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So Close at the Gold Cup

Jean Theoret led all five laps of the Championship Final Heat at the 2015 HAPO APBA Gold Cup in the Tri Cities on Sunday in the 96 Ellstrom Elam Plus. But when officials reviewed the video of the pre-race milliing, they confirmed the 96 had passed on the wrong side of buoy marking the end of the DMZ or safety zone.

The infraction and resulting one lap penalty gave the Gold Cup victory to Jimmy Shane in the 1 Oberto/Miss Madison.

More details in this story from H1 Unlimited -

KENNEWICK, Wash. --- In unlimited hydroplane racing, the start of the race many times determines the champion. Little did 2015 HAPO APBA Gold Cup champion Jimmy Shane realize that when he radioed to his spotter a possible pre-race violation against Jean Theoret, that call would be the deciding factor in Shane winning his second consecutive Gold Cup title. He won the sport’s most prestigious trophy last year in Detroit.

Shane in the U-1 Oberto captured the 2015 Gold Cup Championship only after the officials checked the video and saw what Shane radioed in – Theoret in the U-96 Ellstrom Elam Plus did indeed go into an area called the DMZ and was disqualified from the championship heat.

“He (Theoret) was right inside me during the warm up period, and I saw him cut the buoy before the exit pin and enter the DMZ zone,” said Shane. “The officials reviewed the video (after the heat was over) and saw it and we came away with a Gold Cup championship.”

Theoret was trying to get inside of Shane to grab lane one when the violation occurred. But when the race started, Shane was down in speed and Theoret rocketed by him to take a commanding lead on the first lap.

From that point on, it looked like it was going to battle for second and third between Shane and J. Michael Kelly in the U-5 Graham Trucking. As it turned out, those two boats battled deck-to-deck for all five of the championship final with Shane edging Kelly by the smallest of margins.

Shane averaged 145.756 mph while Kelly came in second with a speed of 145.088 mph. The win was Shane’s ninth career win in H1 Unlimited Hydroplane racing.

“I don’t know what we did, but we stayed inside Kelly and we were able to do it,” added Shane. “We stayed in that inside lane in that extremely brutal water, and somehow we beat the ‘5’ boat by a few lengths.”

The weekend racing on the Columbia River was made a little more difficult Sunday as the 12 boat field had to run an extra set of preliminary heats due to windy weather on Saturday that cut the racing day short.

The first preliminary heat on Sunday produced some of the best racing in H1 Unlimited history. Kelly edged Theoret as the two battled deck to deck for the entire four-lap heat. Kelly averaged 151.194 mph for the heat victory in 2A while Theoret averaged 150.947.

In fact, the heat racing throughout the weekend produced some classic battles. Five different teams were winners in the nine heats of racing.

The H1 Unlimited Hydroplane circuit now travels to Seattle for the 65th running of hydroplanes on Lake Washington as they battle for the Albert Lee Appliance Cup (July 31-August 2).

Go to for full results.


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