Michigan powerboat racer Keith Holmes died following the July 30 crash of his 40-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran American Ethanol/Cat Can Do during the St. Clair River Classic in St. Clair, Michigan, said St. Clair County Sheriff Marine Division Lt. Paul Reid. Holmes was the throttleman in the boat. American Ethanol/Cat Can Do driver Jamie Sartin of Norcross, Michigan, was injured in the incident and is in fair condition at St. John Hospital in Detroit, according to a hospital spokesman on August 2.
A native of Canada, Holmes was 55. In addition to owning the offshore racing team, Holmes owned and operated CK Motorsports, a high-performance marine rigging, service and repair business in Nunica, Michigan.
The incident involved Offshore Powerboats Association Extreme Class entries American Ethanol/Cat Can Do and Miss GEICO, a 44-foot Victory catamaran throttled by Scott Begovich of Jupiter, Florida, and driven by Marc Granet of Boca Raton, Florida.
Reid said Monday afternoon the crash remains under investigation. He said Miss GEICO was on an outside track heading due east while Cat Can Do was on an inside track heading northeast when they “ended up in each other’s path.”
According to local media reports, photographer Paul Kemiel was on hand in St. Clair on Sunday. Kemiel has photographed powerboat races for 36 years, and he had a personal, 30-year relationship with Holmes, both as a customer and a friend.
“I always valued his friendship,” Kemiel said. “Every time I saw him, we always checked in, and it was like we had just talked yesterday. He always had a smile on his face. I never saw him being cross. … He was definitely a true benefit to the sport of offshore powerboat racing. He’s gonna be missed. He was one of the best in the business.”
A post on the American Ethanol/Cat Can Do website asks that memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society in memory of Keith Holmes for the Great Lakes Chapter.