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H1 Seeks New Leadership

The H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing series has raced around the U.S. for more than 100 years. And to make sure this unique form of motorsports continues for many years into the future, H1 Unlimited hydroplanes have begun a search for a permanent chairperson. The company oversees the racing activities of the 200 mph race boats and have acknowledged this is a critical point in the sport's history.

Many challenges face the company, including finding a replacement for Doug Bernstein who resigned earlier this month, sighting personal reasons. Bernstein was the company’s second chairperson in a year.

H1 Unlimited hydroplane vice chairperson Charlie Grooms will lead the executive search. Grooms is one of the most senior personal in the company, having been involved with H1 Unlimited racing for over 40 years.

The company wants to make sure the revolving chairperson door closes and they find a qualified person to lead the sport with a successful five-year business plan.

“It is very important that we find the right person to lead the sport -- not only to stabilize racing with our current teams, venues, and marketing partners but to look toward the sport’s future,” said Charlie Grooms H1 Unlimited vice chairperson.

Erick Ellstrom who owns the U-16 “Oh Boy! Oberto” sponsored H1 Unlimited hydroplane echo Grooms’ sentiments. “We are not looking for a shepherd, we need a person or persons to vigorously lead us into the future.” J. Michael Kelly who drives the U-12 “Graham Trucking” said, “As drivers, we love racing and more importantly as drivers we love racing for our fans and sponsors. To make sure it all comes together it takes a village. We have our crews and the countless race site volunteers in our village, now we need a new mayor for our village.”

From leadership to participants all are in chorus about choosing a visionary chairperson.

During the replacement search, H1 Unlimited is gathering an executive committee to aggressively look for new marketing partners and venues for the 2018 and beyond.

The H1 Unlimited hydroplane series which concludes their 2017 racing season at the 53rd annual HomeStreet Bank Bayfair race in San Diego’s Mission Bay Sept. 15-17 want to assure fans that despite the void in the chairperson's position, there will be top flight racing this weekend.

Jimmy Shane, U-1 “Miss HomeStreet” driver and current leader in the national high points race said, “It’s been a crazy season. We began testing on a new race course for 2018 at Guntersville Lake, Ala. We have had multiple race winners. We had a boat flip, not to mention several close calls. We had some great deck-to-deck racing and coming into this weekend’s race in San Diego we assure fans it’s going to be a battle to the end and fans don’t want to miss it!” Shane leads rival Andrew Tate by only 279 in the H1 Unlimited hydroplane national high points championship.

Tickets to the 53rd annual HomeStreet Bank Bayfair on San Diego’s Mission Bay can be purchased at the gate or online at

ABOUT H1 UNLIMITED HYDROPLANES: H1 Unlimited hydroplanes ( is a non-profit founded in 2009 as a category of the American Power Boat Association (APBA). The APBA sanctions powerboat races in a number of different categories in the U.S. including the H1 Unlimited hydroplane category. H1 Unlimited hydroplanes are custom-type powerboats used exclusively for racing with minimum restrictions. The unlimited hydroplane category has raced for over 100 years and is known as the “world’s fastest powerboats,” and H1 Unlimited hydroplane series is headquartered in Seattle, Wash.

ABOUT SAN DIEGO HOMESTREET BANK BAYFAIR: First staged in 1964 thanks to the foresight of the great unlimited hydroplane racer Bill Muncey who was the driving force behind the race and getting Mission Bay developed for hydroplane racing. The 1958 master plan for Mission Bay was approved by the City of San Diego and set in motion the creation of the race course between East Vacation Island and Fiesta Island. Neither island existed until a massive dredging project formed them. The shorelines were curved to accommodate a 2.5-mile oval course and beaches were sloped to dissipate waves from hydroplanes and recreational boaters.

The 2.5-mile race course, which was named after the late Bill Muncey, is the longest and fastest racecourse on the H1 Unlimited hydroplane circuit. The World Lap Speed Record of 173.384 mph in 1999 at Bayfair was set by Dave Villwock. The retired Villwock has won a record nine Bill Muncey Cups Bayfair is a non-profit 501(c)4 event organized and run entirely by volunteers.

An eight-member Board of Governors directs and oversees more than 700 volunteers to stage the three-day festival, which takes places each September. More than 300 RV owners, friends, and family get the rare opportunity to over night in Mission Bay Park for the festival weekend.

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