Quake on the Lake - Summer Nationals
July 16th & 17th, 2011
J and Fae Report
The Nationals in Region Six! Now, that's what I'm talkin about! Many of us oldsters remember those incredible Dayton Hydroglobe Championships of the past. We probably took it for granted having the cream of the crop in hydros visiting our region in those days. Thanks to Dale Hampshire, Oakland County Community Club, Marine Prop Riders and a mass of volunteers for bringing back this key event. Top notch teams put on a great show as nine National Champions were crowned on Sunday after virtual wars in every class. Beyond that the Rainbow Connection is a wonderful cause helping children realize a dream come true. Superb racing and a great cause is one unbeatable combo. The weather was steamy and the water was slick and fast creating some awesome action.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-5) (Y-10) (S-16) (A-6) (E-13) (NM-4) (GNH-7) (JSS-5) (GP-5) Total-7
T boats came in with two teams looking dominant this year. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What and Alexis Weber (T-55) Flirtin With Disaster had won everything in 2011. Matt Henning stepped in for Brandon and Brandon ended up driving the (T-777) L'il Crush in the final. Matt (T-1) made a safe outside start on the final as most young teenagers do getting their feet wet in competition. He then proceeded to drive around everyone to the title. John Shaw (T-5) Trophy Hunter nailed the start and ran fantastic to second place with Brandon (T-777) taking third. That had to feel like an "out of boat" experience for the old vet watching his (T-1) run away. The T's put on a good show.
Y boats had several bombs on hand. Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie 2 is always a prohibitive favorite. Sean Bowsher (Y-52) W.H. Harrison Bourbon is just a tick behind Dan. Throw in Scott Liddycoat (Y-97) Team Extreme, Keith McMullen (Y-80) Outlaw and Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant and you have a race ladies and gentleman. To beat Dan (Y-1) you need the pin, a perfect start and maybe depth charges. Sean (Y-52) thought he had the inside a couple of times only to see Dan (Y-1) pull leap frogs on him. The last time led us to the start of the final with everybody careening into the first corner. Dan (Y-1) escaped the chaos to out drag Sean (Y-52) up the backstretch and on to victory over the dogged policeman. Scott (Y-97) took third in his high whining hydro. Little boats, big power equaled hair raising action.
S boats are the deepest field in racing and this weekend was no different. Favorites included Mike Monahan (S-9) Rewinder, JP Squires (S-83) Mega Bucks, Bert Henderson (CS-79) Bad Influence, Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday Money, Keith Anderson (S-17) Bad Habit, Christina Wilson (S-20) Desperate Housewife, Bobby Kennedy (S-88) Playin Again, Kent Henderson (CS-00) Bank On It and Marco Poirier (CS-33) Zibra. Lots of manic action led to the ten boat final. After much trolling up to the 1:15 mark the field circled around and poured it on to the start. Mayhem occurred in turn one as usual. Bobby (S-88) took off in the lead holding off Keith (S-17) and Marco (CS-33) in a wild heat. Uh oh, five boats jumped the gun. Who was legal? Drum roll please..... It was Kent Henderson (CS-00) who physically ran fourth but hit the line perfectly to take the title over JP (S-83) and Bert (CS-79). Wow, what a crazy race! Hey Kent, maybe Kenny Anderson is your good luck charm on the crew.
A boats had a small but quality field. Three quicksters would have to be dealt with. Tom Thompson (A-52) Fat Chance 2 and Andrew Tate (A-25) Fat Chance gave the Richards/English clan double barrel speed. Debbie Welte's (A-23) Geezerboat with Joe Sovie aboard is a monster as well. All three looked great in qualifiers. Joe (A-23) had stellar starts. Come the final and Tommy (A-52) exploded to victory with Joe (A-23) and Andrew (A-25) completing the honors. This final was over quickly as everyone was flying.
E boats were the classic East versus West duel. Wally Johnston (E-98) Agitator and Jeff Bernard (E-55) Peters And Mary from the West versus Brandon Kennedy (E-30) Big Bird, Joe Less (E-500) Centless 14, Mark Burkhart (E-726) X-Ray and Thom English (E-75) Fat Chance from the East. After four super elimination heats the final saw Jeff (E-55) roar down the inside lane as Brandon (E-30) shadowed him. Exiting turn two and whoa..... Wally (E-98) busted between them in his beautiful new boat. Usually the middle boat can't make that move stick. Wally (E-98) took over and held off Brandon (E-30) and Jeff (E-55) all the way to the checkers. What a race! Way to go Wally!
JSS boats brought back perennial champion Tom Pakradooni (JS-7) Rolling Thunder. Could Pak adjust from the fiery cauldron of Valleyfield's Grand Prix action to the relatively serene bounces of the skippers? Oh yea! It was bye bye field just like the old days. Jimmy Stewart (JS-100) Summer Storm and Dennis Macy (JS-45) The Menace bounced home to complete the podium.
NM boats had four fine boats but bad luck did not allow a legal field to participate in any heat. Thom Heins (NM-30) Big Bird was screaming like the old days as he defeated Tom Thompson (A-25) Fat Chance in the final.
GNH boats always put on a fine show in Region Six races and they did not disappoint this weekend. These guys have been battling it out for years and their rivalries spice up any event. The super team of Cal Phipps driving Jimmy Deel's (GNH-8) Deel Me In is nearly unbeatable but their were plenty of fast challengers on hand. Steve Kuhr (GNH-317) Irishman, Patrick Sankuer (GNH-6) Showtime Racing and Mark Burkhart in Eli and Cadi Whitney's (GNH-515) One Way are very fast. Dave Archiable (GNH-74) Cajun Queen looks like a real challenger as well when they get the gremlins worked out. Come the final and Steve Kuhr (GNH-317) nailed the start leading into the first corner, something he does regularly. Whoosh, there went Super Cal (GNH-8) roaring up the backstretch and on to victory. Cal has a great knack for taking the turns that no one can match. Patrick (GNH-6) followed Steve (GNH-317) to take third. We are very lucky to enjoy these teams at all of our Region Six races and they put on a National show this weekend.
GP boats were an added bonus as they cobbled together a field right in the heart of their ACHA schedule. Bert Henderson (GP-777) Crush provided a highlight in Friday's qualifier clocking a new record 102 mph average on a one mile course. Mike Weber (GP-55) My Way blistered a 109 mph. lap as well. Now on to the final. Mike (GP-55) and John Grigg (GP-52) Wannabe had to scratch. Three boats answered the bell with Bert (GP-777), Marty Wolfe (GP-93) Renegade and Mario Maraldo (GP-59) Baby Doll roaring out of the pits. Marty (GP-93) ripped away to hold off Bert (GP-777) and Mario (GP-59) in aloud extravaganza. But no no no..... Penalties my friends. Shuffle the order to Mario, Marty and Bert. Oh my, after all these years of trying one of the sports great ambassadors, Mario Maraldo in his iconic Baby Doll is the 2011 National Champion GP boat. Well done young man!
Well, that's about it from Waterford. This event is always great, but this year it was awesome. Also, the planning and hard work that goes into this regatta must be unreal with the car shows, music, and the Rainbow Connection factor, not to mention the normal racing setup. This Race Committee brought back the Nationals and pulled it off in superior fashion. Well done gang! See ya in Tonawanda! J and Fae