The New Zealand-based Pro Floors Racing NZ-1 duo of Chris Hanley and Wayne Valder notched their first 2018 season victory today at the Hotelplanner.com Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix on Florida’s famed Gold Coast. Running in the Super Cat class as part of the strong seven-boat field, Hanley and Valder took the checkered flag in impressive fashion in their 39-foot MTI catamaran.
Getting a great start, the Cleveland Construction team of Grant Bruggemann and Ed Smith took the early lead in the class but hooked during a turn in the early laps and eventually “ran out of propeller,” according to a representative from the team. That enabled Hanley and Valder to grab the lead, which despite a hard charge from Myrick Coil and John Tomlinson in the Performance Boat Center Skater Powerboats 388 catamaran they never relinquished.
In the three-boat Unlimited class, the Miss GEICO catamaran ran to a relatively easy victory over the Lucas Oil/Silverhook and Legacy Builders/Twisted Metal V-bottoms. Throttleman Steve Curtis was joined in the cockpit by driver James Sheppard—the same Miss GEICOcockpit duo claimed the 2017 Super Boat International Unlimited-Class World Championship in Key West, Fla.
The British-born Curtis, who houses the Pro Floors Racing team boat and equipment at his Offshore Racing Services facility in Orlando and frequently travels between Florida and England, added that he was delighted for Hanley and Valder. “To do what they do, travel from New Zealand for races in the United States, is really difficult,” he said.