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Harbor Beach, Michigan
Maritime Festival
Can-Am Cup
July 17-18, 2004


Top Watercraft Mechanic could give Canada the edge at the Can-Am Cup.
Chris Ogryski
Sports Writer - Huron County Press


After having to watch the United States earn victory in last year’s Can-Am Cup races at the Harbor Beach Maritime Festival, the Canadians are looking to give the American team a little bit of payback. One of the men who could be instrumental in that is Mark Underwood, who is a Canadian watercraft and motorcycle mechanic and is widely known as one of the best boat builders in the industry.

Underwood is a watercraft veteran and has been involved in racing for over 20 years at this point in some form or another. From 1983 to 1991 motorcycle drag racing gave him his kicks, after that he turned to watercraft.

The funny part of the change to watercraft is that Underwood knew little about them. “I started working on watercraft in 1991, having never seen one before,” Underwood said.

So how does one go from knowing nothing about watercraft to being the best of the best? Well, what he lacked in experience with watercraft he made up for in mechanical knowledge. His overall knowledge was strong enough to make him an elite mechanic in the industry.

“As a mechanic I have always focused on the performance element of powersports. Whenever I work on an engine, I can’t help but think of ways to modify it to produce more horsepower,” Underwood said.

Modifying machinery was something Underwood started at a young age. “Even when I was young I would try to get more power out of the family lawn mower. I think we had the highest revving lawn mower in the neighborhood,” Underwood said.

Obviously, Underwood’s gift for adding power is working as last year his boat, driven by Jay Edworthy, took top honors in the 1200. So far, this combination has been really successful and the combination of Jay’s youth and Mark’s experience could very well be what puts Canada over the top this year.

“I’ve known Jay for years from the races and he has always ridden well. He is a tireless competitor,” Underwood said. “I always knew he was talented and when I needed a new rider my first thought was to give Jay a chance.”

Now looking back, Underwood is happy he made that decision years ago. “He has proven to be a great rider and a great friend. He gives 110 percent and has very valuable skills to give feedback to me on how the boat is running, which aids me in tuning,” Underwood said.

Underwood will need that precise feedback if he is to help engineer a Canadian victory at this year Maritime Fest. “We will feel the pressure going to that race for sure. The level of competition at that particular race is incredible,” Underwood said. “I have heard that it has got a lot of racers attention from all over the USA and many will attend this race.”

Of course locals will think this is the greatest race of the year, but the more important question is why the racers think that, too? “I think Harbor Beach is a great venue and the people are super friendly,” Underwood said. “I have never been to a race where I feel so welcome and for sure it is the biggest spectator attended event next to maybe the World Finals.”

Underwood thinks that the unique concept of the Can-Am Cup also adds to the experience of racing in the Thumb. “The idea of Canada vs. USA is a great one. I t allows a new level of competition that the racers, spectators, and support crew can enjoy. There is a lot of friendly teasing back and forth between the two countries and it makes for some great racing,” Underwood said.

“The Harbor Beach race has really raised the bar for personal watercraft race events,” Underwood added.

Now if Underwood and his countrymen can do for Canada what Harbor Beach has done for Watercraft events, the Can-Am Cup may very well be heading north of the border when all is said and done.

Stay tuned for Volume 3 coming Soon!














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