Vicious Rumors and Vile Gossip: Turbos Converge on LB2CAT


OK, this is going to be a far shorter chapter of “Vicious Rumors and Vile Gossip” but we wanted to squeak this one in before this weekend as we prepare for the annual Long Beach to Catalina Offshore Championship happening this Sunday, July 20th. The race, as it stands, is the longest, most challenging open ocean offshore race there is in the United States of America.

Warner had admitted that the boosted 1.5L is able to go much faster than the champ’s high-70/low-80mph average, but is dialed back to preserve the powertrain as it bounds over the Pacific rollers.

While, in comparison to races like Guadalupe Island’s Karujet, the insane Russki and Jet Raid in Greece, the LB2CAT’s 56 mile-round-trip doesn’t seem like much. But those who dare to compete will attest that the Pacific Ocean can be a cruel and often schizophrenic mistress and can quickly change from glass to brutal overhead chop in the matter of yards.

With nearly a decade of races under the direction of RPM Racing Enterprises‘ Ross Wallach, the west coast promoter has seen his share of broken skis, and riders coming in either injured, out of fuel or woefully lost. On the table for 2014 is possible history in the making, as Kawasaki’s Craig Warner aims to set the world record for consecutive wins, as others look to usurp the world champion.

Of course doing so not only requires the utmost in physical prowess and riding skill, but the right equipment. Being one of the only racers in the world supported by Factory Kawasaki, Warner’s offshore Ultra is a turbocharged affair capable of pushing over 400 horsepower.

Warner’s dominance has baited the likes of Lake Havasu City, Arizona’s Mike Klippenstein who will be competing on his Hydrodrags-worthy turbo’ed Yamaha FX SVHO. Touting R&D Performance’s T2 turbo kit, Klipper’s wicked Yamaha embarrassed the field at last March’s Jettribe Lake Perris Grand Prix Endurance race, and hopes to do the same again this weekend. In fact, it was this FX SVHO that encouraged PWCOffshore‘s own Mark Gerner to purchase a near identical SVHO two weeks ago.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona’s Mike Klippenstein piloted this R&D Performance T1 turbo-powered Yamaha FX SVHO to a heady win in March and looks to repeat this weekend.

In fact, its Gerner who is making the biggest strides to steal Warner’s thunder. The Watercraft Journal was given exclusive insight to the sportsman racer’s plans, which include the yet-to-be-released R&D Performance T1 turbo system for the Ultra 300/310. Starting back as early as April of this year, Gerner’s Kawasaki became the test mule for the aftermarket power-adder.

Spotted during testing late last week, Gerner’s turbo Ultra has been on a dead-locked goal of competing in this Sunday’s LB2CAT.

“I can say with assurity that this is unlike any other built Ultra Kawasaki I’ve had the pleasure of riding. The quick-spooling of the turbo comes on hard – harder than anything I’ve felt before,” Gerner explained.

With the Yamaha T1 turbo system already available through R&D Performance, official word on the availability of the T1 for the Kawasaki has yet to be announced.

While The Watercraft Journal has yet to peek under the hood of Gerner’s Ultra, a glance at R&D’s “Turbo Parts” catalog page reveals some finer details to the kit, like the options between a Borg Warner or Garett GTX turbocharger, Borg Warner inlet and outlet kits, billet brackets and their own R&D Turbo Intercooler.

“I hope to have it ready in time. We’re keeping it below 8,300rpm. We’re chasing down some last minute engine problems,” Gerner sighed. “The engine’s been rebuilt many times before, so we know were the weak link is.”

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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