Marble Falls boat racer Mallori Carroll returns to his home waters for LakeFest
When LakeFest returns after a three-year hiatus at Lake Marble Falls on August 7-8, Mallori Carroll will be there, decked out in her pink racing gear behind the wheel of her pro-modified division racing boat, “A Little More Therapy.” ”
Mallori, 27, has been pounding the waters of speedboat racing for 17 years now, having raced – and won – her first competition at the age of 10 on her hometown lake in Marble Falls.
“I was scared, I was really scared,” she said. “Everyone tells you what to do, but you really don’t know or understand it until you’re in the queue to leave. “
Unlike other sports in which athletes train a lot on a court, field or track, drag boat drivers only get behind the wheel during competition. They learn by racing.
As of July 1, Mallori has run “A Little More Therapy” six times. She and the crew are still learning the intricacies of the boat.
The race takes place in Mallori’s family. His father, David Carroll, is director of the Southern Drag Boat Association. The SDBA organizes drag boat races, including LakeFest, which it sponsors in partnership with the Marble Falls / Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce.
Before taking over the association, he also participated in competitions and is his daughter’s mentor. Competing for his father’s team, David Carroll Racing LLC, Mallori earned his stripes the hard way, just like any other racer.
“I had to work my way,” she said.
In his first six years of competition, Mallori raced at some of the highest levels, including two trips to the world drag boat championships at Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix. She competed at the World Championships in 2005 and 2008 in the PWC division.
When she became eligible for the boat division under the rules of the International Hot Boat Association, Mallori aspired to compete at even higher levels in faster boats. She made a deal with her father that she could only move on to the next boat division after winning at her current level.
Following this rule, she continues to make her way through the boat divisions, entering the professional classes last year.
Unlike his previous open cockpit boats, his pro-mod includes a closed capsule. Before runners can compete at this level, they must be certified in a live demonstration below the water surface.
For her qualifying test in August 2020, Mallori was submerged at Lake Marble Falls in a blackened capsule.
“You can’t see anything,” she said. “You just have to sit there and wait for the rescue divers to come and get you.”
She passed the test and is eager to run, despite that tinge of fear she feels when she gets into a boat. This is, she said, a good thing.
“My dad always says the part when I’m not afraid is when I have to quit sports,” Mallori said.
Much of Mallori’s strength comes from the team around him as well as his father. Boat preparer Gary Watson is one of the best at what he does. He’s in the team shop pretty much every day, especially during the racing season, working on the boats to get them ready for the next race.
Currently, David Carroll Racing consists of three boats and two personal watercraft as well as 15 people, including five pilots. Everyone works together by supporting each other.
“It’s a really big family traveling together,” Mallori said.
After a year of racing without fans, the riders say they appreciate the cheers and excitement they receive all the more from ribs as the 2021 season continues.
“We love viewers,” Mallori said, adding that Marble Falls fans are special. “Racing is really just a fun group of people who love to talk about racing, their boats and everything around them.”
When Mallori is not racing, the Tarleton State University graduate works as an occupational therapist, hence the name of her boats. Before “A Little More Therapy”, she ran “A Little Therapy”.
Running, she says, is a hobby.
“You really don’t make any money with that,” she said with a laugh. “You do it because you love it and it’s fun.”
The thrill is intense but short-lived. The entire race only takes 6½ seconds in a boat traveling 1000 feet at 170 mph.
“I like to go as fast as I can, and the faster the better,” she said. “I can’t wait to win this class so I can improve again. “