August 11-12, 2012
J and Fae Report
J and Fae rolled into Hampton this weekend to enjoy the National Championship Regatta. This area screams of history with Jamestown, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads and many Civil War battle sites. It was time for a quality contingent of inboards to make their own history to compare with many great champions who have raced here over the years. Tommy Thompson's Race Committee was ready to host a great event on this classic venue. Jackie Meyer, Dave Shaw and Fred Benzinger refereed a tense competition for the coveted National titles. Announcer John Tomey called the race expertly throughout as he is a wealth of knowledge on all the competitors. A great time was had by all even though Saturday's rain was a hindrance. Wisely, the refs decided to wait it out and they were able to get some heats run in the evening on Saturday. We crowned the 2012 Champions and this story will concentrate on those title runs.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-5) (Y-10) (S-12) (A-7) (E-7) (NM-5) (PS-3) (JSS-9) (Vintage-1) total-59
T boats got to race thanks to the Bush family and a clutch effort by Courtney Stewart. John and Richard Shaw either owned or drove all four boats that competed. (T-24 was there for sale) John in Doug Hagitha's (T-1) Trophy Hunter is the boat to beat in the USA and he dominated to win the title. The final saw three boats score up with Courtney (T-53) My Mistake off pace. As Matt Henning (T-125) Bluewater Special, John (T-1) and Richard Shaw (T-81) Ridiculous Expectations exited turn one they backed off to let Courtney reach the start creating a legal field. That heads up move allowed John (T-1), Matt (T-125) and Richard (T-81) to share the podium. Congrats to John Shaw for the 2012 National Championship.
Y boats are one of the deepest, most exciting fields of racers at each event this year. While some classes have lost boats, the Y's are defying the bad economy, high gas prices obstacles. This event was no exception as several "bombs" were ready to rocket. Favorites included Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie, Chris Peabody (Y-5) FTX Motersports.com, Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Roostertails Racing, Marty Hammersmith (Y-4) Nauti Buoy, Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant and Keith McMullen/George Kennedy (Y-80) Outlaw. The new pre-start lunacy saw everybody parked at the 1:30 marker/ start finish line. After some shuffling the field lined up and headed for the start. Now, everybody hurtled into turn one with Chris (Y-5) in the lead only to break. Dan (Y-1) took over holding off a flying Sean (Y-52) for the title. Oops, Sean (Y-52) took a score up penalty allowing racing icon George Kennedy (Y-80) and ever improving Marty Hammersmith (Y-4) to complete the podium. George is a hall of famer and Marty is flying although a little too high in a blow over during Sunday's backyard. He is ok and the boat will need a little TLC. Dan and owner Jim Sechler are Batman and Robin in the Y's.
S boats presented a maniacal field of lunatics. As always, several teams were fast enough to win so the start would be critical. Top contenders were Bobby Kennedy (S-88) Playin’ Again, Jeff Bernard (S-12) Liquid Lizard (Miss Dream), Jesse Robertson ( S-79) Bad Influence, Brandon Kennedy (S-25) Shameless Say What, Kent Henderson (CS-519) Bank On It, Howie Schnabolk/ Gene Defalco (S-80) On The Edge and Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday Money. The score up made the Y's look tame as boats leap frogged everywhere, what a mess. Throw in gun jumpers and you get the picture, it was wild. Turn one was indecipherable. It takes a talented and ruthless driver to escape and that defines Bobby. He raced up the backstretch shadowed by Joe Longo (S-146) L'il Lectron. Out of turn two and Joe swung wide chasing Jeff (S-12) toward downtown Phoebus. That is all Bobby needed as he roared away to the title in a great final. Jeff (S-12) finally cleared traffic to take second ahead of Doug (S-33). The entire field ripped in about a second as this was a race to remember.
“A” boats are about Tom Thompson (A-52) Fat Chance 2. This Richards/English spider is nearly unbeatable with Tommy aboard. Now, who would step up to challenge this formidable team? How about Bobby Kennedy in Greg Isaac's (A-47) Blitzkrieg? Greg has found something with this hull (the old On The Edge) and driver combo. Bobby was a blur in the qualifier until things got blurry in a spectacular blow over. Lookout for this team in the future. Jim Aid (A-33) In Cahoots Again loves to battle for a title but that new Esslinger was having gremlins involving the starter, leading to consternation from team leader Norm Cameron. So with that backdrop here came the start and......what was that! Jim (A-33) laced it and roared into turn one alone. Tommy (A-52) gave a valiant chase but this day belonged to Jim (A-33) as the hall of famer awakened the echoes of that screaming BMW of the past to win the title. Tommy (A-52) held off Andrew Tate (A-25) Fat Chance for second place. Jim Aid and Tommy Thompson, now that's star power babee! (and that fella Andrew Tate has a pretty good set of racing genes too).
With the flat bottoms it is the proverbial chicken versus the egg story. Did the teams fail to show up causing venues to cancel them, or did Regattas not inviting them cause a loss of interest. Whatever, three vessels put on a good show in an unofficial race. Dale Hernandez (PS-516) Cherokee Thunder out raced Paul Fitzgerald (PS-24) Intimidator and Jim Klauss (PS-29) J and J Marine. We saw it as Paul (PS-24), Dale (PS-516) and Jin (PS-29) on the beach so there must have been penalties.
Vintage class was represented by the Hall family's (GP-97) Bluewater Special. This beautiful two-seater put on a nice show.
JSS boats had a strong field with the venerable Tom Pakradooni (JS-7) Rolling Thunder taking a break from GP to mix it up with the "bounders". Jimmy Stewart (JS-1) Summer Storm is very stout along with a bunch of hot boats on hand. Pak (JS-7) tried to sneak around at the score up but Jimmy (JS-1) held the pin tight forcing the 7 to the outside. Pak (JS-7) proceeded to roar down the lane he inherited and out accelerate everybody to the checkers ahead of Jimmy (JS-1) and Leonard Outlaw's (JS-3) Making Memories. However, internet info reports that Tom (JS-7) flunked inspection elevating Jimmy (JS-1) to a well earned victory. Leonard (JS-3) takes second with Bobby Presley (JS-9) Kentucky Blue in third. Congrats Jimmy and way to go Peg Ewancio pointing him in the right direction.
NM boats are about chasing Charlie Miller in Bobby Murray and Lemuele Thompson's (NM-200) Mr. Jr's Lauterbach Special. That boat is a guided missile. Charlie turned 106 mph to obliterate the field. Scott Blackwell (NM-93) Desperado and Tommy Thompson (NM-81) Country Boy ran great as well to complete honors. Also a shout out to Paul Brockson (NM-370) Sonic Speed as that team is making good speed without state of the art equipment. Bottom line, you take a Lauterbach hull, add a sprint car engine and a good driver and that combo is hard to beat.
E boats had a small but mighty field as top notch drivers in immaculate rigs put on a rowdy show. Just like Waterford, Jeff Bernard (E-1) Peters and May My Way squared off against the (E-30) Pennzoil Big Bird with Brandon Kennedy driving this time. Now, throw in Wally Johnston (E-98) Agitator plus some other hotties and you got a race. This time Jeff (E-1) and Brandon (E-30) ran as one for a lap. Incredible action. From there Jeff (E-1) took over a little at a time to come home with the victory in the most recent Weber family bomb. Brandon (E-30) and Wally (E-98) completed the honors. The kamikazes did not disappoint.
As is a custom in major Eastern races, several special awards were presented to deserving teams. They were: Henry Lauterbach Memorial Award (most points) Jim Sechler (Y-1), Hampton Cup (closest to a record) Charlie Miller (NM-200), Eddie Cannon Award (top E boat) Jeff Bernard (E-1), Buddy Roper Hard Charger Award (most classes run) Tom Thompson, Ronnie Hearn Sportsmanship Award George Kennedy Jr.
That's the story gang. The 2012 Hampton Cup/ Nationals was a huge success. Fantastic racing on as good a venue as you can find. A race committee that never misses a beat. Over the years we have so many cool memories of awesome action we have witnessed from the "bridge". 2012 will take a place among the very best of all those Regattas. Thanks to all the teams who still believe, as we do, that the Nationals are something special. This title dwarfs any other one you can win in APBA. These seven teams can be proud as they are the National Champions of 2012! To Tommy Thompson and the Race Committee, kudos for putting on a classic! See ya in Tonowanda. J and Fae