A father and son racing team
Published 4:59 pm, Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Most fathers and their teenaged sons toss a ball around in the backyard, or maybe sail together or shoot hoops — if that.
Ken and 18-year-old E.J. Salamone, ride the waves at 75 mph on the professional powerboat racing circuit. E.J., a recent graduate of St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, will attend the Stern School of Business at NYU this fall.
The father-and-son duo from Greenwich took first place at Seaside Heights Barnegat Bay Grand Prix late last month and won a $10,000 purse. They plan to compete through the summer on the Offshore Power Boat Association tour in New England, Canada and Michigan.
Ken Salamone, who works on Wall Street, has a summer house in the Adirondacks and took his son out powerboating regularly as a youngster. He realized that E.J. was a natural behind the wheel, something of a phenom in the sport of powerboat racing, and the two boaters took it to the next level. They began competing on the professional circuit last year, showing good results before the big win May 31 in the Class 5 division.
E.J. won a “rookie of the year” designation from the Offshore Powerboat Association. The two race together on a 30-foot Superboat named “RUFST” — as in “are you fast?”
“When we get together on the boat, the father and son thing is put aside, and we’re more like equals,” E.J. Salamone said. “We really have to work together.”
Ken Salamone works the throttle, controlling the “attitude” of the craft, and E.J. steers.
The world of powerboating racing has a lot of appeal, the young racer said. “The races are fun events, we have a lot of friends, it’s a good time. And when race day comes, it’s game face on.”
He enjoys the mix of concentration and thrills that come from flying across the waves and matching wits with other racers, he said.
Ken Salamone said he feels like he hit the jackpot as a dad, sharing the same sporting passion as his son.
“When you’re out there racing, there’s a lot of adrenaline. And racing with your son, it’s a dream come true. I wish every father could find a hobby like this with his son or daughter,” he said.
Father’s Day will find the two together on a boat.
“Maybe I’m buying dinner,” said EJ. “Racing is a good way to spend Father’s Day.”