Andrew Biddle and Tracy Blumenstein have set powerboat records and zoomed to the top of the season standings in their first season together in the P1 SuperStock U.S. championship series.
With one weekend of racing left this season, Team Livorsi (Livorsi Marine) is in first place. Biddle, of Egg Harbor Township, and Blumenstein, of Northfield, got there with a series of memorable performances.
The pair made history by sweeping the competition in four heats April 26-29 at the Biloxi Prix of the Sea, which featured a 1.7-mile course in Mississippi.
They also set the initial speed record of 68.286 mph in the SuperStock and Panther divisions, a speed that was determined from the average of the two best runs the boat produced.
"There are four heats and one drag race and we won every race," Biddle, 42, explained in a phone interview this month. "That's never been done before, even in Europe."
"We get to hold (the speed record) for one year, and that is (the record) for the whole world, the (United Kingdom) and everything. It's pretty awesome."
The P1 SuperStock USA Championship Series, which began eight years ago, has five rounds on its schedule this year. Competitions in St. Cloud, Minn., Biloxi, Pittsburgh and Detroit already have been held. Morehead City, N.C., will host the final event Sept. 14-16.
Biddle, the driver, and Blumenstein, the throttleman, travel the world as Team Livorsi.
P1 Superstock powerboat racing features v-hulled, dual engine, off-shore boats that can span 30 feet in length. These boats are typically raced in the United Kingdom and can reach speeds of 70-80 mph.
"That was an extremely good weekend," Blumenstein, 47, said of their record-setting performance in Biloxi. "It's hard to explain. It just worked."
P1 SuperStock has only been around for eight years. The premise of the division is that all competitors have basically the same boat and engine. The drivers and throttlemen determine the winners, not the equipment.
"It isn't about who has the most money. You can't do anything to (the boat)," Blumenstein said. "It comes down to the pilots."
Biddle and Blumenstein continued their winning streak June 30-July 1 at the Three Rivers Regatta in Pittsburgh.
The Livorsi boat took first place in Heat 2 and second in Heat 1 and 3, tying in overall points for the round with Oregon Custom Marine (OCM). But because Livorsi posted an overall time nine seconds faster than OCM's, Biddle and Blumenstein took first place and gained valuable points toward the overall championship.
"It is really satisfying, being its our first year and we've been able to accomplish so much," Biddle said. "It feels good. It's exciting and fulfilling.
Blumenstein owns Professional Boat Sales at Sea Village Marina on Margate Boulevard in Northfield, and Biddle manages the shop.
"I used to race outboards back when I was in high school," Blumenstein said this month. "I started a couple of marine business and then bought (Professional Boat Sales). (Biddle) heard some stuff on the Internet and told me about (PowerStock boat racing). He did most of the leg work with finding out everything and he called the right people."
After Pittsburgh, Biddle and Blumenstein were at the top of the leaderboard with the most championship points, something that gained them unwanted attention from their competitors.
"Everybody is getting better and better," Biddle said. "They watch us and see what lines we take."
Blumenstein added: "Its better to be the one everybody is chasing than chasing everybody else."
The racing partners top of the season leaderboard with 75 points. Pier 57, which was the top contender to beat Team Livorsi's speed record, is second with 63 points. The team that wins the title can then go compete for the European championship.
And in 2015, the inaugural P1 SuperStock Powerboat Racing World Championships will be held.
"(The sport) could be extremely large," Blumenstein said. "The U.S. boat racing is big, but Europe, China and Japan could become extremely strong (participants)."
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