July 10-12, 2009
J and Fae Report
Since 1988 J and Fae have traveled north for this annual extravaganza. Valleyfield is like no other event. This town embraces the "regates", rooting for each and every team. If you drag a boat into town your status immediately raises to superstar. This hero worship plus strong payouts always draws a superb field. In the past few years the CBF entries in the 1.5 stock, 2.5 stock and 5 litre classes have blossomed as they have joined the GP class to put on some great events. Add in some excellent American rigs who braved the Customs officials and now you are talking about a classic regatta. Unfortunately the GP class was the only group to run a final due to Sunday's windy conditions. Therefore, the other classes were decided on Qualifier points.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-11) (Y-5) (S-21) (E-16) (PS/Can Am-12) (Vintage-6) (GP-10) Total-81.
Y boats were a little lean in number but were their usual screaming, sweet smelling selves. Keith McMullen dominated in Robert Wilson's (Y-80) Outlaw winning both Qualifiers. The Kennedy clan brought an experimental engine and a (Y-25) cowling to convert Brandon's (T-1) to a Y boat. That switch back and forth was a lot of work but this is a family that loves boat racing. Brandon ran pretty good taking one second place. Mike Pomphrey (Y-88) Portside Marine had a second and Andre Rousseau Jr. (Y-3) Bound For Glory took a third. Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant had gremlins.
PS/Can Am boats had a deep, loud field. This is a very popular Valleyfield class. The people go wild when they leave the pits. Sunday's Qualifier was one of the wildest flat bottom races we have ever seen. Several guys stood up on the transom like the "ducks" do at Detroit due to rough water. Eric Hahn (PS-555) The Fez ignored the conditions as he stuffed his boat inside Dale Hernandez (PS-4) Widow Maker on the last turn to win a great heat. The (PS-4) was unreal this weekend and seemed to be the fastest boat. The final standings were sorted out with Dale Hernandez (PS-4), Dominic Cournoyer (Can Am-122) Blue Thunder and Eric Hahn (PS-555) taking honors.
The Vintage class concentrates on big block classes at this race. This year's group put on a fine show as usual. The hulls were Sylvain Demers (GP-1) Desourdy Special, Matt Morsheimer (J-444) Edelweiss, William Morsheimer (H-62) Tool Crib Special, Robin Demers (GP-247) Dynasty and Roger LaPierre (GP-1001) Dynomites. The Vintage class adds to every regatta they attend so we hope they will always join in on many races.
T boats had a true American versus Canadian flavor. With the afore mentioned Canadian growth led by Steve Armstrong (CT-11), Jonathan Abbott (CT-10) Double Eagle, and Kevin Smith (T-26) Dream Weaver going against Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What, John Shaw (T-125) Shameless My Mistake and Kasey Browning (T-15) Hott Stuff the action was going to be hot. Brandon (T-1) dominated his heats winning from any lane he chose. That boat is hooked up. I wish he could have gotten the interview in front of the crowd on Sunday. Jonathan (CT-10) and Steve (CT-11) completed the top three.
E boats presented their typical group of maniacs. Each heat is a blur of bright colors and the sound of finely tuned engines. It was common for four to five boats to exit turn one in a virtual tie. Never mind mentioning top dawgs because everybody was fast. That's right, all sixteen boats ran fast. Every heat was a war. Having said that, the "kamikazes" must have set a record for penalties this weekend. The score up rules calling for establishing lanes off turn two does not work in this class. We had boats out of the turn with over a minute to kill. Consequently there were lots of P1 (gun jumps). The closer to the starting line that you establish lanes, the worse it gets. Oh well, back to the action. The competition was incredible in four sets of qualifiers (8 heats). The boats winning at least one heat reads like a who's who of 5 litre. They were Norm Ensbury (CE-99) OCR Racing, Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) El Diadlo, Sylvain Campeau (CE-20) Dynomites, Francois Campeau (CE-5) Canadian Tire Short Fuse and Kelly Shane (E-77) Team Shane. Sylvain Campeau (CE-20) used excellent consistency to take the title followed by Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) and Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Primeau Performance. That final would have been awesome.
S boats repeated their incredible numbers from Syracuse. Every heat was stacked with quality with 6-7 quick hulls. Marc Theoret (CS-444) Miss Virgo and Mike Monahan in Greg Barker's (S-9) Rewinder won all of their heats setting up a tremendous duel that Mother Nature denied us. Since they were tied in points the decider was the fastest time in the last qualifier which Marc earned by a few seconds. These two boat/driver combos are unreal and we can only hope to see them tangle again this summer. However, in the states Mark Johnson drives the Barker boat. How lucky can a team be to have two drivers of that quality? Eric Langivin (CE-12) Long Shot took third with last year's (CS-1) Derek Anderson regaining his form to take fourth in the Left Turn Racing. A shout out to Nicolas Rousse (CE-225) Oiseau Bleu as the rookie won a heat too. The "stockers" were cool!
GP boats presented a strong ten boat field. Claude Bergeron (GP-444) GP Valleyfield, Patrick Haworth (GP-777) Crush, Bert Henderson (GP-77) Steeler and Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder won Qualifiers. Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone and Hootie Wolfe (GP-93) showed great speed as well. Tom (GP-88) missed the final but the above mentioned group roared out joined by George Kennedy (GP-555) The Fez, Marc Lecompte/NormShannon (GP-1001) Dynomites and Ken Brodie (GP-50) Intensity. Before the start everybody ripped into turn two a little early and backed off a little. Then a cavalry charge erupted to turn one. Five boats exited deck to deck to head up the backstretch. The crowd of boats plus the unbelievable noise had us shaking in excitement. I don't know how they fit through turn two the second time. Now, Patrick (GP-777), Claude (GP-444) and Jimmy (GP-7) slugged it out for two more laps before Claude pulled away. Everybody was blasting around as there was action everywhere. Claude used his fine hull and years of experience to gain a very popular victory as the crowd went wild for their home town hero. After penalties were deciphered Bert (GP-77) and Hootie (GP-93) completed the podium by driving fast and legal. This final was as loud and scintillating as any we can remember. It was a blast. Claude is a great champion but the boys will be out to kick him next week in this very evenly matched class.
Well, that's the way we saw it. Valleyfield is in the books for 2009. Those who saw this race will never forget it. The crowd was gigantic and going berserk at the end. The wind cost us several great finals but the GP's saved the day. The overall field was spectacular and side by side speed was a constant. The race committee put on an extremely professional regatta. Also when David Metivier (CS-43) flipped on Sunday the rescue team got to him in less than ten seconds. He was ok and the caring people who sit out there all weekend did their normal great job. Valleyfield 2009 was top notch. It was tres magnifique! See ya in the pits. J and Fae