This yearâ€™s Lake of the Ozarks Shootout August 28-29 is looking to be a battle of the 50-foot Mystics, at least when it comes to the fight for Top Gun honors. In one corner, thereâ€™s reigning champion Dave Scottâ€™s Nauti-Marine, which is powered by a pair of 2,000-hp alcohol engines. In the opposite corner, you have Jeff Stevensonâ€™s JBS Racingâ€”officially confirmed last night according to Shootout organizer and title sponsor Ron Dugganâ€”with its twin 1,800-hp turbine engines.
â€śTheyâ€™re (JBS) definitely after Daveâ€™s Top Gun trophy,â€ť said Duggan.
Odds favor a Scott repeat, at least as I calculate them. Scott has as much or more experience at the event as anyone, and he and ace throttleman John Tomlinson have worked together in the cockpit for years. He also doesnâ€™t face the challenge of â€śspooling upâ€ť turbine engines.
On the other hand, JBS Racing is, as the kids in my neck of the woods (the San Francisco Bay area) like to say, â€śhella fast.â€ť Stevenson is ultra competitive and throttleman Joe Skrocki has seen plenty of success, especially when he competed in the Evolution Class of Powerboat P1.
So an upset also wouldnâ€™t surprise me. You also canâ€™t completely count out Bill Pyburn in his Pure Platinum Skater or Gino Gargiulo in his Mercedes MTI. Although both boats have significantly less power than the Mystics, all it would take is a mechanical issue with either Scottâ€™s or Stevensons cat to put them in contention for the Top Gun trophy.
With two weeks left before the event, there are 40 boats registered.
â€śThatâ€™s pretty typical,â€ť said Duggan. â€śHowever many we get pre-registered, weâ€™ll get that many more on the weekend. Last year we had 63 boats pre-registered, and we ended up with 123.â€ť
Yet another stand-out 50-foot Mystic cat, the turbine powered Aqua Mania, has not confirmed whether or not it will participate in the Shootout.