AccoladesNewsRacingMTI Boats at Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach 2017
MTI Boats at Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach 2017

Photo Courtesy of Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

The Team CRC, Wake Effects Offshore Racing, and Pro Floors MTI catamarans hit Cocoa Beach over the weekend for the 2017 SBI Season Opener, the Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix.

Rougher than it looked but not nearly as rough as it can be—that was the book on Sunday’s season-opening Super Boat International Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach, Fla. SBI’s Cocoa Beach event is notorious for consistently dishing out the roughest water of any regular-season race, but for the second year in a row the venue showed its more docile side.

The wind picked up a bit for the second race of the day, which featured the Superboat Unlimited, Superboat and Superboat Extreme classes, but while there were a few dramatic launches the bigger catamarans and V-bottoms made short work of the mildly worsening conditions.

Proving that just two boats can produce intriguing action if they’re well matched, Team CRC/Sunlight Supply and 2016 defending national and world champion Wake Effects—both 48-foot MTI catamarans powered by Mercury Racing 1650 engines—kept it close. With a seven-second lead and two laps to go, Wake Effects broke a belt, according to driver/owner Rusty Rahm who shares the cockpit with Jeff Harris, and was unable to finish the race. That left the door wide open for Team CRC/Sunlight Supply owner/throttleman Mike DeFrees and Gary Ballough—who had a really good first day of the 2017 SBI with two wins—and they didn’t hesitate to step through it to take victory.

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