A November, 2014 announcement that Detroit would not host the unlimited hydroplanes in 2015 was met with gloom and doom. So, when the official word came down this past June from the Detroit Riverfront Events, Inc. and H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes that the City of Detroit would host an unlimited hydroplane race in 2015, boat racing fans reacted with euphoria. The race was saved and the 99th anniversary of the big boats running on the Detroit River would take place.
Now, the question is how excited will these fans get this weekend (Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23) when they see 12 H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes compete for the UAW-GM presents the Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest?
“In the last 30 years, we have had 12 boats in the Detroit pits on only four occasions,” said H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David. “This fleet is strong and as competitive as I have ever seen it, and the last race was unbelievable.”
It was a wild finish on the water just over two weeks ago on Lake Washington in Seattle as Jimmy Shane brought the Oberto from behind to take the lead from J Michael Kelly in the Graham Trucking on the last turn of the last lap of the championship final after a five-lap, deck-to-deck battle. Before the boats returned to the pits, H1 officials assessed a one-minute encroachment penalty on Shane for a collision with Kelly in turn one of lap four. The penalty gave Kelly the Albert Lee Appliance Cup at Seafair championship.
“Understand, that championship heat in Seattle might have been one of the best five-lap duels in the history of the sport and Kelly wins the race even though he qualified only sixth best,” said David. “Another way to look at this is the fact that Jean Theoret (driver of the Ellstrom Elam Plus) has been the fastest qualifier at the last two races, and he is still looking for his first win of the season.
“These teams look for extra speed after every practice run and heat, and they need to do just that to remain competitive.“
Don’t feel bad for Shane. This year he has already won his second consecutive APBA Gold Cup title, and he is leading the H1 Unlimited National High Point race. Now, he returns to Detroit the site of his first APBA Gold Cup championship in June of 2014.
“Last year’s Gold Cup Championship was not only great for our team, the City of Madison (the community owns the Oberto hydroplane) was waiting 42 years for another Gold Cup Championship and I was fortunate to bring it to them,” said Shane about his first APBA Gold Cup. “To get my name on that trophy with all the greats of the sport was a childhood dream come true.”
The H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes will test, qualify and race two preliminary heats on Saturday with five heats of racing including the UAW-GM presents the Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest championship final on Sunday at 4:10 p.m.
Check http://detroitboatraces.com/ for ticket information and the entire schedule of testing and races for H1, the ACHA Grand Prix hydroplanes and the F2 tunnel boats.
UNLIMITED FLEET FOR UAW-GM PRESENTS THE SPIRIT OF DETROIT HYDROFEST (August 22-23)
Number Name Driver
U-1 Oberto Jimmy Shane
U-3 Miss HomeStreet Bank Jimmy King
U-5 Graham Trucking J. Michael Kelly
U-7 Graham Trucking II Jesse Robertson
U-9 Red Dot/ Les Schwab Scott Liddycoat
U-11 Peters & May Tom Thompson
U-12 Miss DiJulio Patrick Sankuer, Jr.
U-21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge Brian Perkins
U-22 Roostertail presents PVS Chemicals Mike Webster
U-27 Dalton Industries Cal Phipps
U-96 Ellstrom Elam Plus Jean Theoret
U-100 Dooley’s presents Miss CARSTAR Kevin Eacret