Fantasy Unlimited Hydroplane Racing

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2015 Detroit Preview and Three 2 Think About

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HydroDan's Deck2Deck Racing Inc.

Boat racing is back in The D this weekend, and Deck2Deck players should rejoice! When Detroit’s regatta organization folded and it was announced that the 2015 Gold Cup race would move to Tri-Cities, things did not look good for Michigan fans of the unlimiteds. But a new group worked with H1 Unlimited to put on the Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest on August 22-23, sponsored by United Auto Workers – General Motors.

This year’s event will feature a few less laps than usual on the Detroit River course, but the famed Roostertail Turn will remain as formidable as ever, giving fans on the grandstands and Belle Isle thrills all weekend long. H1 has announced that a full roster of twelve unlimiteds are making the trip to the Motor City. This is one of just four points-bearing races on the calendar, so expect the same fierce competition and close finishes that you saw in Seattle.

HydroDan’s Three 2 Think About:

Allisons Still Make ’em Shake: After 5+ years of being snugly nestled away in Ed Cooper’s Posey County shop, the U-3 Turbinator is back where she belongs, shaking the beautiful beaches along the nation’s H1 race courses. Not only does the U-3 produce that wonderful noise hydro fans seek, she also has recovered from a less-than-stellar Gold Cup performance by winning a heat in Seattle and taking home a respectable fourth-place finish in the final from the trailer position. The performance of the Go-3 Cooper’s Express at Seafair was rewarded with the announcement that HomeStreet Bank will back her in Detroit and San Diego, which may signify a greater willingness for Team Cooper to let Jimmy King hang it out in the final two races of the season.

They Touched: The Seafair final produced one of the most exciting H1 races in recent history as well as one of the most competitive finals ever on Lake Washington. When J. Michael Kelly in the U-5 Graham Trucking dueled with Jimmy Shane in the U-1 Oberto, hydrofans on the beach, boom, and online held their collective breath and fell in love with this spectacular sport all over again. As JMK took a slight hop from Lane 1.5, the Oberto initiated their turn in anticipation of the entrance buoy. Unfortunately, contact between the boats was made, but that’s boat racing at 180 MPH. Rubbin’ might be racin’ in NASCAR, but in boat racing it is a penalty, and a call had to be made. No matter: the final heat displayed the dominance of the U-1 and U-5 over the field and also emphasized the Shane-JMK / Oberto-Graham parity. However, the distance between these two top guns and the best of the rest appears to be shrinking. The U-96, U-3, and U-27 are all capable of upsetting the H1 apple cart at any given moment. If top-end qualifying speeds are any indication, all of these three — especially Jean Theoret in the U-96 — will be in the hunt on the bigger, faster Detroit River race course.

Who You Callin’ a Team Driver?: Much was made regarding the egregious gun jump by the U-7 in the Seafair final. Was it somehow a tactical maneuver by Jesse Robertson to pull other boats across the line early and/or provide his Graham Trucking teammate J. Michael Kelly in the U-5 a fast track to an inside lane? Much speculation has surrounded the issue. Among those debunking the team driving conspiracy theories are the U-3 radioman, who believes that the U-7 got out of position trying to win a boat race, and U-27 driver Cal Phipps, who has stated that no advantage could be gained by the 5 unless the 7 was shielding JMK from the competition on his outside. If it was, in fact, a team tactic, I say: more power to Team Porter. Let’s not forget not all that long ago Team Leland and the Znetix I and II with Greg Hopp and Terry Troxell successfully team drove to a win on the Columbia River. In those "anybody but Bud" days the "team drive" by the Z-boys was celebrated and toasted by hydroplane fans world-wide.

Posted on: Aug 19 2015 11:00 PM UTC Edited on: Aug 19 2015 11:04 PM UTC
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