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P1 2013 Race Season Update

Nov 21, 2013


Race Season Re-Cap P1 Superstock #33

WOW! What a season it has been !

It all started with an invitation from Martin Sanborn to Gene and Paula Weeks to run a P1 Panther in the season opener at Stuart Fl. As it was Paula’s birthday and her dream to race a boat, we decided to go for it.

We picked up the boat four days before the race and the scramble was on! Test the boat, letter it up with, get shirts, jackets, helmets etc. and be ready to go on Thursday before the race. We had exactly 15 Mins in the boat WHEN WE LEFT FOR THE RACE! 

Arriving in Stuart we were happy to see many old ( and I mean OLD!! LOL!) friends. Martin Sanborn, Mike Tomlinson, John Kenyon, and the list goes on. Good ol’ boys from my many years of previous racing.

Heat One had us starting 100 Yards behind, as Paula was a Rookie. No problem as we did not want to risk anybody or any boats. We managed to finish in 4th or 5th place for the heat with Paula driving VERY well and having a blast!

Next heat Mike T ( APBA Race Referee) asked us to “Pace everyone” from the 7th position again, so everyone could line up on us for the start. As we had not yet committed for the remainder of the season, it did not occur to us how this would affect our season points. We were happy to do the favor, if it would keep everyone a bit safer. As it turned out, we started on the outside the entire weekend to keep everyone in pace. Happy to do the favor, but also still did not realize how it would affect our points for the rest of the season. All said and done we finished the weekend in 6th place. Not bad from starting in last position every heat, with a Rookie Driver! Paula got many high fives for her performance over the weekend. If you have never driven a P1 Panther race boat, it is similar to driving a MACK truck with no power steering! Thank God for Paula’s past driving and Volleyball experience!!

As soon as we got home we pulled up the CL-Alpha Web Site and looked at the hits for the weekend. The Web site went berserk for the five days we were on the road. After seeing that, I was assured that this was a good venue to advertise our new Cheoy Lee Alpha Yacht Series!! We approached our employer and president of Cheoy Lee North America B Y Lo with the results, and the idea that we continue with the season and promote the new Alpha Line of Cheoy Lee Yachts. B Y Agreed and we were “Off to the Races”!!

Now the fun really begins. Re Letter the boat, seek out associate sponsors; plan the schedule, etc., etc. Anyone that has ever raced will understand the excitement and work involved. All of it VERY worth the sacrifices!

Next Race….. Daytona Beach! We decided to make a road show of the entire package so the Bus, Paula’s Pontiac Solstice, and EVERYTHING Got logo’d up with # 33 . Rolling the Bus, Car, Truck, etc. we headed off to the race. We arrived Thursday afternoon to a beautiful day with gentle rollers off the beach. We are psyched for a weekend of GREAT racing!! As the day and evening rolled on the wind began to blow. By Friday AM it was blowing pretty well and the seas were beginning to build. Sat Am we got up, had physicals, prepped the boats and ….waited, ugh! The conditions turned out to be REALLY ugly and after a few attempts to get the rescue boats out, P1 and Race Control made the right decision to call the race for that day. The Aqua X Guys (Jet Ski’s) had a great time racing in the surf and we thank them for putting on a Great Show!

After the disappointment of not going out to race, we headed for the Inlet Marina, who by the way was one the BEST hosts of the season so far!! BRAVO to Inlet Harbor Marina!!

Next Day, Sunday. Waking up it was still rough after the drivers meeting, the race was again called off due to REALLY rough seas. Smart move on the part of P1. Although we were all disappointed again, we all walked away safe. As everyone was all psyched up to Run, we decided to make a lunch run up the ICW. It was a blast! We ran up a few miles, had some lunch and drinks on P1 and had some “unofficial” racing on the way back. All the boats were noticed and it was good for the sponsor’s!!

Next race is Pahokee, Fl at Lake Okeechobee. If you have never been to Pahokee it is worth the trip! Pahokee is one of Florida’s best kept secrets!! A beautiful resort in the middle of nowhere. Wayne, who is the manager, was a GREAT host and made sure we had everything we needed.  We opted to bring the Alpha 76 up to the lake for the race. We loaded up the crew and headed to Pahokee. We had a great trip up with the Alpha 76, except being stuck at the last lock for 1 1/2 hours waiting on a storm to clear. Got to the Marina uneventfully and enjoyed the ride. The BIG 76 Alpha Express made quite an impression and was well received.

Next day we were in full RACE MODE!! Many came in RV’s and the GATORS were plentiful!!! We’re talking 12’-14’ Gators hanging out in front of AND in the race course. If you are timid about Alligators, Don’t run here!!! It turned out that Pahokee was one of the best events of the season with a good spectator crowd. Thank you to ALL of our crew from Cheoy Lee North America for coming to view and support us!

The next stop was Cocoa Beach also known as the Space Coast for its proximity to Cape Canaveral.  Arrived in plenty of time to get set up and test the boat. This would be the roughest conditions yet so we really need to get some seat time for Paula in the rough water. As I got the boat ready to go, we discovered that the Engine trim wasn’t functioning. It was about 200 degrees in the sun so the repair was not only difficult, but EXTREMEY uncomfortable with no shade.  Got the trim working and headed out for testing. We ran outside in the rough water for about 10 mins., then we had engine problems. As it turned out, we were plagued with bad luck all weekend and couldn’t run over 40 MPH except for one out of 32 Laps!!! We managed to finish the entire weekend and due to some other boats breaking down and one boat bailing out because of the rough conditions, we finished OK. A bit disappointing but as they say “That’s Racing!”

The final stop of the season was supposed to be in Marathon FL. At the last minute, two days before the race, the local Lobstermen decided that they didn’t want us there and managed to drop a gazzilion traps in the race course. As it is illegal to tamper with Lobster traps, we were forced to reschedule. After a month delay, P1 managed to get a venue in St. Cloud, FL.

St. Cloud is another one of those well kept secrets. A beautiful BIG LAKE with some of the friendliest people. Located close to Orlando we had a GREAT spectator crowd and some really good close racing. You can see our stats for the season at

Thank you to All of our great sponsors;

Sevenstar Yacht Transport

Seariders Freight Forwarders

Encompass Yacht Management

P & R Canvas

Billfish Marina

ARS Marine Electric

We are anxious to go again next year as it is a GREAT way to showcase all of our products and services. I will be working on a program for next season and will be in touch soon.

 On behalf of Paula, Myself, and the entire Cheoy Lee Shipyards Organization, we thank you.


Gene Weeks