120 MPH On the Water
Evinrude recently interviewed Australian Conn Saloumidis, the owner of SUV Dodge Ram, a Superboat powered by twin Evinrude E-TEC 300s. We asked Conn about his racing career, his boat, and of course, his Evinrude E-TEC engines.
Evinrude: What drew you to Offshore Superboat racing?
Conn: I’ve been a fan of Superboats since I first saw these awesome vessels speed across the ocean when I was a kid holidaying in Surfers Paradise in Queensland. In 2007, I was lucky enough to be invited to an Offshore Superboat event in Geelong, Victoria. I was hooked. I’ve since sponsored a Doug Wright boat, an AMC, and most recently, a prototype Australian-designed and -built boat called Blade.
E: Dodge Rams are trucks, not SUVs. How did SUV Dodge Ram come about?
C: Our company, Salstrip Ultimate Vehicles (SUV), is the largest importer and converter of Dodge Rams in Australia. Since we tow all our race boats with the awesome Dodge Rams we thought it only fitting to call our team SUV Dodge Ram.
E: Your boat is considered one of the most electronically advanced Superboats in Australia. Without giving away any secrets, can you tell us what makes your boat so special?
C: Well not to put too fine a point to it, but this boat is the most advanced Offshore Superboat in the world, both in electronics and build technology. We can’t take all of the credit for this, as Evinrude E-TEC engines are a big reason we are so electronically advanced. With Garmin navigation screens, there is no need for any analog gauges or mechanical indicators, which are the first things to let you down when you are doing over 120 miles per hour. All of the engine information, trim, speed, GPS position, etc. are displayed on 12-inch Garmin GPS units. They show engine parameters, navigation, and on-board cameras all on one screen, allowing ultimate control.
E: How long have you been using Evinrude E-TEC engines on your race boat?
C: This is the first year on our brand new Superboat. With the initial testing and commissioning being completed and our first race under our belt, we could not be happier with our engines and how they performed. They were well beyond our expectations.
E: Why did you choose Evinrude?
C: All of the boats we’ve sponsored had run Mercury engines, either 300HP X, 2.5 Offshores, or 300XS. With the new boat we wanted to go with an engine that had loads of torque and power, was fuel efficient, and had the grunt and low emissions of a two-stroke. We need easy maintenance and enough reliability to compete all over Australia, thousands of miles away from our race shop. The new E-TEC 300 engines ticked all of the boxes, so we decided they would be the engines for us. Also, I have a soft spot for Evinrude as I have a 30-year-old 235 hp on a little ski boat that’s never missed a beat in the 25 years I’ve owned it. So I know how reliable these engines are in the long term.
E: What kind of speed is SUV Dodge Ram capable of running with its current setup?
C: At the current setup, she is capable of over 120 miles per hour.
E: What do you think makes Evinrude engines so good?
C: With the Evinrude E-TEC engines, you get proven technology, attention to detail, proven reliability, and a great team of guys in Australia that support the product. These guys race themselves and really know how to service and back a product, so the ownership of an E-TEC is a joy.
E: Off-shore racing is not for the faint of heart. What do you love most about it?
C: The thrill of racing with an awesome group of people in some of the most amazing places in Australia.
E: Where are some of your favorite places to go boating in Australia?
C: I think the best place to race is Newcastle Harbor, but we go to Mackay, Townsville, Hervey Bay, Mooloolaba, Redcliffe, Geelong. They are all amazing places with awesome harbors. I’ve seen the Offshore Boat races in Key West, and racing there is a goal of our team.
E: Do you have any suggestions to Evinrude owners on getting the most out of their E-TEC?
C: I think the best advice is a quote Evinrude uses in their advertising “Spend more time on the water.” In the USA, you have some of the best waterways in the world. These engines, with their long service intervals and ultimate reliability, allow you to be out on the water for longer. So get out there and enjoy!