Mercury Pros Van Dam and Rook out run/out fish competitors in "Super Bowl of Fishing"; Fourth year of faultless operation for 2002 OptiMax 200 hp engines

NEW ORLEANS, La. (Aug. 8, 2001) --- For the fourth straight year Mercury's OptiMax outboards powered the top contenders to the winner's circle in the "Super Bowl of Bass Fishing", the 31st Annual BASS Masters Classic.

With what each called "superior running performance" of their engines, Mercury pros Kevin Van Dam and Scott Rook were presented first and second place checks and trophies before some 22,000 wildly cheering fans inside the New Orleans Superdome.

"Every 2002 model year 200 HP OptiMax used by the Mercury Classic contenders performed brilliantly ," said Terry Heist, Mercury special events service manager. "Many of these anglers ran in upwards of 250 miles per day for four days."

Van Dam, Kalamazoo, Mich., who collected $100,000 for his win with 32 lbs. - 5 ozs. of bass, was thrilled with his OptiMax's performance.
"I was running 90 miles each way to get to the area where I fish," said Van Dam. "I did it for four days with that engine and it never sputtered or missed a lick. The fuel efficiency of the OptiMax made a big difference. The speed is the other benefit. On the last day I was running 69 mph and passing the competitive engines. It was like the engine was getting stronger as it went on."
"When you're driving those distances, if you can figure a way to gain yourself a few miles per hour more, that's an extra two to three minutes of fishing and another 15 to 20 casts and that could mean another fish, the winning fish"
"We run these engines hard in an effort to maximize our fishing time and minimize the time between spots, so it's nice not to have to worry about your outboard."
Making a comparison of Mercury's Classic service crew, to a NASCAR pit crew Van Dam said, "It's all a team effort and it doesn't happen without them. There's a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes to have the Classic go off that well and the service crew is a big part of it.

Second place finisher, Scott Rook- Super Happy

Another contender making the long runs to the same region as Van Dam was second place finisher Scott Rook, Little Rock, Ark., who finished just a pound back in weight of bass for $40,000.

"I was running 140 miles round trip each day and I never had a problem. On top of that in the first day of practice I hit a floating log with the gearcase, knocked the motor completely out of the water, which stopped us dead. We had been traveling 20 to 30 mph upon impact. We looked for damage to the engine, saw none and ran the remainder of the day never having a problem."

"That's got to say a lot for the durability of the motor. That played on my mind when I was making my runs especially when I was in second place on the last day, but I never had a problem. Talk about durable, it doesn't get anymore durable than that.

Rook added, "I never needed to stop for gas. The OptiMax was very fuel-efficient."
"I'm super happy to be a part of the Mercury Pro Team and proud of my finish this year," he added.

In four Classic events OptiMax outboards have proven to be flawless performers

At the weigh-ins for the fourth straight year, tournament anglers could not praise the Mercury OptiMax product and the service team's support enough.

The smooth running OptiMax engines were introduced to the Classic field in 1998 Greensboro, N.C. when Mercury rejoined B.A.S.S.

The Mercury OptiMax 200s are part of a family of the marine industry's leading direct injection two-stroke outboards. OptiMax engines feature 4-stroke running quality along with an environmentally friendly smoke-free and fuel-efficient operation. All of the 2002 OptiMax engines (225, 200, 175, 150 and 135 hp) incorporate Motorola's Powertrain Control Module (PCM) 555. These state-of-the-art power packages monitor a multitude of engine functions via sophisticated sensors which delivers higher speed, and more robust data communications to engine control systems such as Mercury's SmartCraft and Electronic Throttle and Shift. The OptiMax engines already exceed EPA emissions criteria for 2006.
But for Mercury's Classic pros, OptiMax means more fishing time after the long run and assurance of getting back on time.

Contact: Pete Johnson
Johnson Communications, Inc.