Boater running high-ethanol blend smashes speed record

By Growth Energy | September 06, 2016

Competitors from around the country recently participated in two major powerboat racing competitions, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Missouri, and the Mentor Superboat Grand Prix in Mentor, Ohio. Many of the top performing boats at each event ran on high-ethanol blends, with over 30 performing at their peak with higher blends at the event in Missouri, including a world record-setting performance.

At the Lake of the Ozark’s shootout, Don Onken’s American Ethanol Mystic Powerboats Catamaran broke its own previous record of 208 mph, and took home “Top Gun” honors with a record setting speed of 217 mph while running on a high-ethanol fuel blend. Onken’s speed was the fastest ever recorded for a piston-powered boat at the event. Meanwhile, Garth Tagge and his team came in second place to Onken’s boat at the Shootout in their 36-foot Skater Classic Deck, with a top speed of 194 mph. Garth and crew increased their speed, power and performance this year after they made the switch to a cleaner burning, high ethanol blend.

“The bottom line is ethanol has quite a bit of horsepower,” said Tagge. “I’d estimate it to be probably about 100 more horsepower. It added very good power and was certainly quite a boost. I’m very pleased with it, and I’m glad we made the conversion to ethanol. Our goal is to run fast in shootouts, so any type of performance boost we can get, we look for that.” Garth’s boat reached a top speed of 178 mph last year, and has since increased his speed by nearly 20 mph.

Dennis Parvey competes in the Non-Professional Vee-Bottom class and took home first place in that category at the Ozark’s Shootout. Parvey noted, “Our top speed this past year was 165 mph which set a new track record for all vee-bottom categories by more than 12 mph. We switched to ethanol three years ago and are still on the same rebuild. It has a much wider tuning range and is much easier on pistons and top rings, not to mention you can turn the boost up and make more power.”

In Cleveland, Keith Holmes claimed a victory in his American Ethanol Cat Can Do Catamaran over the rest of the field, earning his sixth victory in 11 starts. Holmes said, “Running ethanol has given us a huge gain in torque with these supercharged Sterling engines which gives us a great advantage coming out of the turns. We also have had awesome durability with over 2,000 miles of racing over the last two racing seasons on our first set of these ethanol built engines. Meanwhile, our competition has been struggling to get three to four races out of their engines before replacing.”

Holmes also spoke about the environmental aspect behind their decision to run ethanol, saying “It is friendly to work with, and we don’t get all the vapor and fumes that we are used to smelling from other fuels. Ethanol is also biodegradable, so it’s better for the water. It burns extremely clean and smokeless, and we never see any of the sludge, gum and residue in our engines. It runs extremely dry in our fuel system. We run ethanol because it works.”

Growth Energy CEO, Emily Skor, reflected on ethanol’s stellar showing in both events saying, “The results from last weekend proved that American Ethanol is more than compatible with marine engines because it burns cooler and cleaner than regular gasoline, and boosts power and performance. These boats running ethanol are taking home top honors and smashing records in competition, and these races are great validators for all the environmental and engine benefits of ethanol – it’s very exciting to see.”