American Gary Garbrecht, who died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 62, was probably the greatest influence on international circuit (inland) powerboat racing in the 1970s
American Gary Garbrecht, who died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 62, was probably the greatest influence on international circuit (inland) powerboat racing in the 1970s.
Joining the Carl Kiekhaefer organization in its early days before becoming Mercury Marine, Garbrecht served his time in all departments eventually settling in the high performance division. He was made Director of Racing when the company decided to use competitive powerboating as a development tool. He eventually moved his operation to Lake X near Orlando in Florida and it was he tested drivers from around the world before signing them up as professional members of the Mercury works team.
Many who became stars of the sport were given their chance by Garbrecht including Italian Renato Molinari, Americans Bob Hering and Billy Seebold, Dutchman Cees Van der Velden and British pair Tom Percival and Bob Spalding. When Mercury Marine withdrew from company participation in 1980, Gary Garbrecht launched Second Effort, a high performance engineering company dedicated to both circuit and offshore racing.
Second Effort kept him at the top of the sport and it was here he would advise the old Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) with their Evinrude and Johnson range of racing engines and later Mercury Marine on their private team support and how best to maximize any publicity potential. He was also instrumental in launching what was to become the current Formula I World Series.
Gary Garbrecht served as President of the Union (Internationale Motonautique (UIM) – the world governing body for powerboat sport – and also held high positions with the American Power Boat Association (APBA).