in the beginning, back in 1962, at age 12, Billy Frenz put a 15 horsepower Johnson on a 9 foot Skimmar, a dingy made in Greenwich for his father's cabin cruiser, and which was rated for only a 5 hp outboard engine. At speed, as the nails that held the strakes to the bottom popped out and the water squirted in, chewing gum and brass screws were installed...all while traveling at a ripping 25 mph. After tearing the engine off the transom and sinking a few times, the initial thrill - seeking speedboat obsession continued to lead to bigger and better things for a lot of people and, eventually, for the entire powerboat industry.
pictured is Billy's go kart after his 1971 crash at Bridgehampton Raceway…
"I flipped my lay-down enduro go kart in 1971 at Bridgehampton at 105 mph...broke my nose, orbital bone,3 ribs, sheared off the lower 4 teeth, ripped the lower lip, punctured the eyelid with the bubble visor (no full face helmets back then)...still have my Beck's leather jacket with the blood on it! Had braces for 1 year to move my lower teeth around and install a bridge. Somehow after recuperation, I convinced my mother to allow me to buy the Bertram Baron and that boat racing was safer than go-kart racing. Gosh, I must have put my parents through hell!" - BF (2014)
Billy began racing on the APBA offshore circuit in 1975 with his "HOT SHOT" Race Team consisting of a Bertram 20, then a Cigarette 28, then a Scarab 30, and then Reggie’s 1st Fountain Executioner 33. "Hot Shot" was the North East Divisional Champ for 3 years running.
This is the original Hot Shot Raceboat, a 1969 Bertram Baron powered by a Holman and Moody 351 Windsor block with a solid-lift 289/271 hp camshaft and a Volvo 280 Outdrive with an Ellis solid-hub 16" prop. she was the APBA divisional Noartheast Champ from 1975 thru 1978 and also won numerous club races. She ran 59 mph all day long!
The 28 Cigarette came after the 20’ Bertram…and ran just 1 mph faster, even though she was powered by twin small block Chevies with Volvo outdrives and ran a class higher than the single engine Bertram ran on the race circuit. She had 3 gas tanks, bright red interior...and just was not quite fast enough…. But she was my 1st real CIGARETTE!
This is the original Reggie Fountain Executioner with twin Merc 454/475 HP Twin turbo-charged engines with Merc Speedmaster II's ...she ran 86 mph!
"I got the boat directly from Reggie." "I ran this boat from 1981 to 1984 then changed her power to triple Merc 200 HP Outboards on a custom Fountain transom bracket." BF
Billy became a member of the New Jersey Offshore Powerboat Racing Association in 1976 as a working staff member on Bill Wishnick’s committee, which produced the BENIHANA GRAND PRIX.
He raced the National Offshore Circuit with the "OUTRAGEOUS" Race Team from 1980 to 1985, as throttleman with a pair of Sutphens, a Peterbilt Tractor/Trailer/Workbox and a full support team.
The 1st Peterbilt with the single sleeper cab and the 30' original OUTRAGEOUS, after winning the RACE on the GREAT SOUTH BAY/AUDIOVOX Classic.
The 30' (white bottom) at the end of her career with us...she had the scoops on top of the engine hatch cover (the last modification we made). See me? the little guy on the port side ...most of the time bending the throttle levers forward as far as they would go!
The 2nd Peterbilt with the big sleeper and flaired exhaust stacks, with the new 33' on the trailer, carried extra racing gas in 4 tanks below the flatbed. A crane was built into the box to change motors...fully self-sufficient.
1983 The 33 Sutphen OUTRAGEOUS (2nd boat)
WORLD CHAMPION RACE TEAMS such as Pete Aitken’s BLACK DUCK TEAM, Larry Smith’s OUTRAGEOUS TEAM, Mark Lavin’s JESSE JAMES TEAM, Joey Impresscia’s EAST COAST MARINE, John and J.D. D’Elia’s SPECIAL EDITION, Guy LaMotta’s DRY MARTINI, Joe Sgro’s FEVER, Pete Meyer’s LADY L, Stu Hayim’s RECOVERY, Bob Idoni’s FAYVA SHOES, Tony Caligure’s OCEAN OUTBOARD, and Reggie Fountain’s debut to offshore racing with the EXECUTIONER TEAM, all honed their skills and got their feet wet on Billy’s NPBA circuit.
The circuit grew in leaps and bounds until the economic downturn of October 1987.
The NPBA went dormant until 1992, when Billy again produced a race on Long Island Sound.. .There were not so many racer’s left though, only 15 participants.
The following year the NPBA produced a Powerboat Poker Run in which everybody could play and performance powerboating enthusiasm was rekindled.
The events grew each year and became televised in 1997.
The National Powerboat Association now produces 4 events per year, the Old Saybrook "Between the Bridges" Powerboat Poker Run, the Glen Cove Powerboat Poker Run, the Manhasset Bay Poker Run and the Milford Poker Run, all on the Long Island Sound.
Contestants come from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Canada, Michigan, Illinois, Maine, and Washington.. 192 boats participated in the 2000 New York City event and the Saturday Nite Live Band played at the parties....Quite a show!
Billy Frenz and the staff of The National Powerboat Association have developed an organization that boosts camaraderie and excitement among high adrenaline powerboaters, both locally & nationwide.
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NPBA Gateway Regatta 1986 (That's Billy's Showboat Riverboat way back there)
The National Powerboat Association is dedicated to the advancement of powerboating in America through event promotions and productions and as a purveyor of powerboats, powerboat equipment, videos, and sportswear. Conceived in 1976 with various regional events and upgraded in 1982 to national events, the N.P.B.A.'s boating experience assures premium shows and quality products.