In the days leading up to the 18th Annual St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race, rain was becoming an issue. When the teams started to roll in, the sun came out and showed everyone the “Blue Water” that makes this region famous on the circuit. Being the third stop on the 2012 AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series, sanctioned by OPA, St. Clair has always attracted the best of the best to challenge the daunting and notorious Turn 4. With most courses across the country being raced in a counter-clockwise (left turns) direction, St. Clair is traditionally run clockwise (right turns) and when you factor in the seven mile an hour current, Turn 4 plays havoc on every race boat turning back into the oncoming current. Also with the speed of the current, the boats in the bracket classes have to be on top of their game to hold it under the break out speeds of their respective classes.
The town shuts down M-29 which is the main road in St Clair that runs north and south along the riverfront and is lined with vendors, a carnival, as well as the race boats on display for the public to see. Approximately one hundred feet from M-29 is the St Clair River which is where the boats are seen throughout the weekend testing and concluding on Sunday with the race. At the south end of the dry pit area the fans were treated to concerts on Friday and Saturday night featuring SmashMouth and the Gin Blossoms as the headlining act each night.
The races themselves had so many bylines from, “Will Knot Guilty #644 be able to maintain their points lead in Class 6?”, to “Can local heroes Cleveland Construction #129 break the hex of the few prior years and grab the checkered”, and “How will the Miss GEICO fare in their newly assembled piston powered machine?”
Race one featured Super VeeLite (SVL), Class 5, and Class 6. SVL almost turned into a runaway where Pirate Racing dominated the first ¾ of the race, but we all know that leading the final lap is the lap that counts and Team Octane crossed the finish line first. Class 5 was a see-saw battle the whole race with Whoz Your Daddy taking home the checkered. In Class 6, Wazzup II came out unscathed from a wild start to take the win, with Knot Guilty running a consistent race to stay on top of the class point’s lead.
In Race two, Class 4 saw Simmons Marine take the win over the current class point’s leader, Twin Screws/R&S. In Super Vee, Wazzup kept the streak going with their performance and the crowd was treated to their infamous victory “Figure 8”. Bull on the Beach followed up their win in East Tawas with another checkered flag in St Clair. Talbot rounded out Race two with their victory in Super Stock.
Race three featured the Extreme Class, not only due to the amazing high horse powered cats flying across the water, but bluntly, Miss GEICO made some noise for the first time!! After years of running a turbine only program, they acquired the hull formerly campaigned as Maritimo, installed her with Mercury Racing 1075’s (piston power), and assembled her in a two week time frame where she first saw water on Saturday. In the race however, as gallantly as they tried, they came up short to Cat Can Do, who ran an impeccable performance. Cat Lite showcased the rebound of the AMSOIL team, who took their first victory of the year. Class 1 had the Champaign flowing afterwards as Cleveland Construction was able to get the monkey off their back and win their hometown race for the first time in several years.
Special thanks go out to the Blue Water Offshore Racing Association for rolling out the red carpet for the racers and the fans. Congratulations go out to all the winners and we hope to see everyone at the next stop on the AMSOIL Offshore Powerboat Series, sanctioned by OPA, in Port Huron, MI/Sarnia, ON for the 2nd Annual International Grand Prix, August 9th-August 12th.