Regates de Valleyfield
July 8-10, 2011
J and Fae Report
One thing is for sure, when you exit the 401 to head into Valleyfield, it is time to go racing! An explosion of excitement hits you in the face as this 3 day party begins. Since 1988 J and Fae have rolled into town and each year we add memories of an awesome event. Many locals have attended every year of their lives. One fan told us it was his seventy third Regates (that is all of them my friends). When we mouthed off about traveling 930 miles a man from Vancouver trumped us with 3000. These three days of music, fireworks, street fairs and oh by the way racing draw a gigantic crowd of lunatics and all nationalities are welcome.
The weather was partly sunny and warm with very little wind, just like we drew it up. The field was absolutely ridiculous. The normal professionalism of the race committee and masses of volunteers contributed to a smooth regatta. We saw well over 75 heats of action with very few delays. The course is narrow which puts the fans close to the action on both sides and to a driver it must seem like running through a tunnel of people. All in all it is just cool! The format called for a separate day of racing on Friday which gave us extra finals and an extra GP final, that works!
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-15) (S-26) (E-12) (Vintage-13) (PS-8) (H-10) (GP-12) Total-93
T boats poured into town presenting their largest field in years. The favorites read like a tribute to genetics. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What, Alexis Weber (T-55) Flirtin With Disaster and Leana Richard (T-777) Lil Crush are all offspring of hall of famers. Throw in John Shaw (T-5) Trophy Hunter and Mathieu Lemelin (CT-7) Soresto Racing and a battle loomed on the horizon. Alexis (T-55) had the high points lead coming in with victories at Long Sault and Brockville. However, Brandon (T-1) changed the dynamic here, blasting away to victories Friday and Sunday in impressive fashion. He made some excellent flying starts just like dad. Alexis (T-55) maintained a solid high points position with two strong seconds. Leana (T-777) and John (T-5) took thirds. The T's put on a fine show.
The Vintage Class entertained the crowd in three sections and carrying the flags for the National Anthems. Here are some of the boats we saw. (J-444) Edelweiss, (H-64) Tool Crib, (JS-22) Heartbeat, (JS-603) Ofwego, (JS-78) Double Eagle, (JS-77) Zippety Pickle, (GP-1001) Dynomytes, (E-50) Hot Shot, (E-22) Mom's Nightmare, (N-37), (E-160) Heatwave, (G-48) and (G-18) Ben Lemay's vessels were quite a show.
PS boats are hanging on with strong race teams even as their numbers dwindle here in the East. Eric Hahn (PS-555) Showboat dominated throughout charging to win after win. Eric (PS-555), a Valleyfield legend, looked invincible winning Friday and was barely challenged until his engine went boom during Sunday's final. 65 year old Mel Trevochka (PS-100) Radical Ride took over to pull the upset followed by Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder and Hugh Monahan (PS-163) Yellow Rush. Way to go Mel! Friday saw Eric (PS-555), Chris Thompson (PS-41) Janet's Second Choice and Derek Anderson (PS-103) Illusion take honors. The crowd loves the flatbottoms.
H boats made their Valleyfield debut. This class has substituted the 350 cubic inch engine to make a 5 litre on steroids. The noise is greater although the speeds remained similar to the remaining 5 litres. On Friday the best times by Bert Henderson (E-8) Last Minute basically matched top H dawg Ghislain Marcoux (CH-666) El Diablo. Now, having said that, both classes put on a very solid show. Ghislain (CH-666) was the boat to beat as he cruised to a Friday victory and several heat wins. Samuel Paige Morin (CH-16) Cargo Tec 2 and Martin Rochon (CH-73) L'Olympique Bo completed Friday's podium. Come Sunday's final and Stormin Norman Ensbury (CH-99) Ocr Racing nailed the start near the inside. Ghislain (CH-666) chased in the middle lane. It was the classic high rpms versus the inside lane at every corner with Norm (CH-99) holding on as the crowd went wild. Sylvain Dorais (CH-32) Octane, repaired after a Friday crash, took third. Martin Rochon (CH-73) was not so lucky as he tore off a sponson in heat 2b Saturday. The H final was a blast reminding us of the potential of this new class.
S boats appeared everywhere you looked on Thursday. This class is monstrous in numbers as well as competition. He who survives three days to win on Sunday is indeed a mega champion, equal to the great Kung Fu Panda. Favorites included Jesse Robertson (CS-36) Yancy, Yan Lecompte (CS-28) Recuperation, Dominic Billette (CS-22) All In, Steve Armstrong (CE-11) Total Chaos, Nicolas Rousse (CS-225) L'Oiseau Bleu, Marco Poirier (CS-33) Zibra, Bert Henderson in Doug Rapp's (CS-79) Bad Influence, Tom Diabo (CS-20) Mohawk Choppers, Rob Stevenson (CS-10) Wet Spot, Donald Leduc
(CS-48) Cannonball and Kent Henderson (CS-00) Bank On It. The final on Friday saw Kent (CS-00) run away but oops, he jumped the gun allowing Yan Lecompte (CS-28) (last year's (CS-12) Long Shot) to rip home with his first victory. Steve Armstrong (CS-11) and Bert Henderson (CS-79) completed the podium. Heat 1b on Saturday saw a wicked crash take out Howie Schnabolk (S-80) On The Edge and David Metivier (CS-43) Gimi/Gariepy Leger as they tried to clear Yan's prone (CS-28) in turn one. Now, why on earth was a driver with a capsule standing on the deck of his boat? Use the capsule when you are broke gang! Thank goodness he did not get clipped. On to the final. The first corner was the typical wall of h2o as everybody arrived after a close start. Bert (CS-79) escaped the chaos to fly to victory over Rob (CS-10) and Steve (CS-11). It was close throughout as Kent (CS-00) and Marco (CS-33) took penalties. Anyone could have won in this incredible field. What a show!
E boats put on an absolute show. If it wasn't Bert Henderson (CE-8) Last Minute going nose to nose (cote to cote on the radio) with Brandon Kennedy (E-30) Big Bird it was Kelly Shane (E-77) Shane Racing battling Joe Less (E-500) Centsless 14, Paul Hewitt (E-45) Hewitt Racing and Jonathan Abbott (CE-10) Flyin Eagle. Hewitt's tuned exhaust made a cool sound. Every heat was a war. Brandon's (E-30) hugs the water since Ray Lynn and his crew reconfigured out the chronic flightiness (ask John Huganir about that problem). Brandon took two hard earned victories which brings up the question, how many drivers ever won two separate classes at Valleyfield? That kid can drive ladies and gentleman! Friday saw Bert (CE-8) and Kelly (E-77) complete the podium. Kelly's new candy apple red paint scheme glistens in the sun. Sunday Joe (E-500) and Paul (CE-45) ripped home in the money. Brandon, Kelly, Bert, Paul, Joe and Jonathan are supersonic and they wowed the crowd.
GP boats showed up with 12 fire breathing dragons ready to devour each other. Now hold on as we stress a major point. As fans we take for granted how talented all our hydro drivers are. Think about it, no brakes, 100+ mph. speeds, bad visibility, and several maniacs around you, not to mention changing water conditions on every lap. These gals and guys are good. Now, on with the GP's. Fridays' action was awesome and an extra GP final finished it in style. Pierre Maheu (GP-46) Adf Diesel poured it on down the inside as Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder ripped down the middle. Norm Shannon (GP-104) Dynomytes flew down the bank in his much improved mount. The speed, the noise, oh my! The ground shook as Tom (GP-88), Pierre (GP-46) and Norm (GP-104) took honors. Sunday's final saw the crowd in a frenzy as the guys warmed up. Bert (GP-777) Crush appeared to be a trailer as the boats charged the line. Pierre (GP-46) took off with Tom (GP-88) chasing hard. Bert (GP-777) picked off boats like a good shooter at a shooting gallery. Off the last turn Pierre (GP-46) powered home followed by Bert (GP-777) and Norm (GP-104). The whole field was fast and put on a great show. Tom (GP-88), Jimmy Shane in the beautiful new (GP-10) Charger, Mike Monahan (GP-93) Renegade and Mike Weber (GP-55) My Way were all stout but it was Pierre (GP-46)
who pulled up to the interview dock to celebrate. The crowd adored their local hero as Pierre was definitely 2011's les magnifique regates champion.
Well, that's about it from Valleyfield. Another classic! But before we sign off J and Fae would like to salute Hydroplane Quebec for their awesome coverage of boat racing. We think these guys should get the royal treatment at every regatta. Also, special thanks to Race Committee member Ron Oneill for the cool hospitality making us feel at home so far from home. Finally to our new pits friend, see ya for your seventy fourth next year! Valleyfield is in the books for 2011 and once again it was tres excellente! See ya at Waterford J and Fae.