Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

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Seattle Preview and Three 2 Think About

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HydroDan's Deck2Deck Racing Inc.

The unlimited hydroplanes cross the Cascade Range and roll into Seattle this week for the second of two Washington State races on the 2013 H1 schedule. The Albert Lee Cup at Seafair takes place August 2-4 on Lake Washington and should feature the largest boat count so far this year.

The U-37 and the U-100 flipped in separate incidents last weekend at the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup, but both Schumacher Racing and Leland Unlimited have vowed to campaign boats at Seafair. Go Fast Turn Left Racing intends to field a second boat, the U-48 Snoqualmie Casino, with new driver Jamie Nilsen behind the wheel. And while fans have not seen the Ellstrom family’s U-96 hull since the 2012 season’s Oryx Cup in Doha, multiple reports indicate that they will enter their boat in this year’s Seafair race. This all adds up to a potential 13-boat fleet jamming the Stan Sayres Pits in just a few days. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for: let’s go Deck2Deck racing in Seattle!

UPDATE August 2: Both Leland Unlimited (U-100) and Ellstrom Racing (U-96) have announced that they will NOT be racing at Seafair.

HydroDan’s Three 2 Think About:

Strong Start: Go Fast Turn Left Racing is running an abbreviated season in 2013 and likely had two modest goals for the Columbia Cup: 1. Prepare the U-21 Albert Lee Appliance to run at Seafair, where their sponsor Albert Lee is also presenting the trophy race; 2. Allow rookie Jamie Nilsen enough seat time to qualify as an unlimited driver. The team met these targets and then, for good measure, completed all their elimination heats safely with one podium finish followed by a win in the provisional heat. This secured the trailer spot in the final for the U-21. A costly penalty against Kip Brown in the U-95 allowed 21 chauffeur Brian Perkins to finish the ahead of him in the final and earn fifth place accumulated points overall, just 95 behind the 2013 Gold Cup champion. Not bad for the O’Farrell camp’s first outing of the season! Deck2Deck players looking for a deeper pick should not overlook this boat in Seattle.

Is Ballard Back? Deck2Deck players will be forgiven for forgetting about the Ellstrom family’s U-96 in the 2013 season: it was last seen striking multiple course markers on Doha Bay and then burning badly in Heat 4B of the 2012 Oryx Cup. Since that time, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation transferred its Spirit of Qatar name to Our Gang Racing; driver and buoy-owner Dave Villwock decamped to an advisory role with the U-37 Schumacher operation; and several Ellstrom crew members took positions with other race teams. While the Ballard outfit has not competed yet in 2013, they have informed fans that the hull is repaired and they hope to return to race at Seafair. With no time for testing and facing a seasoned H1 fleet, can it compete as it did under Villwock’s control? Deck2Deck players looking for a dark horse selection could do worse than betting on the highly-competitive Ellstroms.

Yellow Flags: J. Michael Kelly flew the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing on the Columbia River backstretch and set it down as gently as he could, right side up. Once back in the pits, substantial damage to the rear of the boat was apparent, and Schumacher Racing departed Columbia Park immediately to begin repairs at their shop in Seattle. Few are better suited to bring the boat back to competition than crew member Dave Villwock, but the team has plenty of work to do. Another team with a local shop but little time to work is Leland Unlimited. In turmoil after the Sunday-morning departure of U-100 driver Ryan Mallow, the Leland camp saw relief driver Kelly Stocklin turn the boat over in Heat 3B and end their weekend. The Leland Navy has enough hulls and equipment to campaign a different sled at Seafair, but this entry will be unproven in 2013 and a driver has yet be named. Deck2Deck players should steer clear of these picks until more information about their status is known.

Posted on: Jul 31 2013 04:10 PM UTC Edited on: Aug 02 2013 03:37 PM UTC
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