Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

2024 Boats and Bios

01 - Strong Racing / Miss Beacon Electric

Driver: J. Michael Kelly, Bonney Lake, WA
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Beacon Electric
HydroDan Says: To the delight of the boat racing community the abridged four race season brought the hard charging veteran known simply as JMK to the pinnacle of boat racing. Kelly’s illustrious H1career commenced 20 years ago in 2004. Kelly has amassed 16 race wins, a drivers championship in 2021 building to the Gold Cup and the National Points Championship in the season finale at Seattle’s Gold Cup. In addition to the new U1 designation, The Beacon Electric will be sporting new livery this season with a multicolor red and silver paint scheme, with black and bright yellow accents. The boat tested in Tri-Cities and looked good doing so posting speeds consistently in the mid-to upper 150’s and low 160’s. The Beacon Electric appears to be primed to compete for race wins this season, however, a repeat will be a tough task with the U91 and U9 lurking. The Team plans to run full circuit in 2024. 

09 - Strong Racing / Miss Beacon Plumbing

Driver: Corey Peabody, Tacoma, WA
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Beacon Plumbing
HydroDan Says: Corey Peabody came back with a vengeance in 2023 bouncing back from disaster experienced in 2022 where the boat suffered a catastrophic blowover in Madison. Peabody gave great account of himself by winning one of four races and staying in the hunt for the national points championship down to the Gold Cup final in Seattle, which was the final heat of the short season. Peabody finished second in national points behind his teammate JMK, by just 84 pts. The boat was third fastest at the TC test session and will be plenty game to give the U1 and U91 a run for the top spot. The team plans to run full circuit in 2024.

11 - Miss Mercurys Coffee Company (Unlimited Racing Group)

Driver: Jamie Nilsen, Federal Way, WA
Home Port: Cle Elum, WA
Sponsor: Mercury Coffee Company
HydroDan Says: The URG Camp made the right choice in 2023 by shelving the former T-4 in favor of the “Muscatel” hull last campaigned in 2019. With new sponsorship from Mercury Coffee Company, and beautiful red, white, and black livery, look for the U11 to build on a competative showing in 2023 where the team had multiple heat victories and a podium finish. Driver Nilsen looks to be getting downright comfortable in the cockpit. Testing in TC showed they are just off the pace but will be a factor for heat wins and perhaps a podium finish or two if luck falls their way. The Team plans to run full circuit in 2024. 

12 - Miss Graham Trucking (Graham Racing)

Driver: Bobby King, Port Huron, MI
Home Port: Seattle, WA
Sponsor: Graham Trucking
HydroDan Says: To the delight of H1 Unlimited fans, the former Bud T-6 was back in 2023 in the State of Washington after missing the 2022 season. Back in the seat will be rookie of the year Bobby King. Bobby, the son of long time U-3 pilot Jimmy King, qualified as a race driver, and showed he can run with the big boys in Washington State. This year’s TC test session indicated the 12 may be down a couple MPH to the top dogs but will be in the hunt for heat podiums. The team currently plans to run two races in the state of Washington. 

60 - Lakeridge Paving / Thriftway (Go Fast Turn Left) 

Driver: Gunner O’Farrell, Maple Valley, WA
Home Port: Maple Valley, WA
Sponsor: Lakeridge Paving / Thriftway
HydroDan Says: After a three-year hiatus, the 21 returned to the circuit at its hometown Seafair race. The boat, which debuted in 2019 and has been lightly raced since, yet has occasionally displayed flashes of speed. New comer Gunnar O’Farrel is no stranger to boat racing and will be a fully qualified to race in 2024. We do not anticipate the team will be in prime position to race for podiums due to the abridged schedule and O’Farrell’s rookie driver status, although the boat may be in position to collect and score points at the races it enters. Currently the team plans on running in Washington State.

27 - Apollo Mechanical (Wiggins Racing)

Driver: Dave Villwock 
Home Port: Gadsden, AL 
Sponsor: Apollo Mechanical 
HydroDan Says: The Wiggins hull was originally constructed in 2007 by Nate Brown in Preston, Washington and has undergone a major multi-year rebuild in Gadsden, Alabama. It was purchased by Charlie Wiggins in 2018 and suffered a catastrophic accident where the boat flipped in Seattle in Oberto livery that same year. The hull has been rebuilt from the ground up, with only the cockpit salvaged. The team has been influenced by the sport’s winningest driver, Dave Villwock, who spent many hours on the rebuild and will chauffeur the boat at the ripe age of 70 years old. Based on the build and those involved we believe the boat will be fast out of the box and will have a chance to win heats and compete for race victories before the season is over, although it appears the team currently only plans to run in Alabama, and in Washington State. The team did not test in TC so Alabama will likely be approached as a test session. 

40 - Bucket List Racing / Miss Flav-R-Pac 

Driver: Dustin Echols
Home Port: Snohomish, WA
Sponsor: Flav-R-Pac
HydroDan Says: After some time away from the unlimited cockpit Echols returned to race the U40 in San Diego in the 2022 then ran full circuit in 2023. Echols laid down the fastest lap in decades clocking a 171+ mph qualifying lap in Guntersville. Unfortunately, the team had to thrash on the boat after the Guntersville final heat mishap where the 40 struck the blown-over U91 from the trailer position. The team recovered quickly only to blow over themselves in Madison, Indiana. If this boat can stay shiny side up they will contend in 2024 for podiums. TC testing again showed they have the beans to be a top dog on the circuit. The team is planning to run all 5 races in 2024. 

91 - Goodman Real Estate (Miss Madison)

Driver: Andrew Tate
Home Port: Madison, IN
Sponsor: Goodman Real Estate
HydroDan Says: With only one hull running for the good folks of Madison, Indiana, Andrew Tate hops over from the 2007 hull into the newer 2018 “HomeStreet” hull. The updated hull is clearly faster on her feet and Tate will be hard to beat. Tate is winning at a top ten clip in the sports history with 9 race wins in only 26 races and will be a force to be reckoned with. If testing in the Tri-Cities was any indication, the 91 will likely be the top qualifier at every race. The question is, can Tate make the speed count under race conditions; we think he can. Look for Tate to take the National Championship in 2024 unless misfortunes and mechanical gremlins grip the team. The team plans to run full circuit in 2024.