Five boats showed up on a tight Phoenix course in a tight season race (after a one week delay). The first qualifying session revealed a tight field separated by just over 1 mph. While CP and the Bud took top honors early, in session 2 M Washburn and the Squire topped the field again to gain valuable points.
1A The rough water in turn 2 reared its ugly head immediately in lap 1 of the first heat. Both the Pak and the Bud bounced way out allowing the Cellular to slip inside and take an early lead. The Pak stayed in the hunt, even taking a momentary lead on the backstretch on the last lap but again, rough water on the outside slowed him allowing the Cellular to take the win.
1B, A restart was called allowing a sixth boat to join the race (the Pringles). A tight clean start for all three soon gave way to a two boat race (Squire & Winston) for three solid laps. As in heat 1A, the inside proved critical for the Squire in taking the win. The Pringles attempted a move to the inside but was washed down for a distant third.
2A: CP drew both Washburns in what promised to be a tight heat. CP in the Bud timed a Bill Muncey flying start from the outside to pull away from the Celular on the inside and the Squire in the middle early. For four laps CP held a slim lead over Kallen and was able to sustain for a win from the outside for the first time in the race.
2B: found the fourth winner in four heats. The Pak came up from the inside on a flying start to take an early lead coming out of the first corner. Scott in the Pringles stayed tight on Steach’s hip for three solid laps before backing off for second to save the equipment. Dewalt and the Winston had steering trouble in the rough water and took out two buoys for a frustrating third.
3A: All three boats worked to get their lane positions and ended up a little late to the start. Pringles on the outside again has speed to pull away early leaving the Cellulary and Winston in a deck to deck battle for second. IN lap 3, Kallen moved up to challenge and eventually overtake the Neo for a win by 0.019 seconds.
3B: Pack from the middle outlasted Mickey on the inside who slid out in T2 lap 3 but CP almost caught Steach with an inside move in the last corner.
Final: Bud led early with Pak in the middle and Squire & Cellular on the inside. In turn 2, the Pak moved in too tight putting the Squire up on the beach (in Steve David’s favorite spot). The Pak lead for three laps until the penalty was radioed in and Steach moved out. Kallen in the Cellular then took over the lead he would never relinquish. In the back, Neo moved inside going into turn 1 putting Dewalt upside down as well resulting in a penalty (this situation has garnered warnings all year long and the judges finally reached their limit). The Squire was eventually able to get off the beach to gain some points but even with penalties, could not catch the other boats.