WATCH: SVEA Racing’s Steve Curtis to Defend World Title at ‘Thunder on Cocoa Beach’ on Sunday
By Space Coast Daily // May 20, 2023
action starts with Qualifying at 2 p.m.
ABOVE VIDEO: Thunder On Cocoa Beach Runs Through Sunday – Features Parties, Concerts and Lots of Awesome Racing Action
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – SVEA Racing’s Steve Curtis says the Huski-backed outfit is in good shape to start the defense of its world title at this weekend’s ‘Thunder on Cocoa Beach’, the 2023 UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship season-opener on Florida’s Space Coast.
Earlier this week the Team revealed a striking rebranding of its multi-championship-winning Victory hull to coincide with the product launch of a ready-to-drink Vodka cocktail – Huski Ice Spritz – and confirmed that Brit Lilly will take the wheel alongside Curtis.
Whilst pre-season preparations and testing have gone well, Curtis said their focus is beyond the first race.
“We are working on two stages of development but won’t be introducing any upgrades for the opener. The conditions at Cocoa Beach are predominantly rough and our rough water setup is good.
We will stay with what we had in Key West at the end of last year. What we are working on is improving our flat-water pace and setup and have some modifications that we are trying, looking at the aerodynamics and trying different prop options. But in all honesty, there is not too much to play with as these boats are well developed.”
Curtis’ focus on improving their flat water set up is ignited by the challenge he believes they will face from two key rivals. “I think the Monster Energy Skater will be fast and the MTI that XINSURANCE will be running is going to have good top speed. It has a big tunnel and is good in the corners. It’s the flat water where we need to up our game.”
Thirty-eight years on from becoming the youngest winner of the UIM Class 1 world title at 21 and the first of nine – winning in 1985 with AJ Roberts in a boat designed by his Father Clive – the British ace is as fired up and as positive as ever about the sport.
“There is always work to do but the championship under Powerboat P1 and Azam [ Rangoonwala] is in very good shape and on the up,” he said.
“The involvement of Mercury Racing and the introduction of the Mercury Racing 1100 Competition QC4v has improved the sport and competition.
“Mercury is pushing it and their engineers and technicians are on-site to ensure parity. The engine is great, it has good power, good torque, and is super reliable. In the past, we tried to achieve parity but there was always a stumbling block. Now we have it, and your engines are the same as the boats on either side of you on the start line. We are here to race boats, not engines.”
With eight Teams signed up, new boats, new driver-throttle man line-ups, and all outfits running the Mercury 1100 competition engine, this season’s six-venue campaign throws up some exciting matchups, not least the growing anticipation of the sport’s two most successful and decorated throttle men Steve Curtis and two-time UIM Class 1 world champion John Tomlinson going up against each other, Tomlinson teaming-up with Alegra Motorsports owner-driver Carlos de Quesada in Pothole Heroes.
Last year’s championship runners-up 222 Offshore’s Daren Nicholson and Giovanni Carpitella will be looking to go two better than last year’s third place in Cocoa Beach, with Carpitella set to make his 50th Grand Prix start.
Two to watch out for are last season’s RWO Super Cat world champions Tyler Miller and Myrick Coil in Monster Energy/M.CON Racing’s new Skater who step up into the top flight to make their UIM Class 1 debut.
Two other new partnerships in 2023 see Hugh Fuller joining Rich Wyatt in the cockpit of dfYoung and Chris Hanley teaming up with owner-driver Mike Falco in the Team Defalco boat.
Missing from the start line in Cocoa Beach will be XINSURANCE/Goodboy Vodka and new to Class 1 Sudrheim Offshore Racing, with both outfits looking to be ready for round 2 in Sarasota at the end of June.
The action starts with Qualifying on Saturday at 14.00hrs [local time], followed by Sunday’s race starting at 13.00hrs, with both being streamed live on the championship website, class1world.com
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