The wet weather of the past few days has been making me even more excited to get out of the house and to the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix events held throughout the weekend. Today on Wednesday, July 27 there are two events where you can see the boats and meet the teams racing this weekend. Our local team, Team REDS, will be at Morton’s Market in Osprey Village from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. In the evening Team REDS will join other race teams at Fleming's Steakhouse (1001 Siesta Dr., Sarasota) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m for Fleming’s Fan Fest. I had a chance to quickly catch up with Team REDS' driver Nate Hunt and throttle Eddie Tamberino, who will be racing in the P-1 class in this weekend's race. They spoke with me about how they got into racing, this week’s weather and how at the end of the day the races are all about the children.
Amanda Landesberg: How did you get into racing?
Eddie Tamberino: I was always into boats and loved boating. When I purchased a race boat I started to race; if you have a boat, why not race it? We’ve been racing ever since.
Nate Hunt: About 1989 a friend of mine raced, and I climbed on board and started from there. And when I was a little younger my dad helped me to race the smaller boats.
AL: Will the crazy weather from this week affect how you race this weekend?
ET: The past couple days, from what I hear, it’s been 9 to 11 foot out there; that would definitely not make a good race. We have to play it day by day because weather conditions play a big role in what we do.
NH: It's all part of racing. You adjust to that.
Eddie explained that the weather necessitates physical changes made to the boat, including changing the boat’s prop and adding weight to the boat to help it stay in the water. While both Eddie and Nate seem focused on preparing for this weekend’s race, they both agree that the most important part of the weekend is the Sarasota community and the kids. Over the past 27 years of offshore racing in Sarasota, $14 million in facilities have been constructed for Suncoast Charities for Children from the proceeds of festivals and events surrounding the races. The Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix is about racing and competition, but at the end of the day, Eddie and Nate agree, it's about raising the money toward upkeep of the Suncoast Charities for Children facilities so the non-profits can focus on what they do best: helping children with special needs. Come out on today to Morton’s and Fleming’s to meet our competitive and friendly local race team. You will have the opportunity to ask them your own questions about the race and even get pictures with the boat! For more information about upcoming Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Events, including Thursday's Pre-Race Party and Fashion Show, visit their website: http://www.suncoastoffshore.org/