North American Championship
August 8-10, 2008
J and Fae Report
Mid-August means hot hydro action each year in Hampton, Virginia. This year the eighty second Hampton Cup also hosted the North American Championship. Jerry Glass and the Race Committee combined to put on another fine regatta. Excellent pit organization, perfect fan viewing on the closed bridge, plus lots of vendors made this a fun event for all. When you throw in two days of excellent water you get lots of speed and very happy crowds.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-8) (Y-7) (S-11) (A-3) (E-4) (NM-4) (GNH-4) (JSS-6) Total-47
T boats had one of the strongest fields of the year. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What was the favorite due to a great Summer so far. The only way to beat Brandon is to nail the start on the inside with a fast boat and drive like a maniac. That is exactly what Jimmy Shane (T-17) Tangled Up In Blue did to pull the upset. Jimmy McMullen (T-5) Trophy Hunter was flying as well to follow Brandon (T-1) home for third. It was a nice show by a deep field of T's.
Y boats saw some close competition this weekend. Keith McMullen driving Bob Wilson's (Y-80) Outlaw has been stalking Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie for two years. Keith (Y-80) got the job done to win a qualifier. Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Casual Threat also looked racy running down Keith (Y-80) in a fight for second in a Friday backyard heat. Therefore, these three came to the final with something to prove. Keith (Y-80) nailed the start. Was this the day of reckoning for the Jim Sechler yaller blur? Not quite, as Dan pushed the pedal down with a little extra emphasis and the (Y-1) sailed home to an impressive title. Keith (Y-80) and Sean (Y-52) had to settle for the next two places. These three boats might be the fastest boats in the country. Hey West Coast guys, come on over to Celina so we can find out.
S boats are bouncing back to elite status again. An argument can be made that they have had more strong fields than any class this season. A couple of youngsters hopped into stockers this weekend and put on a show. Paul Brockson drove Clarence Pfaff's (S-19) Claim Jumper to a heat win on Friday as did Brandon Kennedy in Sam Horner's (S-88) Playin Again. Bobby Kennedy was back in the (S-88) for the North Americans and he proved too much to handle as he charged into the first corner and never looked back. Bobby and Sam have been a great combo this Summer and this title is no surprise. That is not to say it was easy. Jimmy Shane in Sid Johnson's (S-14) Beverly Ann and Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday ran very strong to complete the podium. All three of these vessels will be stout in Celina later this month. Look out Dutch!
A boats got a boost as Rob Hall (A-1) Silver Clouds Inn Marine Dream miraculously returned after the Waterford, Michigan crash. Thanks Jon Staudacher. Rob had gremlins but Greg Isaacs (A-164) Blitzkreig has caught fire lately. He is flying and took a win in a tiny field. Gene Defalco (S-173) On The Edge took second after stepping up.
E boats are in short supply in the East this year. We do have quality however, as Jim Martin (E-43) Keen's Machine is as fast as anyone in North America. He proved it in the final. Todd Liddycoat (E-97) Team Extreme roared across the starting and led for a while. In the past this race would have been over. Not this time, as Jim (E-43) ran Todd (E-97) down and ripped away to the checkers. Mr. Consistency, Tom Thompson brought Donnie Thompson's (E-1) Batt Boat home third.
GNH boats tried to shut J and Fae's mouth after the Cambridge R.I.P. comment. Four big bombers showed up to make some noise. Alas, bad luck kept stopping their heats until three boats broke or retired due to frustration or saving equipment. In cancelling the R.I.P. notice here were the entries: Danny Ramsey (GNH-3) Rambunctius, Tony Stalder (GNH-83) Blue Mule, The Coan's (GNH-829) Rubber Ducky and Thom Heins (GNH-115) MAS Epoxies.
NM boats presented one major favorite. Scott Liddycoat stepped in for Tony Black in the (NM-928) Illusion. This boat is a bomb! Scott streaked away to the title establishing the Illusion as a major top dawg at the Nationals. Steve Short (NM-17) Get Boat Gear. Com and Amy Brockson (NM-370) Sonic Speed took second and third respectfully.
JsS boats developed into a great duel between Jimmy Stewart (JS-721) G'on Skiffin Crazy and James Buterla (JS-712) Flyin High. Wow, two boats similar in color, numbers #721 and #712, with #712 using#721's backup engine. Is that confusing enough? Jimmy (JS-721) got a super win. Rob Flayhart/TJ Sohn (JS-66) Yellow Jacket ran a strong third. It is impressive to see the improvement in the (JS-66) this Summer. The two seats in this class allowed the Race Committee to hold a drawing to let two fans take a ride during flag laps. The two winners are long time Hampton Cup fans. Ryan Price has been to the Cup since he was a little guy and his smile lit up the shoreline after he got out. Lewis Nash has attended more than twenty Cups in a row and he was just as thrilled. That was cool!
Well, that is about it for Hampton 2008. While it was not the Nationals this year, the giant crowds saw some fine racing action. Hot hydros entertained the fans for two plus days until Hampton turned into the Mekong Delta on Sunday with tropical like rain sending everyone for cover. It was a soggy end to an otherwise fun weekend. See ya at the Nationals! J and Fae