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Gecko's man guides lightning-fast racer

A local pilot drives the powerful Miss Geico while gunning for a world powerboat title.

By NICK JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer
Published November 11, 2007


ST. PETE BEACH- When Marc Granet of St. Pete Beach goes for a boat ride, it's not for the usual reasons of fun or relaxation.

His experience is quite different.

That's because the boat he drives isn't the usual watercraft; it's a 4,000-horsepower turbine-driven powerboat.

The Miss Geico, driven by Granet and his partner, Scott Begovich, will be competing among other race boat elite today in the final races of the Super Boat International Key West World Championship.

The race will showcase some of the fastest powerboats in the water.

"The level is really high, the speeds are tremendous and the technology is over the top," Granet said.

The Miss Geico runs on two turbine engines, like the ones that power helicopters, and has reached speeds of more than 190 mph.

With Granet behind the wheel, the one-of-a-kind boat has already set two world records.

"When we're in the cockpit, we're at work," he said. "While it's something you love, it's very serious in there."

He described the boat as having one person on the gas, one person on the steering wheel and no brake. "You have to be able to think quickly and be on your toes."

While the competition will be fierce, the Miss Geico decidedly has the speed advantage. The race team has even been given a handicap, starting a mile behind their closest competitor.

Granet said he expected a win.

"I feel it. I'm confident in my team, I'm confident in my boat. ... I know we can do it."

Nick Johnson can be reached at or 893-8361.

[Last modified November 10, 2007, 21:52:23]

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