Mercury Verado runs first SMOC class four-stroke

Mercury Marine said it has once again proved it’s an industry innovator by running a four-stroke outboard at the Feros Hotels Sydney Bridge to Bridge ski race classic. According to Mercury it’s the first time a four-stroke has ever powered a SMOC boat in Australian competition.

“The boat was called Silent Black, it’s a LAB sports powered by a stock 250 Verado, and it’s certainly got people asking questions,” said Guy Williamson, Mercury’s director – service & quality.

Mercury said it ignored the myth that serious ski racers can only use two-stroke engines, believing its supercharged Verados could mix it with the fastest boats in competitive SMOC racing.

Silent Black started the event carefully but then moved up the field once past the first bridge, before unforseen propeller problems put a stop to the action.

“We were about to pass second place finisher Stalker and our propeller failed,” said David Aggar, Silent Black’s driver. “We were gutted.”

“At the point we lost the propeller Silent Black had exceeded our expectations and we were definitely competing for a podium place which, in such a quality field, would have been the ultimate debut,” said Williamson.


The concept started at this year’s Sydney Boat Show when Troy Wood from Sea Quest Performance and boat-owner David Aggar approached Mercury to discuss the possibility of running a Verado in the SMOC class. The project was then codenamed “Silent Black”.

Over a six week period Mercury worked closely with Sea Quest Performance to develop and hone the boat’s set until the team felt they could meet all expectations and exceed some.

“We had to throw out everything we knew about setting up a ski racing boat and start again. We had to write some new rules to optimise the boat with the engine, but when we got it right we knew we had a racing machine,” said Williamson.

“We learnt a lot from the Bridge to Bridge and we’re going to come back faster and stronger,” he added.

“We didn’t have time to test all of our ideas before the Bridge to Bridge, so now we’ve got a chance to get the boat back in the water and continue the fine tuning.”

Silent Black is scheduled to at the Southern 80, and Mercury said a podium finish is the goal.