2023 Boats and Bios
Driver: Dylan Runne, Rumson, NJ
Home Port: Madison, IN
Sponsor: HomeStreet Bank
HydroDan Says: The Madison Racing Team has announced that it will again campaign two boats full circuit in 2023. The U-1 HomeStreet Bank will feature a brand new and unproven driver to the Unlimited ranks, Dylan Runne. Runne will be behind the wheel of the newer of the Madison sisterships which debuted in 2018 and has been an absolute juggernaut ever since. With rookie Runne at the controls in-lieu of the proven and accomplished Jimmy Shane, it’s difficult to forecast what the U-1 will accomplish this season. However, with Mike “Boat Doctor” Hanson turning wrenches this team is likely a threat to win at every race it enters once young Runne gets comfortable, as he has shown his capability for many years in the Hydroplane Racing league (HRL). If Spring Training in Tri-Cities is any indicator, Runne is ready to run for wins with several laps logged at over the 160 marker and the fastest posted at 163 and change.
Driver: Jimmy King – Wales, WI
Home Port: Evansville, IN
Sponsor: Griggs Ace Hardware
HydroDan Says: At time of this post the piston packer from Posey County is scheduled to compete at the season open at Guntersville, and then in Tri-Cities under the Griggs Ace Hardware banner. The cherry red piston packer, with veteran Jimmy King behind the wheel, is a threat to win heats if the breaks fall there way when, and if, the turbocharged V-12 Allison is running at full song.
Driver: J. Michael Kelly, Bonney Lake, WA
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Miss Beacon Electric
HydroDan Says: After a tough luck season in 2022 the hard charging JMK will be back at the controls of the retooled and reappointed U-8 with red Beacon livery on its decks. The EIGHT hull is looking to rebound from a lean 2022 after a very fruitful maiden campaign in 2021. The boat tested in Tri-Cities and looked good doing so posting speeds consistently in the upper 150’s and low 160’s, about a five mph improvement over testing speeds attained in 2022. The Beacon Electric appears to be primed to compete for race wins this season.
Driver: Corey Peabody, Tacoma, WA
Home Port: Tri-Cities, WA
Sponsor: Miss Beacon Plumbing
HydroDan Says: Corey Peabody proved in a big way at the season opener in Guntersville in 2022, that he belonged in the big boats as he grabbed Gold from a small yet competitive field. Unfortunately, the glory of the gold wore off quickly when Peabody, in attempting to run down Shane in the Madison final, took flight and the Nine shattered on impact. The Strong Racing entry, which first campaigned in 1992 as the Coors Dry, has been overhauled following the devastating flip by the motivated Darrell Strong camp, and will be ready for the Hydro Wars in 2023 as the boat looked plenty strong at spring testing at Tri-Cities.
Driver: Jamie Nilsen, Federal Way, WA
Home Port: Cle Elum, WA
Sponsor: Legend Yacht Transport
HydroDan Says: The URG Camp has shelved the former T-4 in favor of the hull they last actively raced in in 2019. With new sponsorship from Dave Holley and Legend Yacht Transport we anticipate the beautiful chartreuse, red, and blue boat can find speed and performance that has been lacking the past couple seasons. Spring testing indicated the newly revamped hull has a few more beans than the former hull posting speeds in the Mid-150’s in spring testing when comparing to TC Qualifying times from 2022 in the upper 140’s mph range.
Driver: Gunner O’Farrell, Maple Valley, WA
Home Port: Maple Valley, WA
Sponsor: The Beast Unleashed Presents Miss Thriftway
Update on July 5, 2023: The 21 has been renumbered as 60 and will be running under the banner as the Miss Thriftway, with presenting sponsor Beast Unleashed. The team has indicated it will run only at the Seattle Seafair Gold Cup race.
After a three year hiatus, the 21 returns to the circuit in its home state of Washington at the Seafair Gold Cup. The boat, which debuted in 2019 and has been lightly raced since, and showed flashes of speed in the mid 150’s at the Tri Cities Spring Training event. New comer Gunnar O’Farrell is no stranger to boat racing but will be a fully qualified rookie in 2023. 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.
Driver: Dave Villwock
Home Port: Gadsden, Ala.
The Wiggins hull was originally bult in 2007 by Nate Brown in Washington and has undergone a major rebuild in Alabama. It was purchased by Charlie Wiggins in 2018 and suffered a catastrophic accident where the boat flipped in Seattle in Oberto livery. It has been rebuilt from the ground up, with only the cockpit salvaged, in the Wiggins Racing shop. The team has been thrashing on the hull the last many months, and the sports winningest driver, Dave Villwock, has been leading the charge to get it ready to campaign in 2023. It appears that Villwock will drive, although no announcement from the team has occurred at the time of this post. 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.
Driver: Dustin Echols
Home Port: Snohomish, WA
HydroDan Says: After some time away from the unlimited cockpit, Echols returned to race the U4-0 in San Diego in the 2022 season finale. Taking over for the winningest driver in the sport’s history is no easy task, but it will be difficult for Echols to fare worse than Villwock, whose 2022 campaign was marred by costly penalties and unfortunate accidents. The Bucket List team and scrappy Owner Kelly Stocklin continue to rework and fine-tune this former 2007 U-21 hull into a contender, as speeds just under the 160-mph marker at Tri Cities testing indicate.
Driver: Andrew Tate
Home Port: Madison, IN
Sponsor: Goodman Real Estate
HydroDan Says: In addition to the U-1, the Madison Team has announced that it will again campaign its older 2007 hull for the full season with gold Miss Goodman Real Estate livery. However, out is Bernard and in is Andrew Tate for his return to an unlimited cockpit after a year away from H1. While not a rocket like its 2018-built sistership, this older Miss Madison sled is a reliable and proven commodity and reportedly underwent much off season work to get back on top. And let’s not forget this very hull won the Madison Gold Cup in 2021 just a couple seasons ago with Shane at the wheel. This hull is third all time in race wins with 25 behind the 0116 Ellstrom and the 0001 Budweiser. It will be a threat for heat wins and podium finishes this season with Tate at the controls as the boat tested in Tri-Cities and showed speeds right around the 160 mph marker.
Driver: Brent Hall, Renton, WA
Home Port: Snohomish, WA
Sponsor: Boitano Homes
HydroDan Says: The 440, in addition, to racing in Washington State, will also be entered at Guntersville, Alabama. At the controls will be rookie driver, and very likable, Brent Hall. The undersized and underpowered Tennessee Orange 440 will be a longshot to win heats and races, however, the beach will be pulling for Brent as a heavy underdog. The 440 is always a fan favorite and has displayed acceleration and top end speed that can make this boat and exciting one to watch at the start line of any heat it is entered.
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 hull is back to race in the State of Washington after missing the full 2022 season and the first half of 2023. Assuming driving duties will be rookie Bobby King. Bobby, the son of long time U-3 pilot Jimmy King, will need to qualify as a rookie before being allowed to race. Assuming King gets his feet wet in TC and completes the fifteen required laps, he will have to start in heat racing from the outside. King’s first real opportunity to score big could be at Seattle’s Gold Cup as he gains comfort with the craft. King is an experienced racer in smaller inboard classes and obviously has the pedigree to be a great H1 chauffeur.