Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

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Doha 2014 Preview and Three 2 Think About

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HydroDan's Deck2Deck Racing Inc.

Race fans, it’s time to re-spool your turbine engines! With Bayfair distant in the rear view mirror and frigid fall temperatures producing a layer of ice over many of our domestic aqua-ovals, it’s hard to believe that boat fans across the world have reason to give thanks. But as we approach Thanksgiving Day in the US, race fans can do just that because 2014 H1 season ain’t over yet! The sixth and final stanza of the season is about to take place in Doha, Qatar with the UIM World Championship Oryx Cup and the H1 National Championship hanging in the balance.

The ten qualified boats have been shipped safely to the Persian Gulf and are now being readied in the pits along Doha’s Corniche to run in front of his Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor al-Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sport Federation. It’s been a long 21 months since the last running of the Oryx Cup which, in a quirk of scheduling, was the 2013 season opener.

Fantasy players should recall that due to the UIM sanction there will be an extra flight of heats and thus 400 additional points on the line. Make sure to lock your fantasy pick by Thursday night in the United States, because racing begins Friday in Doha with the final heat set for Saturday (Arabia Standard Time).

HydroDan’s Three 2 Think About:

Porter’s House: Although a long, long way from Decatur, Indiana, if you didn’t know better you might assume that Doha Bay is Team Porter‘s home course. Ted’s big red boats have racked up a dominating four wins in the five races hosted in Qatar. It was Jimmy Shane who drove the primary Graham Trucking hull to the Oryx Cup Championship in 2012 and 2013. Scott Liddycoat of Monster Jam fame captured checkers at the UIM prior to that in 2011. In 2009 it was J. Michael Kelly who started the Porter prominence at the inaugural Oryx Cup and has since been reunited with the team in 2014. Kelly’s U-1 Graham Trucking entry is positioned only 832 points behind the current leader, Jimmy Shane in the U-6 Oh Boy Oberto. It was Shane who chauffeured JMK’s Graham Trucking mount the last two seasons including to a National Championship in 2013 I might add. Side note: In 2010 Dave Villwock won the UIM in the U-96 and is the only non-Porter boat to win thus far.

Rivals Return: For the first time since 2009 Dave Villwock and Jean Theoret will renew their on-water rivalry. You may recall that in 2009 Jean Theoret drove the Schumacher’s U-37 for a portion of the season until his abrupt mid-season retirement after Heat 1A at Seafair due to health and well-being concerns stemming from a violent flip he sustained earlier in the season at Madison, Indiana. That same season Dave Villwock piloted Team Ellstrom’s U-16. For several seasons up to that point only a few miles separated their respective boat shops in one of the more famous turf wars of the current era and on several occasions only a few inches separated the sponsons of these veteran boat racers while dueling on the water. Five years later, and under the most unusual of circumstances, the two living legends will once again race Deck-2-Deck. Only this time, Villwock will skipper the Schumachers’ renumbered U-21 hull after serving a one race suspension for his bumper-boat antics at Tri-Cities and Seattle. Many thought his memorable and somewhat infamous career was over following his collision with Shane at Seafair just months ago. Of note the Oryx Cup also marks Dave Villwock’s return to the scene of the shameful buoy-gate incident where it is believed he intentionally struck nearly every inner-course marker in an effort to suspend the race. Meanwhile Theoret returns to the sport following a five year hiatus to relief drive the Ellstroms’ brand new U-96 Spirit of Qatar for an ailing Kip Brown. Theoret will have to requalify as an unlimited driver and will be relegated to outside lanes until his performance meets the approval of new Commissioner Steven David and his Chief Referee, which will likely hamper his point-earning capabilities in Doha.

New Shoe for the 12th Man: It is well known that U-12 Owner Jay Leckrone renumbered his H1 entry to honor the Seattle Seahawks 2014 Super Bowl victory as well as their rabid fan following affectionately known as the 12th Man. Although not a top (or even mid-tier, for that matter) fantasy selection it is worth noting that the heavy-footed veteran racer Greg Hopp will not be driving for the 12’s in Doha. Hopp has been replaced by newcomer Jesse Robertson who previously qualified as a driver in N. Mark Evans’ U-57 during the 2013 campaign. Robertson has kept his credential up in 2014 and is ready to race.

Posted on: Nov 18 2014 06:52 AM UTC Edited on: Nov 18 2014 07:02 AM UTC
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