and breakfast into “Miss Charity’s Big Gun Saloon,” complete with a realistic sign out front saying: Where Only the Whiskey and Beer Are Free, followed by Gunslingers Only. At 10 p.m., Miss Charity’s opened its doors to “gunslingers” (patrons) who donated between $250 and $2,500 to seven different charities; depending on the level of their gift, they came away with a shotgun set, derringer, single gun, etc., including holsters. But the firepower is just one of the many ways that this event distinguishes itself. At the Texas Outlaw Challenge, the watchword is “hospitality.” Robinson describes it as an

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The pool party at Kenny Armstrong’s house was a blowout they’ll be talking about for years. Below: Tim Johnson of Montgomery, TX, in his 51' Outerlimits, powered by 1,200-hp engines.

West bash where Eliminators and DCBs mingle with MTIs and Outerlimits, and virtually everything in between—quadoutboard center-console rockets, runabouts, and more than a few Nor-Techs. “There’s a real hospitality people feel when they come here,” he says. “They don’t just come to an event—they come to people’s homes and build relationships. You got to meet new people and share time with our coast-to-coast neighbors.” Indeed, the poker run segment of the weekend has stops at private homes—huge resorts capable of many amenities because they’re huge, Texas-style houses that can dock numerous boats. Robinson’s neighbor, Kenny Armstrong, threw a

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ish, first-stop pool party on Friday afternoon that has already become legendary among those who attended—at least 120 boats were tied up in his backyard, 100 cars parked in his driveway, and three helicopters landed in his expansive yard. In addition, Armstrong paid the food and catering tab. It may be a cliché, but it’s true: Everything really is done bigger in Texas. For 2014, Robinson changed the main location of the run, employing more of the Kemah Boardwalk (a 60-acre entertainment destination in Kemah, TX, located about 30 miles southeast of Houston). “It was a home run and exceeded our expectations,” he says. “It really raised the bar on our dining SPEEDBOAT |

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lonestarlegends experiences and the variety of the menu items and locations.” All told, the event drew 180 boats and 1,000 registered guests—both qualifying as new records. A Street Party was added to the festivities this year, with MTI, Cigarette and Nor-Tech among the boats featured. In addition, the Challenge managed to double its charity donations. Gary Smith, the Predator owner from Tuscon, AZ, whose 170-mph run nabbed him King of the Desert honors at this year’s Desert Storm Shootout, upped the ante with a record-setting 176-mph speed at the Texas version—driving his 1991 40' Skater alongside Vern Gilbert. “We doubled our safety team—double the divers, ambulances—because we knew some big numbers would be run,” Robinson says. “But it went flawlessly.” For next year, Robinson is mulling the suggestion from numerous guests that an extra day be added to the Challenge on the front side for extra travel time, which would make it June 17-21. Also, he says a water taxi will likely be added “so people don’t have to fight traffic and parking.”


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Britt Hawkins pilots his Cigarette Tiger. Below: Boats line up at the Street Party.

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Justin DiGiovannio in his 29 E-Ticket, powered by twin Mercury outboards.

Above: Boats raft up during a poker-run lunch stop. Below: Gino Gargiulo’s state-of-the-art 48' MTI.


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Above: Ken Milstead’s 36' Skater, Category 4. Below: The driver’s meeting at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack Cajun and Creole restaurant.

Above: Another view of Kenny Armstrong’s pool party. Below: Johnny Ballard’s 2005 43V Nor-Tech, based out of Rio Villa, TX.


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An unitentified Fountain carves a wave.

Gary Smith’s 40' Skater, the Predator I, won the Shootout with a speed of 176 mph, teaming with Vern Gilbert.


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Cass Shewbart in his 38' Cigarette Top Gun, Liquid Prozac.

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Marks the Spot

Speedboat pays a visit to Jason Ventura’s South Florida one-stop power shop.

Photos by Brett



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At 45, Jason Ventura is living a dream he could scarcely have fathomed as a young truck mechanic from southern Massachusetts. After buying a 26-foot Checkmate, he educated himself on virtually every aspect of marine power, eventually landing a gig with Bristol, RI-based Outerlimits Powerboats. After his tenure there, he went into business for himself, traveling the country to rig offshore muscleboats. Eventually, he launched a complete rigging shop called Brand X Hi-Performance Marine in Pompano Beach, FL, expanding his repertoire to include storage, installations, upgrades and a “concierge service” catering to the poker-run crowd. Ventura decided to name his company “Brand X” as a way of proclaiming that he would not identify himself with a single brand of boat or service: “We’re not going to settle on optimizing to just one thing,” he says. The staff of Speedboat recently visited the shop, which is positively jam-packed with his client’s boats: Bill Pyburn’s famous 388 Skater, Chris Bradley’s 40' Nor-Tech cat, Rainmaker, and Montreal-based Patrick Bedard’s 43' Outerlimits, Go Fast, named after the energy drink he distributes, to name a few. In addition, Ventura recently finished working on Risky Business,

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a blue 388 Skater. We sat down with Jason to discuss his background, and how he has navigated Brand X to a thriving and expanding venture. Speedboat: You’re originally from Fall River, MA, a small industrial city near the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border. Tell us about your days in the Northeast, and your early experiences in boats. Jason Ventura: I had bought myself a 26' Checkmate without power. I was like every other boat owner—I thought I could do everything cheaper and better by myself. But I was a truck mechanic, not a boat mechanic, and I needed to learn the peculiarities of boat engines. So I went through my entry-level of 24

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bangs and bruises of blowing up motors because I didn’t have the right combination. Then I met a local guy at Carrita’s Racing Engines who built my drag-car motors; he built me a boat motor. Also, in my 20s, I met Dean Nickerson (of Nickerson Performance Competition Carburetors). He helped me out and got me going. Back then, 70 mph was considered fast. Carrita’s built me a long block, and Nickerson sold me a B&M 250 with a set of carbs on it. I was running in the 80s. Meanwhile, my friend Billy Hill, a mentor of mine, had just taken delivery of one of the new 42' step-bottom Fountains with triple HP500EFIs. Going 90 in that boat was pure adrenaline. I was hooked! I got out of drag racing and

switched over to boats at local poker running. That’s how I met Michael (Fiore), and how I went from being a truck mechanic to being a service guy at Outerlimits, and then a service manager and beyond. SB: Bill Pyburn was an early client of yours, and he is still with you today. What were your first jobs after working at Outerlimits? JV: My first rigging job was a 42' Outerlimits Legacy belonging to a client up in Washington State. Bob Russell had sold him a set of 1550 Sterlings; I installed them and we ran the boat 152 mph right out of the garage door. We tested it on Puget Sound. Then there

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The Brand X showroom is home to this 24' Skater owned by Mike Mears of Fineline Marine Interiors of Hallandale, FL.

was Pure Platinum—I was involved in the build of that boat at Skater. SB: This was before you had a shop. JV: I would put ship my tools in pelican boxes, then fly to a remote location and rig a boat on location. I did a boat for Bob Russell that way. That’s how it went in the early days—I would travel everywhere. If there was a poker run happening, I would get on a plane with my team and we’d go there, pick up boats, do all of the driving, hauling, cleaning and preparation so the customer could have a great experience. SB: How did your business evolve from there? JV: As the economy changed, we had 26

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to change. That’s why we landed in a fixed location, driven by winter storage, maintenance and a more localized concierge service. Fortunately, there’s more poker-running going on in the state of Florida than anywhere else in the country. When I started Brand X in 2008, I had a select, high-end clientele, but it got to the point where it needed roots. I ended up in Florida, where the weather is far more ideal than the Northeast, where we get about eight good weeks. So I moved everything to Florida and tested the waters there, first renting space from the FastBoats Marine Group, and then at a 3,500-square-foot space from Chief Performance, which we quickly outgrew. We moved up to a 9,000-square-foot facility, maintained that for a while, and now we’re in three

buildings with a total of 22,000 square feet. SB: What are the typical kinds of boats you see here at the shop? JV: We’re a Mercury certified company that specializes in the higher-end stuff, although we actually do a lot of work with center-consoles with Verados. As the founder of the company, I tend to work on Mercury 1075s and 1350s, Chief 1700s, Sterling 1550s—that’s more my realm. Andrew, who works for me, focuses on the center consoles. The company was founded on highquality concierge service, and we still offer that today. We pick the boat up, fuel it, wash it, clean it, drop it off at the hotel for you, stock it with drinks and

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ice, have it completely ready to go. We can arrange to have your boat returndelivered to the destination of your choice—including at our facility in Pompano Beach. We also have a 39-foot “toter home” as a support vehicle now, which is loaded with parts, from #6 drives down to the nuts and bolts. SB: How do you envision the future of Brand X? JV: We’re going to venture more into bigger on the maintenance side, offer more in-house services, and continue to grow. We already do our own drives, and I want to offer more major glass repairs, possibly in a building dedicated to glass repairs. Basically, we want to be able to control all aspects of a job—when it’s out of our hands, it’s out of our control. I don’t want to wait for the paint guy. I want to do everything in house. I’d also like to mention that we do complete truck and trailer service. We are AVI certified inspectors with over 18 years of experience in the heavy duty truck industry. For more info, visit 28

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MISSION STATEMENT At the time of our photo shoot, Brand X was taking care of this beautiful Statement— the company’s second-ever catamaran hull, according to Ventura (top left). “It has everything,” he says of the 50-footer. “Porcelin toilet, stone countertops and sink, 42" TV in the stateroom. It’s a real luxury powerboat.” The boat, called Stray Cat, is owned by Dave Abrams and Chris Federline of New Jersey. Special thanks to Tancy Marie, our gorgeous swimsuit model.

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Ab Above: A An aerial i l view i off th the historic hi t i R Renaissance i Vi Vinoy R Resort. t B Below: l D Don and d Alice Lightfoot’s 52' Nor-Tech, Loose Foot Too, powered by a pair of 700-hp Chief engines.


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Photos by Stu


Trek to Tampa Stu Jones takes his Florida Powerboat Club on a memorable poker run to a luxury-drenched Tampa / Saint Pete destination.

Of the numerous Florida Powerboat Club poker runs throughout the year, the Tampa Bay event is unique in that the entire weekend is based out of a single waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, where participants enjoy the luxury of the historic Renaissance Vinoy Resort. And the vibrant St. Pete waterfront district provides the quintessential shopping, dining and club experience. With a Friday fun run and a comparatively shorter Saturday poker run, participants have more time to relax and enjoy the destination. This year, more than 40 registered teams and a wide variety of boats (including a healthy international roster of attendees) helped to make the 2014 run one of the best in recent memory. As always, there was an eclectic mix of performance, power

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and bling. Two brand-new cats made this their maiden poker run: Don Lightfoot in his 52' Nor-Tech made a big splash, and Kelly Sill’s new Skater 388 with 1100s was also in attendance. FPC President Stu Jones took his first ride on a 50-foot Mystic with builder John Cosker: “It was like sitting in your living room at 135 mph!” he says. “The really fantastic spring weather made it the perfect weekend,” Jones added. “After four years, we have hand-picked all the best stops, and the course is excellent in protected Tampa Bay waters, so it’s ideal for any size boat. The Saturday night party found a new venue at SIP nightclub, which was fantastic because owners did a nice dinner for us then converted the venue to a trendy club with a great vibe, so it was a big finish to a great poker run.” SPEEDBOAT |

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trektotampa Jeffrey Bognolo runs his 38' Donzi alongside the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship.

Oystein Tenold and crew pilot their 36' Nor-Tech.


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Gi i i i 8 MTI, Raging i Bull ((above and top right) i ) and D h f ’ 52' N T h (b l ) tied i d ffor the h B Gino G Gargiulo’s Lamborghini-themed 48' Don Li Lightfoot’s Nor-Tech (below) Best Catamaran award. Above: the teams accept their shared award.

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Above: Randy Carver, owner of the 51' Nor-Tech No Compromise (below) accepts the award for Best Vee Bottom.

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Simon Williams in his 42' Cigarette Tiger, powered by a MerCruiser 575 SCi.

Below right: i Red Reynolds’ gorgeous 80 80’ Nor-Tech Roadster, Lady Lisa. i


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Various beautiful views from the thrilling Tampa Bay Poker Run, both human and mechanical. Below: Kentucky resident Glenn Salyer in his 50-foot Outerlimits, known as Loose Foot Too. It’s powered by 700-hp Chief engines.

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VELOCI-RAPTURE Who better to update a 1986 Velocity than Jim Bakatselos of Electronics Unlimited? by Brett Bayne Jim Bakatselos is a longtime fan of Velocity Powerboats. “Growing up, I’ve always had Velocity boats,” he says. So it was a bit bittersweet when the time came for him to sell his personal Velocity as he prepared to graduate from college, get married and start a family. Sometimes, the story ends right there. But not for Jim. Fast-forward 15 years later: Bakatselos, now the co-founder of South Florida’s popular Electronics Unlimited dealership, gets a call from his partner Ron Muller, who has stumbled upon what looks like an amazing find on 38

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the online boat classified ads. “I found a great boat,” Muller exclaims excitedly. “It looks like it’s an old Velocity!” Muller peers at the listing on his computer. He can’t see much of the boat, as it’s a terribly cropped, low-resolution image. But he suggests that Bakatselos give the seller a call. “I was taking my daughter to the University of South Florida in Jacksonville,” Bakatselos recalls. “So I called the guy up asked if I could stop by and look at it on the way back home. He said yes, so I went to his lake house.”

He found the boat sitting in a barn surrounded by a Porsche and a Ferrari. Pulling the tarp off, there sat a pristine black and blue Velocity that hadn’t been run for probably 10 years. Bakatselos made an offer and took out his checkbook. “As long as you help me dig it out, you can go home with it,” said the seller, whom Bakatselos describes as “a good old country guy.” At the time, the boat’s power was an old Johnson outboard. Aside from rebuilding the carbs, Bakatselos made few other changes before putting it

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The Velocity’s original Johnson outboard. into the water. “Everything was in good shape,” he says. “It was a virgin—the original owner bought it brand new in 1986 from Steve Stepp at Velocity and had it rigged at the factory during the last year he produced them. It ran fine.” Naturally, Bakatselos was never going to be satisfied with “fine.” Thus, his eventual upgrades included replacing all of the fuel lines, adding a stereo and giving the Velocity a few visual makeovers. After using the boat for a summer—you guessed it—he gutted the boat, removing the engine and getting rid of most of the interior components. He then set about redoing the dash and the floor, replacing the engine, and gradually importing some newer technology into the helm. (It didn’t hurt to have a slew of professional connections.) “You’ll notice there are no switches to turn things on and off,” Bakatselos says of his trick equipment. “It’s all done through an electronics system called C-Zone. There are two navigation displays: one is a Mercury Vessel V-7, while the other is a Navco NSF-7. With that, you can switch all the lights on and off from each of the displays. It has a wireless fob, so you can walk up to the boat,

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The boat sat atop a single-axle trailer—immediately replaced by a new dual-axle model.

Inspection of the fuel tank and stripping all the carpeting and glue was the next step before painting the boat.


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The iconic Velocity logo ruled the Florida waters in the 1980s.

After three coats of white Awlgrip, the project gained momentum.

With the addition of a new new polished stainless engine plate, Mercury K-planes were installed for those choppy summer days.

APBA Outboard Class World Champion Tom Russell makes sure the positioning on the 300XS is optimal for speed.

like many of the new cars, and as long as you have the fob in your pocket, you simply push the blue start button and it turns on. That’s kind of cool for a boat.” The upgrades combine the rig’s retro 1980s look with a modern flair. Then there’s the new power: the boat now has a Mercury 300XS. But did swapping the engine make a difference in the Velocity’s performance? “It handles much better now that I have the big tabs,” Bakatselos confides. “Before, we had the Bennett trim tabs, and now it has the Kiekhaefer tabs. We also stepped up from dual cable steering to SeaStar 40

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hydraulic power steering, which made a big difference.”When he purchased the Velocity, the outboard was controlled by a Bob’s Machine Shop PowerLift hydraulic jackplate—one of the models that was truly coveted back in the day. “I looked at a couple of new ones, but everyone I spoke to said they just didn’t build them like that anymore,” he says. “So I took it apart, had it powder coated, changed all the bushings and rebuilt the whole jackplate, because it was like an old tank.”The entire interior was done by Fineline Marine Interiors (Hallandale Beach, FL, 305-323-3697), which came

up with the unique design. “You’ll notice that the whole dash is padded like a modern-day vehicle—it’s similar to a Corvette-style dash. Not just a vinylpadded dash; it’s that blue carbon fiber from Innotech Products.”Now that he’s got the Velocity just right, Bakatselos says he plans to enjoy it as much as possible, particularly in the Florida Keys. “It’s the perfect boat for going down to the sandbar or pulling a tube,” he says. “It’s also fun to hit 80+ mph. I like to take my wife and kids down with a group a people with the same type of boat and go cruising down in the Keys.”

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The original seats were in good condition but heavy and dated.

Fineline’s custom seats were much lighter and modern-looking.

Mike at Fineline used the finest in materials and marine fabrics.

The frame has been test fitted and is ready for fabric and cushions.

Before installing the rear seat, all wiring needed to be completed. To achieve the clean switchess dash, C-Zone switching was added. For tunes, a Simrad sonic hub coupled to a JL amp was installed.

The seats are installed, and Bakatselos begins to actually see what he had been envisioning for many months.

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The interior as it was upgraded for its first summer’s use.

The steering was removed to make room for a SeaStar tilt helm.

The dash was stripped and all holes were glassed in.

Blue carbon fiber panels were made for the new padded dash.

With the panels back from Innotech, Mike at Fineline was ready to inlay them into the padded dash.

The new state-of-the-art dash as it appears in the 1986 Velocity!


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Photos by Randy



What goes up must come down—and for these brave souls, the re-entry can really stir up the pot.


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Jeff and Laura Gosnell are owners of Bay Drivin’, a 41' Velocity with twin 572 Chevy block engines (700 hp apiece) and Mercury outdrives.

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Brad and Erica Crowder put on a show for the helicopter above—and the fish below. Their 27' Fountain Fever is pushed by a Mercury 502.


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RumBlurrr, a 35' Donzi ZR owned and driven by Brian DeMaris, is undaunted by four- and five-foot rollers. The boat is powered by twin 496HOs

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Virginia hosts the sixth annual Powerboating for a Cure poker run. by Bob Veith


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Top left: Waterside Marina in Norfolk, VA, headquarters of the poker run. Above: the second group gets under way. Below: Jon and Cheryl Bucenell in Blue Smoke, their Cigarette 39' Top Gun.

Photos by David “Swede” Andrews

Boaters from Buffalo, NY, to Ohio, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, the Carolinas and Jacksonville, FL, converged at Waterside Marina at Intercostal Waterway Marker 1 in Norfolk, VA, for the Sixth Annual PowerBoating For A Cure Poker Run—a full weekend of powerboating, fun in the sun, great food, and a host of poker-run weekend activities. Produced by the Mid-Atlantic Powerboating Association, this year’s event kicked off with a “Fun Run” organized by Mark Tuck, Jon Bucenel and Craig Mytelka. It was hosted at Mark and Nancy Tuck’s beautiful home in Smithfield, VA, located on the Pagan River. It was a gorgeous 88-degree sunny day, with about 150 poker runners in 50 boats milling outside Waterside for the 11 a.m. start time to travel about 30 miles away to to the Tuck household for an old-fashioned barbecue, fun conversations and good cheer. The group then reorganized and returned to Waterside at about 3 p.m. to get ready for the next set of festivities. From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., attendees were treated to an open buffet of steamed shrimp, pasta salad and buffalo wings, compliments of Hooter’s at Waterside. The waitresses were clad in appropriate attire—namely, tight pink poker-run T-shirts. Smiling ear to ear, the crowd returned to Omar’s at Waterside, sharing stories about the afternoon at the Fun Run.

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it’sacurething Below: Chuck Guthrie pilots Lynnhaven Marine, his 35' Formula FasTech. Below right: one of the bikini contest runners-up.

At 7:30, the lovely ladies from the International Bikini Team took to the stage, each hoping to be crowned “Miss PowerBoating for a Cure” and winning her share of the $1,000 prize money. With low humidity, a beautiful sky, and a temperature in the 70-degree range, the crew headed outside for the Dock Party, where stereos blasted and stories of who was faster than whom spread through the air like wildfire. Even after midnight, no one seemed particularly concerned that breakfast was at 8 a.m. the following morning, followed by the Captain’s Meeting. After breakfast, 70 captains gathered for the driver’s meeting to bone up on safety issues and to review the course and the five stops along the way. By 10 a.m., the 350 participants were on board their boats, waiting for the helicopter to fly over to signal the first start (30 boats, all of which cruise over 75 mph). Mark Tuck, in his 44SL Outerlimits, led the pack. Scarcely 15 minutes later, it was Chuck Guthrie in his 35' Formula Fas3Tech lead52

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ing the next wave of 45 boats charging down the Elizabeth River. Among the boats represented in this group: Craig Mytelka in his 34' CCX Sunsation, Steve Ballard in his new 42' Cigarette Huntress (painted Ferrari Blue with four 300-hp Mercury Verados), and a bevy of Fountains, Cigarettes, Outerlimits, Nordics, Active Thunders, Concepts, Scarabs and Sonics—most of the go-fast manufacturers were well represented. Also on hand was Dave Andrews, taking photos from the helicopter, and Nathan Epstein, weekend sports anchor for NBC affiliate WAVY TV-10 shooting video on the water. On to the card stops. About 5 to 7 miles down the Elizabeth River (past the U.S. Navy Battleship/Carrier fleet), the James River, Elizabeth River and Chesapeake Bay all converge together. This year, with 15-20 mph winds out of the Northeast, the mostly calm water of the River slowly turned into 3 to 4 foot rollers. It was on to Blue Water Yachts in Hampton, and then through 15 miles (Text Continues on Page 58)

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Above: Lunch stop at Marina Shores in Virginia Beach. Below: Harvey Taylor’s 38' Cigarette Top Gun.

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Patrick Dolan’s 39' Cigarette Top Gun, called Spicy.


Will and Lori Dillon in Misdirected Hostility, their 388 Hustler.


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Michael Nix in his 35' Sonic, On the Rocks.

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Reader Rides by Brett Bayne b

18' Laser Jeff and Suzette Georges, Atlanta, GA The Georges’ 1988 Laser LTV is powered by a 225 Johnson, which was re-built a few years ago. It was ported, big bore carbs added and heads milled to .125". In addition, a CDI high-performance ignition system was added, as well as dry exhaust and Holley fuel pump. Last winter, Georges re-rigged the boat with new gauges, yellow bezels and a cus- Dual amp and 10" Infinity subwoofer. The Georges use the boat on Lake Allatoona, tom-made switch panel with Contura where their top speed (with the current prop) is 90.2 mph. The boat cruises at 73.2 VI switches. The stereo is a Jensen with mph with four people, full tank and cooler. Jeff was a boat rigger at Powerplay.

42' Fountain Steven Chen, Stockton, CA Chen’s 42' Fountain is no stranger to the Texas Outlaw Challenge (see Page 10), as well as other poker runs, including the Thunder on the Bay Poker Run. Originally from Taiwan, Chen calls his boat Asian Persuasion. He hopes to eventually upgrade to a Nor-Tech 3600. Chen enjoys giving rides to his son, Koston.


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19' Haskell Jordan Endler, Santa Ynez, CA Endler started building his ride from a bare hull when he was 19 and completed it by the time he was 21. It’s a 1983 Haskell runner bottom that he bought brand new locally; at the time, it was very lightly rigged. Endler buffed out the original gelcoat and floors and began to rig the boat in earnest. “The hull was a takeoff of a Pro Stock-style boat mold,” he explains. “It’s a medium layup, probably around 550 pounds.” The Haskell is powered by a 500-c.i. big-block Chevy (15% overdrive) with a Casale 10% V-drive. Endler redid all the rigging himself, fabricating a fair amount of the parts in his garage. “The V-drive was completely rusted inside from sitting in the rain, so I had it rebuilt by Casale and I never had a problem with it since,” he says. The boat ran well for an obscure and unproven hull, according to Endler. He recently sold it to buy a but I sold it in order to buy a 1978 Cole TR2 flatbottom, which will be featured in an upcoming issue of Speedboat. The Cole will employ the same powerplant as the Haskell, he says.

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it’sacurething (Cont. from pg 52) of churning Chesapeake Bay to get to Marina Shores on the Lynnhaven River. Attrition took its toll: At lunch, we had planned on 75 boats and 350 people at the Surf Rider for a catered lunch and a dip in their Olympic Pool. We were short about 20 Boats and 100 people, who exercised caution by returning to

Waterside after Hampton and relaxing in the Sheraton-Waterside pool, the Host Hotel. After lunch, the helicopter took flight, and everyone made their way to Pelican’s Nest Marina in Little Creek about 10 miles away, followed by 20-25 miles of trailing seas. Unfortunately, the Virginia

Beach oceanfront leg of the run had to be cancelled, as the ocean was churning up 5-7 footers, and safety would have been compromised. As the gang returned to Waterside, the staff at Outback Steakhouse greeted the attendees with platters of ahi tuna, steamed shrimp and lamb chops. Sunsation President Joe Schaldenbrand said, “This is one of my favorite parts of your run, being served tuna, shrimp and lamb chops at the dock.” After the crews got showered and cleaned up, it was time for dinner and the awards ceremony. Once again, it was a mouth-watering buffet hosted by Outback Steakhouse, with a menu that included steak filets, barbecued chicken, Caesar salad, mashed potatoes and all the fixings. At 8 p.m., the silent auction commenced. It had been running for two days closed, and the lucky bidders purchased $30,000 worth of donated prizes for $10,000. This was followed by the awards ceremony. The hat was passed to raise money for Grayson Kirby, a young man who has attended our Poker Run in the past, and who was recently injured severely in a motor vehicle accident. The attendees raised $5,700 to help aid in his recovery. It was an emotional and heartfelt moment, made all the more emotional by the fact that his brother was in attendance.

Poker run and other award winners included: 1st Prize—KGS Development ($1,500) 2nd Prize—Joby Kifus ($1,000) 3rd Prize—Mike Shugart ($500) Worst Hand—Phil Armitage ($99) Longest Tow—Barry Peters of Jacksonville, FL (Free 2015 Registration) Best-Looking Boat—Mark Tuck’s 44SL Outerlimits.


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Billy B Transformation

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NJBA Racers Clash at

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Photos by Kelly

Mancini Bladen

Dave Meisterling’s 18' Rogers Bonneville is powered by a 468 Chevy with 11:1 compression, 950 Holley and Berkeley jet spinning a B impeller. It runs in the mid 90s with little effort.

If you’ve never had 2,000 people in your backyard, chances are excellent that you don’t go by the name Jack Weller. For closing in on 20 years, the resident of Lake Anna, VA, has been opening his home to speedboat owners from all over the East Coast for a weekend blowout that has been getting steadily larger with each passing year. The 2014 edition of the Party at Jack’s Place was the biggest yet, with 230 boat and more than 2,000 attendees. In fact, the free event has grown so popular 60

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that county officials attend and even take a booth to hand out tourism literature. According to Weller, his backyard party has remained manageable thanks to the help of several neighbors, who have gradually opened up their backyard property to accommodate the throngs of participants. They include members of the generous Perry family, who not only let boaters use their land for the party but also do all of the cooking. (Son

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ANNA Jack Weller’s backyard party continues to expand by leaps and bounds at Virginia’s rockingest lake.

Dwayne also drives Weller’s boat during the party.) Weller gives special props to the Lake Anna Rescue Squad, which attends the event year after year to keep everybody safe. In addition to the respect, he gets attendees to donate money for the squad—$2,000 was raised for them this year. Also helping to keep order is the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office, which sends out an officer every year. Among the frequent guests at this massive gathering are

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Henry Morris, who brought his turbine engine-powered boat. It attracts at least as much attention as Weller’s own boat, an original experimental hull built by the late Tom Papp. The boat’s power has been overhauled from 2,400 hp to 3,000 hp, with numerous changes to the drivetrain. He gives thanks to Miller Roll Grinding & Manufacturing (Mechanicsville, VA) for building the boat’s numerous trick parts. “They treat me very well,” Weller says. Weller, who is retired, looks forward to next year’s shindig. SPEEDBOAT |

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Above: Nelson Grimes, who famously painted race cars from the 1960s onward, brought his beautiful vintage Glastron, a boat he got at a junkyard. Below: Jack Weller’s Tom Papp-built Cheyenne, called Popsicle. The engine delivers 3,000 hp.


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Above: Party lovers enjoy the festivities and go-fast action on Lake Anna. Below: Charlie Turner’s 1986 19' tunnel hull features a heavy lake layup, Autometer gauges and a bottom updated by Irvin Capps. The engine sports a 540 Dart B block, Brodix 2X heads, 871 TBS blower (producing 10 pounds of boost) and Superchiller intercooler. The 850-cfm Holley carbs were prepped by Nickerson Performance.

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Above: George Franklin’s 1979 Sterling has a 509 roller motor with Dominator carb that the owner built in his own garage. Below: Donnie Estep’s 1995 21' Firehawk, Freak of Nature, has a 548-c.i. big-block Chevy with 10.5-to-1 compression, AFR 315-cc heads, Chris Straub cam, Bassett headers, AT309 pump and stainless AMT A impeller.

Deanna is delighted by John Buford’s 1978 20' Schiada twin turbo V-drive. Buford is from Orange, CA.

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Jack Neidert sold his 18’ Sunkisst in 2009, and later bought it back from the man he sold it to. It has a 540 Merlin III 10.2 block with Eagle crankshaft, SRP forged pistons, AFR 305 V2 aluminum heads and Holley 8082 Dominator.

Below: Mike Jansson’s 1984 Eliminator Daytona sports an all-original gelcoat and is powered by a rebuilt 454 engine and jet drive. He and wife Stephanie run the boat on nitrous.


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Outlaw Boat Racer Mike Holder in his 120-mph 18' Cheyenne. Below: Barry Helms in his Scott Performance hull. Most of the boats shown here run with nitrous.

Most jetboaters know Larry Helms simply as “Chop,” a nickname that can be traced to his boyhood, when his fellow school children called him Porkchop. The monicker may have stuck, but no longer is he a chubby, unappreciated kid—he’s practically a guru to throngs of jetboat fanatics who come to him for technical advice and savvy. An industrial maintenance supervisor for the military, Helms has his “Chop Shop” in Hayworth, OK, where he restores and works on boats and pumps, but it’s merely a part-time passion. “It’s not a business—I’m not a full-time boat rigger—but I’ve done a lot of boat work on the side for 30 years and have 66

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helped a lot of boaters out,” he grins, adding that “mostly it’s an exchange of words and thoughts.” Pieces that he physically handles get a “Pumps by Chop” sticker with his phone number. Chop, who also has a home in Texas, is one of the founders and continued driving forces behind a group of passionate drivers known as the Outlaw Boat Racers, a network of enthusiasts he describes proudly as unorganized and unofficial. “We’re just a little group that enjoys social gathering,” he explains. “Some of us don’t even own a boat, and nobody’s really in charge.” This more-or-less unofficial association began to take roots back in the 1990s, when Chop and his buddy Larry Welch

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Outlaw Boat Racer Ken Smith in his Youngblood TX-19.

Photos by Alesha




The Outlaw Boat Racers have perfected their goal of indulging in no-frills, no-stress fun.

approached the local Corps of Engineers about holding a gathering on their local lakes. “We were told to start a group in order to secure a permit, so we did. Soon afterwards, our request was approved.” Although the group has more members now, their unsanctioned “run-what-ya-brung” events haven’t changed much. “We used to have a floating street light, and when the light turned green, we raced to the finish line,” Chop recalls. “Now we don’t even have that. Somebody just blows a horn.” The group often meets every weekend at lakes across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas (see sidebar, Page 70). The photos from

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this spread are from a Memorial Day trip to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma, “Folks come from as far as five hours away to hang out with us for the weekend,” Helms says. “We set up buoys, line up side by side, and race 800 feet to the finish line. We like to keep things as safe as possible, so the Fire Department comes down to provide rescue services, and local law enforcement gets involved. Just as long as we have our life jackets and the proper safety equipment, they’re satisfied.” For more information and photos, visit the group’s website: SPEEDBOAT |

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Eric Perry in his Taylor SJ boat.

Jason Weaver drives owner Mike Holder’s 18' Earl Smith hull.

Mike Rowland in his 105-mph Eliminator Daytona (foreground) races Bruce Ballew, driving his red Centurion hull.


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Outlaw Boat Racers founder “Chop” Helms throws a hell of a rooster tail (above) and goes neck-and-neck with Barry Helm (below, no relation).

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Pete Hubbell of the Byuboyz racers in his STV outboard-powered rocket.

Outlaw Boat Racer Dustin Young carves a wave in his Youngblood TX-18.

Larry “Chop” Helms in his 100-mph #911 TX-19 Youngblood.


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Outlaw Boat Racer Josh Phillip in his Rouse TX-19.

Outlaw Boat Racer Heath Glass in his Kustom Kraft TX-19.

ROUNDUP AT THE AK CORRAL One of the Outlaw Boat Racers’ annual events that has been growing in popularity in recent years has been a Father’s Day meet at Lake Greeson, located near Kirby and Murfreesboro, AK. The event draws boaters from numerous local groups, including the OBR members, as well as the Taylor Boat Club and the Byuboyz Racers. It’s a true “run what ya brung” festival, with sun, fun and refreshments galore. The lake itself offers 45 miles of walking, nature and cycling trails for public use. There’s also the Parker Creek Recreational Area, a nature walk trail that lets you experience the nature and beauty around an old Cinnabar Mine, a popular mine during the 1930s and 1940s before the lake was made in 1950. Famous for its scenery and recreation, the lake is surrounded by 15 parks with plenty of camping, fishing, biking, swimming and, of course, boating.

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Originally owned by Russ Clevenger, this spectacular 1980 Biesemeyer was driven by Jamie Jamison (who also painted the boat) and campaigned in Pro Comp class, now known as Pro Stock. The boat is now owned by Mike Fairchild, who brought it to Billy Berkenheger, owner of Krazy Kolors in Upland, CA, for a new paint job and other upgrades. Billy reports: “When they brought it to me, it was in pretty poor shape. The deck was collapsing—if you went to wash the boat, the water would puddle in the center of the deck. The floors had to be redone, and glass had to be added to help the struc72

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tural strength the boat. In addition, we had to put all-new supports under the deck. We actually rotated the boat over and laid glass to strengthen the whole top part of the deck, from the driver’s and passenger’s seat forward. I also reblueprinted the bottom. Most of the installation is original; I just added to it. I had everything re-anodized and installed all-new gauges. I replaced everything except the original installation.” On repainting the hull: “I stripped all of the old paint off, completely re-metalflaked it silver metal flake, and then did

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Photos by Brett




A vintage Biesemeyer gets some loving attention from Billy B of Krazy Kolors.

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The Cherokee maiden mural was modeled after a lei-clad Hawaiian girl on a postcard that Mark Fairchild had sent to his dad. The lei was removed and feathers added.


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the whole thing in candy tangerine with the lime gold fade. It’s got candy red, tangerine, yellow, etc. It looks good in photos, but in person, it really pops. I changed the layout somewhat, just to modernize it. I stuck with the theme that Jamie had done, but put a different twist on it. The original mural was of a Cherokee maiden. Mike’s brother Mark was on his honeymoon in Hawaii and he sent their father Lamar a postcard featuring a Hawaiian gal with a flowered lei around her neck. The day after Lamar received the postcard, Mark suffered a heart attack and passed away. As a memorial to Mark, we took that postcard, removed the lei and painted her as a Cherokee. We retained the name of the boat as well. It has been on the show circuit for about three and has won damn near every place it has gone to.” On the boat’s power: “The engine is a single carbureted 510-c.i. Chervolet running on methanol. It’s got 22 gears and a 10-degree Casale box spinning a Menkens 11 1/4 x 15 two-blade prop by Phil Bergeron. Other components include Mike Leach headers, Dominator carburetor and a really trick leather seat that can get wet. All of the upholstery was done by Elegance Auto Interiors.” On the boat’s performance: “It’s very impressive. It handles very well. It’s a very light boat, and when it the carb issues are worked out, it’s going to be a very quick piece. This boat is no longer going to be raced on the circuit; it’s an NRKA (Needles River K Association) river boat. I’m the only person who has driven it since it’s been done, so I haven’t gotten any top speeds yet. It’s definitely a show piece, but you could run it hard if you wanted to…It just depends on how much you want to take care of it.” Owner Mike Fairchild has put the boat up for sale; if you’re interested, call Billy B at (909) 982-8555.

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Tony Scarlata drives in Pro Gas Flat class here with a different flat, but naming it the Bling Bling and using the same numbers. He ended up in the runner-up spot for the weekend.

Above: Flat Hammered owner/driver Jeff Steward came to test in the exhibition, non-competitive class. He’s had handling problems in the Top Alcohol Flat machine lately.


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Photos by Mark



NJBA competitors head to Camp Far West for a rip-roaring weekend of racing.

Held at Camp Far West, the National Jet Boat Association (NJBA) Roar at the Shore race served as the “anchor” for Big Wake Weekend, a fourday picnic and party event featuring culture, sports and entertainment. Racers gave spectators a thrilling show at the venue’s Quarter Mile Cove, with numerous classes battling for the checkered flag, including Stock Eliminators, Pro Gas Flats, Top Alcohols and a variety of bracket classes. Sunny weather and few wind issues helped make it a weekend to remember, with live bands playing every day and vendors surrounding a large stage and dance area. Joe Shelfo’s Sucker Punch competitor (shown above) had plenty of punch with the five-speed transmission helping power his Comp Hydro machine. Shelfo went uncontested in the Comp Hydro class for the win and was runner-up in the 6.00 second class as well. All classes ran the 1,000-foot course all weekend.

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Tyler Souza, driving in his first official drag boat race, not only qualified well—the number 2 position in the 10.00 second bracket class— but he went on to win and receive his first trophy as well. Congratulations to the Souza family.

Two Top Alcohol Hydros came out to play in the NJBA Camp Far West inaugural race, with Joe Mierkey taking the win in his beautifully painted Aces & Eights machine over Joe Blattler’s Pure Nasty competitor.

Paul Bauer took the #1 qualifying spot in the 8.00 second bracket all the way to the winners’ circle for the trophy. 78

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Chump Change, owned by Mark Peters, entered into the Pro Modified class with Josh Hayden behind the wheel. Josh took out the #1 qualifier, Vic Esposito, in round one en-route to the Pro Mod title on Sunday, but not before putting the boat on the beach. Both driver and boat were OK.

Only one of three Top Alcohol Flats entered into the class for the weekend, with Tony Costantino taking the win in Dave Ferguson’s Big Trouble flatty. The other flats were testing in the exhibition class.

#2 qualifier Bill McGuinn, driving his No Clue 9.00-second hydro in the near lane, takes the win over Craig Lucas’ #11 qualifier in the far lane. Bill went on to win the class and trophy. Before the race began, he was overheard saying, “I hate racing 1,000 feet.” He loves it now. Way to go, Bill!

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Owned and operated by Mike Davis, War Child came down the highway a few miles to race in his own backyard. The home-court advantage must have worked, as he not only qualified #1 in the 6.00-second bracket class, but he took home the win as well. Blake Thurlow (far lane) was the #6 qualifier in the 10.00-second bracket.

Properly named Dago Red, owned and driven by Jason Crews, had the wine-country theme all over in his pits. He came out after a lengthy hiatus and took the win over Tony Scarlata in the Pro Gas Flat class. Jason ran a 6.24 ET at over 128 mph for the trophy.

Past President of the National Jet Boat Association, Mike DeClark drives his F-Bomb Unblown Fuel Jet machine. He qualified #1 and took the win and the trophy in UBFJ. 80

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alexisahagian (Cont. from pg 8) swap the less than $100 module and verify the timing when you are finished. Every time I mention this to my 86-yearold dad, he laughs and says, “Put points back in it!� It is funny how some of the old carburetor technology and solid state electronics were so good when they were maintained. Anyway, hope this helps!

Starter Relay for High Compression Dear Alexi: I have a 24-foot boat with a large horsepower engine. I was wondering what starter slave solenoid you recommend for the engine. It is a high-compression engine and has a fairly older wiring harness in the boat. I keep burning up the plastic ones after a short period of time. Any input would be appreciated. Samuel Hart Plano, TX

If you have a high-compression engine, I would recommend a Cole Hersey rubber encapsulated starter solenoid and use large un-interrupted wires feeding it. We will assume you have a high torque-gear reduction starter for this engine. If not, it will overload the circuit and you will have this described problem forever. We usually use the Hitachi or the MSD high torque starters for high compression and use a Cole Hersey slave to give it raw undisturbed amperage from the batteries direct and it works great. Check out your system and verify the wiring is stout going to the solenoid.


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Speedboat August 2014  

The August 2014 issue of Speedboat Magazine.

Speedboat August 2014  

The August 2014 issue of Speedboat Magazine.