NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Pre-Season Report – NEW TEAMS, NEW BOATS, NEW DRIVERS!
At press time, the COVID-19 crisis was still affecting the entire world. The goal at NGK F1 is to ensure the safety of everyone involved by relying on the input and advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), National, State, and Regional government health authority guidelines. With the situation fluid and unpredictable, please visit the NGK F1 website to receive the most up to date information on the 2020 NGK F1 Powerboat Championship race schedule: www.NGKF1PowerboatChampionship.com or follow NGK F1 Powerboat Championship on Facebook.
NGK F1 Powerboat Championship racing series continues to flourish in 2020, attracting drivers from around the world and partnering with fresh new venues year after year. The upcoming season will see a handful of new drivers and new teams joining the NGK F1 veterans, creating a colorful field of F1 boats representing 12 different race boat manufacturers from the US as well as abroad.
Reigning 2019 NGK F1 Champion, Ashton Rinker of Riverview FL, the son of former racer and multi-champion Terry Rinker, has the full intention of repeating his winning season and taking his third series championship. After winning every NGK F1 event in 2019, Rinker knows all the other teams will have him in their sights. But that isn’t a concern for Rinker. “I enjoy having the target on my back. It makes me drive harder and it makes me want to win even more,” Rinker said.
A welder by trade, and a US Marine Corps veteran, Rinker credits his hard working team and his own work ethic and experience as the main reasons he is able to crank out victory after victory, saying, “We take boat racing very seriously and because I’ve grown up around the sport, I know how much work you have to put in. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
Chris Fairchild from Illinois, the runner up in the 2019 F1 Championship, and his teammate Dustin Terry of Louisiana, are returning to NGK F1 as a winning force for McCollough Racing. These two fan favorites have added a Hoffman race boat to their stable.
The F1 driver who finished 3rd in the Championship points in 2019, Rusty Wyatt of Canada, will be driving for a brand-new team, “Phase Three Performance”, founded by former racer and three-time world champion, Jim Slack, Jr. of Texas. Wyatt has made a habit of finishing on the podium, but has yet to earn the top spot. “I’ve won a lot of heats in F1, but I’ve never won a main event. And I’m hungry! I’m very excited to get to work,” Wyatt acknowledged.
Mark Major of Canada will returning to the cockpit in 2020, and will be campaigning in his French-made Moore hull after his driver and cousin, Rusty Wyatt, accepted the position at Phase Three. Major enjoys the excellent exposure NGK F1 brings. “Part of my decision to come back is because of the NGK series and [series manager] Tim Seebold, who I used to compete against. I feel NGK has given the drivers and teams a reason to race.”
Another new team joining the growing excitement of NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship is Dillard Racing, coming to the US after a few years racing UIM F2 overseas. The team has selected German F2 racing star Stefan Hagin to be their pilot. Hagin placed third in the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship Tour in Abu Dhabi, and first in the 2019 F2 Grand Prix of Norway. Dillard Racing will be debuting their newest Italian DAC hull. Team manager Steve Dillard said, “We will bring this boat to the United States for the 2020 NGK F1 racing season.” Dillard Racing is also bringing a Moore hull from overseas, and is contemplating the addition of another European driver to compete in some events.
The team will have sponsorship backing by Dillard Financial Solutions and carries high expectations for a banner year. “Our goal is to make the podium at every race during the 2020 F1 racing season here in the United States,” said Steve Dillard, team owner.
Dylan Anderson of Tennessee, a rookie from 2019 and the only team to run a Yamaha outboard on the NGK F1 circuit, will be debuting a brand-new Hoffman hull during the 2020 season. Another driver to be acquiring a new Hoffman – his second — during the off-season is Spencer Love. Greg Foster of California has already raced his new 2019 Hoffman hull at the end of the NGK F1 season last year, but for 2020 he will also be racing in the F1H2O series.
Several brand-new boats have also emerged from the Composite Craft factory of California. Johnny Fleming from Texas plans to run every race of the circuit in 2020 in his new Composite Craft, after selling his Seebold hull from the previous season to new rookie F1 driver, Jesse Swain. A third new Composite Craft is rumored to be headed to F1 driver Jake Alkema.
Fleming is looking forward to reaching the top of the podium this year with his new hull powered by his newly built Mercury 2.5 F1 motors. The first race will be their hometown event. “Our team has always favored Port Neches. It is our hometown track and the Wheelhouse is one of our favorite restaurants with best seafood nachos. We’ve had multiple second place finishes which has only increased our desire for first place.”
Another brand-new Composite Craft owner is Mike Quindazzi of Buckshot Racing #77, under the new title sponsorship of Hill Marine. The team has also picked up an Italian-made DAC hull. Quindazzi is hoping for a stellar season with his improved and upgraded team. He plans to compete in all six races of the series.
After taking some time off in 2019, Minnesota driver, Aaron Wachholz of “Lucky 13 Racing” will debut a brand new boat from his boat company, Vampire Sport Boats, where Jeff Baker is in charge of the builds.
Tim Kraft, has added a 2002 Italian-built DAC to his program, and the Illinois driver hopes to compete in all the events on the 2020 NGK F1 tour.
Three Texas teams that are working hard off-season are Wesley Cheatham, who will be debuting a newly acquired Seebold in his bid for the championship. Tracy Hawkins, who came close to Championship victory in 2018, has also been busy all winter repairing his boats and those of his competitors and will be bringing back his favorite purple and yellow “Blackhawk Electric” Kaos that he has worked on feverishly since the end of last season. Sport Marine’s Jeremiah Mayo, who finished seventh in points last year, will be debuting a new carbon fiber Seebold hull.
The NGK F1 circuit has been growing with fervor and is steadily bringing new rookies on board each year. 2020 will see a handful of new drivers joining the ranks, including new driver Krischano with his BABA hull, who previously raced in offshore category, and driver Dean Comer of California.
The three supporting classes of the NGK F1 Powerboat Championship Series have also been using the off-season to prepare for 2020; F-Light, Tri Hull and J-Hydro. The tight racing in these classes is packed with excitement and are crowd pleasers that keep fans begging for more. Each class comes with their own unique style of competition, which complements the marquee F1 class perfectly.
The NGK Spark Plugs Formula 1 Powerboat Championship is grateful to have the strong commitment of title sponsor, NGK Spark Plugs – The Ignition Specialist. For more information, visit www.ngksparkplugs.com .
All the NGK Spark Plugs F1 Powerboat Championship racing action can be found by visiting www.NGKF1.com, or follow NGK F1 Powerboat Championship on Facebook.