Modern: U-100 Mirage Boats (black and maroon)
UL: UL-14 Miss Critical Logic
*Vintage: U-8 Miss Hawaii Kai III
*May not make the Vintage race
SNHL San Diego Bayfair Race Recap
The conclusion of the inaugural SNHL Season would take place in paradise at sunny San Diego, CA where 17 drivers took to Mission Bay for the final race weekend of the season. Entering the weekend, the championship was all but sealed for Eddie Kanfoush in the Llumar Window Films who's dominance and consistency each and every weekend would pay off here at San Diego Bayfair. An intense battle for 2nd in national high points was set in stone between Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab Tires and Cei Bowen in the Tide with 12 points separating the two entering the weekend. Nicholas Miller took the qualifying honors with his 5th pole position of the year in what has been a tremendous year for Les Schwab Tires in that regards. Electricity was in the air with every driver looking to close out the season with a victory on beautiful Mission Bay.
Tim Johnson would win the first heat of the day in the Pico American Dream, Nicholas Miller started off strong with a big heat 1B win over Eddie Kanfoush, and Kelsey Best flew the Spirit of Qatar to a heat 1C Victory. The Llumar Window Films would find its way back into the winner circle in 2A while his teammate, Cei Bowen, in the Tide would rebound from a penalty in 1B with a heat 2B win, and Matt Johnson would be victorious in 2C that saw only 2 boats finish. The Tide would get a crucial heat 3A win over the Beacon Plumbing driven by Adam Putich, the Albert Lee Appliance charged hard for a heat 3B win over the Les Schwab Tires, and Kanfoush would rack up another heat win on the season in 3C.
The final consolation heat of the inaugural SNHL season would consist of Cale Bruce in the U-10 Smokin' Joe's, Jeff Dewalt in the U-12 Graham Trucking, David Johnson in the U-20 Appian Jeronimo, KC Duncan in the U-60 Miss Thriftway, Kelsey Best in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, and Tim Johnson in the U-100 Pico American Dream. Best would snag the inside lane and never looked back as his race was perfectly ran from the get-go. The Graham Trucking was the boat that came closest to challenging the Spirit of Qatar as Dewalt had a solid start from the outside, but would end up crashing out before he could finish. The Spirit of Qatar would be the final trailer boat of the year, with Tim Johnson ending up in 2nd place, Cale Bruce would place 3rd, David Johnson finished 4th, and both Jeff Dewalt and KC Duncan would not finish,
The San Diego Bayfair final heat would be one of the more peculiar final heats of the season with a lot of action happening in the final minutes before the start that dramatically changed the outcome of the final heat. The field of boats included the U-8 Llumar Window Films, U-8 The Tide, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, U-37 Beacon Plumbing with Adam Putich making his first final appearance, U-1918 Oberto, and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar as the trailer. With under a minute to go before the start of the final heat and tensions running high, many drivers were eager to go for lane 1 in hopes to end the season on a positive note. One of those drivers who has had a roller coaster of a season was Mickey Washburn, who would pursue Eddie Kanfoush in cutting the course, but in doing so, would cut right in front of Cei Bowen in the Tide on the back stretch. Bowen would maintain control until Washburn over compensated on his correction, and ran into the back of the Llumar which rebounded his boat back into the way of the Tide as both boats would collide and crash out of the final heat.
Shortly after this incident, Putich thought he saw an opportunity to steal lane 1, but misjudged the amount of room he had as he struck a buoy and pitched out to Matt Johnson's lane, causing the Albert Lee to rollover. With all of the ensuing mayhem, 3 boats would make a legal start; DJ Miller in the Les Schwab, Eddie Kanfoush in the Llumar, and the trailer Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar. Miller got a near perfect start on the outside with a bunch of boat speed over Kanfoush entering the 1st turn. 2 of the #1 qualifiers on the season would go into a 1 on 1 battle for the final race of the 2018 SNHL season. Miller would maintain a strong 1 roostertail lead from the outside as the Les Schwab Tires team have been awaiting this performance in a final all season long. Kanfoush would try every angle of attack on the course, but it was no match for Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab Tires as he would claim the victory in the final race of the year at San Diego Bayfair. 2nd would go to Eddie Kanfoush in the Llumar Window Films, and 3rd place would be Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar.
With a long awaited final heat win, Nicholas Miller would also secure 2nd place in national high points, just 74 points over Cei Bowen. Miller had proven time and again this season that he was the fastest driver on water with 5 top qualifier awards, but he finally achieved the greatest thrill of racing with a highly anticipated final heat win after coming through in the clutch. We caught up with Nicholas Miller and the Les Schwab Tires team after they had scored their first win in the SNHL at San Diego.
"Scoring the victory at San Diego was a dream come true! It felt liberating finally overcoming the mistakes I had made throughout the season and even the race itself. Going into the last race of the season, I was determined not to end the season winless, especially after coming co close at Detroit. In the final heat, I was committed to being patient and timing my own start and ignoring what other drivers were doing. This ended up putting me in the best position to capitalize on the incidents during the mill. Boat racing is a tricky balance between patience and aggressiveness, and patience definitely paid off this time. I'm glad I was able to end the season on the highest note I could. Hopefully I can carry this momentum into next season and compete for the championship title."
Eddie Kanfoush finished off the season like every other weekend that has led him to a national championship; consistently. While Kanfoush would come in 2nd in a destructive final heat, he had nothing to hang his hat on after securing a national title as well as being the overall weekend points winner for the 5th time this season. Kanfoush's season was beyond anyone's expectations as his clean, yet aggressive driving style paid off as the Llumar Window Films was the only boat to make every final this season. Even Eddie found himself surprised at the amount of success the Llumar team has had in the inaugural year as they walk away with the 1st ever SNHL National Championship.
"It’s absolutely incredible. Words can’t entirely describe it. The team worked so hard this season to make sure the boat was set up perfectly and I had to drive really hard and apply pressure in just about every race this year. Our goal at the start of the year was to do the best we can and I think we succeeded. Props to everyone else who raced this season as well. They definitely didn’t make it easy!"
Best would manage to survive the melee during the milling period as the trailer position provided a great benefit to the Spirit of Qatar. Knowing that a victory was virtually impossible, Best ran a clean, conservative final heat that secured him a spot on the podium for the final race of the year. While the Spirit of Qatar team was satisfied to end off the season on a solid 3rd place finish, Ellstrom Racing always has a championship state of mind as they didn't quite meet their goal for San Diego.
"We are always happy to get on the podium, especially from the trailer boat position. This being said, our goal this weekend was getting a race win and things didn't quite go our way. We were in position to win all three preliminary heats but getting taken out by a driver who'd already been DQ'd and tapping a buoy meant we had to fight once more to make it to the final. We have lots to work on this off-season and are really looking forward to next season...there were quite a few competitors out there just getting their feet wet this season and we expect the competition to increase as people get comfortable fighting for lanes and driving on the inside. Looking forward to the future of the series."
It was a bittersweet season-ender for Cei Bowen in the Tide as he never got the chance to really compete in the final heat after being taken out during the mill. Still, Bowen would end the season in the top 3 in points along with being the first ever SNHL Gold Cup winner in what was a hydroplane race for the ages. One of the fastest drivers in the fleet, Bowen has proven that he can be a threat at any given race site and that he can only improve from here on out after the inaugural SNHL Season.
"I wasn't too mad about the San Diego final. Mickey knew his situation and knew he had to get lanes 1 or 2 to win the race, just came in a little too hot. But I wanted to come into San Diego not worrying about points and just having fun during this race. Although the rough ending I will look to rebound in Season 2 by just practicing more. I think I showed my worth at the tracks even though making some mistakes. I think I showed I can run with this fast guys and be competitive. I'm just gonna do some more practice on starts and not worry too much on flying the boat since I think we will get new physics by the time season 2 rolls around. Biggest thing ending season 1 and going into season 2 is work on practicing more and not worry too much in the exhibitions since it's basically a big testing session."
Matt Johnson would fall victim to another drivers mistake in the final as a solid season would be shadowed by a DNS in the final heat of the season. The Go Fast Turn Left team had quite a spectacular year that saw them start the year outside the top 10 and finish in 4th place in points. Johnson quickly improved each and every race learning how to push the Albert Lee hull to its limits. With a massive win at Seafair from the trailer position, Matt Johnson has showcased that he can come through in the clutch to win races, even from the back. While the San Diego final will leave a sour taste in the mouth entering the off season, Matt Johnson will be a contender entering the 2nd SNHL season after his consistency on the year gave him a top 5 finish in the points standings.
"I was definitely disappointed with what happened in the final. I felt like I was in a really good spot to finish on the podium and end the season on a really high note. Even though the final was disappointing, the race as a whole went really well. I made a dumb mistake in my first heat that cost me a possible 1st or 2nd place finish but it was the first time all season that I won 2 preliminary heats so I was really happy about that. I think the biggest take away from San Diego, and the season as a whole, is that if I stick to my strategy and run my race I can be a threat to just about everyone on the course. It was a great season, I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot, and I can't wait for next year."
The Oberto team had its fair share of struggles this year which came as a shock to many considering Mickey Washburn was the last Hydromod champion. But with an entirely different game engine and much more complex physics, the inaugural SNHL season was a learning curve for many like Washburn. The Oberto performed exceptionally well at Bayfair, consistently finishing with 2 2nd's and a 3rd in the prelims to lock himself into the final heat. With the last final heat win of the year up for grabs, Washburn took the aggressive approach to secure the inside lane but it backfired. While the final race of the year ended in disappointment, Washburn still ended up 6th in points and has a lot to look forward to in season 2.
"Yeah It was great to be in the last 2 final heats of the year. But it’s going to be a long summer having to live with wrecking before the start and taking out another driver. I don’t know if I’ll be asked to drive the 1918 again or not. But whatever I’m driving I can’t wait for season 2."
With the final race of the inaugural SNHL season in the books, overall I have to say the 1st season of the Saturday Night Hydro League was a success considering the ongoing changes to the game. I've seen improvements made from every driver this season as well as major strides being made with the game overall. Regardless of what happens in future seasons/leagues, I am thankful for having the opportunity to play a hydroplane video game that I only imagined in my dreams when I was young. Huge shoutout to Scott Przybylski for making the most enjoyable video game I have ever played, and a shoutout to all of the drivers who participated in the inaugural SNHL season. I'm glad I have gotten to know all of you guys well and that our community is strong because of our passion for hydroplane racing. Great things are to come for the future of this game and the Hydrosim community!
Congratulations Eddie Kanfoush on winning the 2018 SNHL National Championship!
SNHL Gold Cup Race Recap
The most anticipated race of the season had a staggering 19 boats for the initial race with Nicholas Miller in the U-9 Les Schwab Tires coming out as top qualifier with a blazing speed of 164.222. This would be the 4th pole that Nicholas Miller would capture on the season, further proving that his abilities to push the Les Schwab Tires to the limit is second to none. The Detroit River introduced a monumental challenge to all the attending drivers with its unpredictable water conditions, superspeedway length, and the always infamous roostertail turn. Many drivers could not tame the dangerous Detroit River as DNF's were common throughout the day.
In the first flight of heats, we saw Eddie Kanfoush get the heat 1A victory, Kelsey Best powered his Spirit of Qatar to a heat 1B win, Matt Johnson started his Gold Cup weekend on the right note with a 1C win over the Les Schwab Tires, and Cei Bowen in the Tide capture the win in what would be a 2 boat heat. The 2nd flight saw an impressive win by Saxon Hopp in 2A, piloting the Miss Pontiac to a 1st place after penalties accrued to the rest of the field in his debut. Chris Porten would survive a destructive 2B for a big heat win, Kanfoush would continue to rack up championship points with a 1st place in 2C, and Nicholas Miller would be the lone survivor in an anti-climatic heat 2D.
Scott Przybylski chalked up a defiant heat 3A victory in the U-22 Matrix Systems, Kanfoush racked up another heat win in 3B, Miller bested Bowen by getting a solid heat 3C win, and Tim Johnson would bring the Pico American Dream their first heat finish and victory at Detroit. The last flight of heats would be essential for any driver that had hopes to automatically make it into the Gold Cup final as the top 5 in weekend points would advance. Bowen would get an important 4A win over his Wurster teammate, Jeff Dewalt driving the U-12 Graham Trucking for Rob Graham would notch a heat 4B win, and Nicholas Miller would tally up his 3rd preliminary heat win in 4C.
5 boats would be eligible for the consolation as the field would consist of Saxon Hopp in the Lealand Unlimited U-15 Miss Pontiac, Matt Johnson in the GFTL U-21 Albert Lee Appliances, Kallen Washburn making his debut in the U-25 Superior Racing, Peyton Hopp in the Schumacher Racing's U-88 Degree Men, and Kelsey Best in the Ellstrom Racing U-96 Spirit of Qatar. The start saw the Spirit of Qatar and Miss Pontiac both make an excellent start, but the detrimental Detroit River would claim Hopp as its first victim after Hopp crashed out after the start/finish line. Best would go on to dominate from wire to wire with Peyton Hopp in hot pursuit the whole race. Coming to the roostertail turn, the Degree Men would overfly it and nearly blow over as Best would lock in to the Gold Cup final as the trailer. Peyton Hopp would go on to finish 2nd and Washburn rounded out the field in 3rd as Johnson and Hopp would DNF in the consolation.
Both of the Johnson brothers had their fare share of struggles at the Gold Cup with Matt being unable to finish in the conny, and Tim unable to make the consolation based on his weekend points. For Tim Johnson in the Pico American Dream, practice is crucial at Detroit if you hope to win the immortal Gold Cup and a lack thereof put a big roadblock in his chances. "A couple weeks ago the PICO team moved their shop to the tri cities and unfortunately that made all of the logistics of practicing and getting comfortable with the boat on that rough water extremely difficult. When you haven't practiced surviving the Detroit, there is no forgiveness."
For Matt Johnson in the Albert Lee Appliance, the monstrous Detroit river impacted his weekend performance at a crucial point in the season. "I think it was a bit of both, but mostly the river itself. It's a beast that is not easy to tame and I know I wasn't the only one that struggled with it. The two heats that I actually finished I picked up a first and a second so I know I can be fast there but I don't think I was really ready for how rough it was. Overall it was kind of a disappointing weekend for the U-21 team but all we can do now is move on and get ready for San Diego."
As the sun began to set in Detroit, Michigan, 6 beautiful hydroplanes were lined up on the docks with 6 of the most talented hydroplane drivers in the world behind the wheel. The 2018 Gold Cup lineup would have Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films, Cei Bowen in the U-8 Tide, Nicholas Miller in the U-9 Les Schwab Tire, Chris Porten in the U-25 Pay 'n' Pak, Kelsey Best (trailer) in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, and Mickey Washburn in the U-1918 Oberto. The 5 minute gun would sound as all 6 competitors would seek out their timing marks and fight for lanes to put themselves in the best position to win the prestigious Gold Cup. As the clock dipped below 1 minute, lanes would be established with the Les Schwab in lane 1, the Tide in 2, Llumar in 3, Pay 'n' Pak trailing back in 4, Oberto with momentum in 5 and Best starting 5 seconds back. Coming to the start, Oberto seemed to have nailed it initially but would jump the gun by mere milliseconds which would put him a lap down. Bowen and Miller would nail the start with Kanfoush close behind in lane 3. The Tide would have the lead entering turn 1 with the Les Schwab slowly chipping away at a half roostertail lead as Bowen would lead lap 1. Little did everyone know that this would be the beginnings of the best race of the season.
The Tide showcased significant top end speed on the outside but Miller in the Les Schwab would keep in pace and have the shorter course on the inside. Towards the end of lap 2, Best would stuff the Spirit of Qatar in the roostertail turn while Porten would lose control of the boat and blowover as that would knock both racers out of the Gold Cup. The Tide and Les Schwab continued to put on one hell of a battle as Miller would grab the lead out of the Belle Isle turn. Both boats were mere feet apart down the backstretch as they charged hard into the roostertail turn with both boats just about making contact at the end of lap 3. Bowen would recapture the lead out of the turn but only hold it on the straightaway as Miller would retake the lead out of Belle Isle. Deck to deck, edge of your seat racing as both boats were vigorously flying their boats into the roostertail turn. Bowen barely had the lead entering the final lap of the Gold Cup, as these 2 drivers pushed their talent and skills to the limit. Side by side down the back stretch they went with Bowen having a slight advantage on the outside entering the final turn of the Gold Cup. Out of the turn, Miller would swing out into the roostertail and go vertical momentarily, but manage to save it as Cei Bowen in the Tide would go on to win the first ever SNHL Gold Cup.
We caught up with Cei Bowen shortly after the race and discussed how surreal it was for him to win the Gold Cup after a roller-coaster of a season. "It wasn't the weekend I planned for but it was my best weekend. I had a penalty earlier in the day that kind of made me upset but I had to over come from that and put up a second and two first in the heats. From there it was all smooth sailing. Went into the final super nervous but was comfortable. I changed up my mill completely and for the first at Detroit tried to troll. I hadn't practiced for trolling at all so I just followed DJ and knew what I was capable of from lane 2. I stuck to my main timing marks and went off where I was for them. Once the race started I had to make sure to fly it as much as possible but not over fly it and have to slow down. I ran the best race that I could've. One of the down falls was that I had a couple buoys missing because of net code and couldn't hold him as tight as I would've liked to. But by far the most fun and memorable race I've had all season. Happy to win the first SNHL Gold Cup."
You had to give props to Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab who put it all on the line at the Gold Cup and managed to put on a show for the Detroit fans with a close 2nd place finish. After coming home just shy of a Gold Cup victory, Miller had no sense of disappointment after a thrilling hydroplane race. "That race was one of the most fun races I've ever experienced. It was a great battle and shows exactly what boat racing is all about. It was exactly the type of on-the-water battle that every hydro fan loves to see. Obviously I would've loved to win the Gold Cup, but I'm ultimately hear to have fun, and I had an absolute blast. I hope we can have more races in the future that are even more exciting. Can't wait for San Diego, where I can hopefully end the season on a high-note." Miller would also go on to win the weekend on points with 1900, the first driver ever to beat Kanfoush on overall weekend points.
While Eddie Kanfoush would be the odd-man out in the intense final heat finishing in 3rd, he has all but secured the national high points championship after another successful points weekend. While the Gold Cup trophy was out of reach for Kanfoush, he was still proud of the solid weekend he gathered at Detroit. "I was pretty pleased with the Gold Cup. It was a big points weekend and I came away with 3 heat wins and a good amount of points, and I feel very confident with my points situation. I was disappointed in the start I had in the final because the boat felt very strong, but I will definitely take a third and watching my teammate win the Gold Cup in an amazing final. Overall, we [The Llumar Team] can't be too disappointed with how the weekend went."
Mickey Washburn in the Oberto has had an up and down to this point, but managed to make his first final appearance after a consistent showing in the prelims. Even with canard wing issues as well as jumping the gun in the final, Washburn survived the adversity of the Detroit River with a 4th place finish. "It was a good weekend. And even though we jumped the gun in the final and after the first lap the canard issue started up again, we still finished fourth in the Gold Cup. It’s not a final heat win but it was our best weekend of the season and we’re happy with that."
The Pay 'n' Pak and Chris Porten found himself in his first final appearance of the season at the Gold Cup after displaying a consistent strategy on a rough Detroit course. The Pak would suffer from the mighty Detroit River with a blowover in the final, as he had hoped to meet his expectations of finishing all the heats he started in. "I wouldn't exactly say I exceeded my expectations since I had hoped to finish all my races. I was disqualified from heat 4B due to a brain fart because I wasn’t sure if I had clearance to enter the course after cutting. I wasn’t using a spotter and didn’t realize where I was on the course. I went through a DMZ, which resulted in a DQ. Then the final resulted in a wreck, not of my doing I don’t think. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with the other prelim races, including a win in heat 2B and how I did as a whole. Don’t forget I was racing with a major Cold that I got for Christmas, which I still haven’t recovered from yet. I just wish I had gotten points in all the races. Maybe the Bill Muncey Cup in San Diego will be different if I can get rid of this Cold by then."
The Spirit of Qatar would also be a victim of the rough Gold Cup final as he violently stuffed the boat entering the tight roostertail turn. It was an unfortunate ending for the Spirit of Qatar team after fighting their way into the final heat via consolation heat. For many drivers like Best, the Detroit River is by far one of the toughest courses to tame. "It's incredibly difficult, especially when your driver stayed out partying too late the night before! Our team was disappointed once again by our performance in Detroit, especially that of our driver. If we don't see an improvement in San Diego we may be looking for other options next season."
The Gold Cup by far exceeded the expectations of many with Cei Bowen and Nicholas Miller throwing down one unforgettable final heat race for 5 laps straight. Bowen would come out on top with all the glory as the 1st ever SNHL Gold Cup Champion. We are sure that drivers and fans of hydroplane racing alike will remember the 2018 SNHL Gold Cup for years to come. With the excitement level through the roof after a monumental Gold Cup, we look to continue that feeling at San Diego Bayfair. The final stop of the first season of the Saturday Night Hydroplane League is upon us, we will see you all at San Diego, California!
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It's been regarded as the most prestigious trophy in the sport of hydroplane racing, the hardware that every hydro racer dreams of achieving, the oldest active trophy in motorsports history; The Gold Cup. Since 1904, the Gold Cup has been the pinnacle of hydroplane racing bringing similarities to what the Indy 500 means to automobile racing. Only the best of the best have etched their name onto the historic Gold Cup trophy with names like Gar Wood, Bill Muncey, Chip Hanuer, and Dave Villwock seeing many victories at the prestigious event. This upcoming weekend, we'll see one driver immortalized as the inaugural SNHL Gold Cup champion over a stacked level of competition with a staggering 20+ boat field expected. With 4 flights of heats and what's at stake in each heat, the Detroit river is bound to provide the most thrilling racing on the planet while creating some havoc as it will be a dogfight between these drivers until the 2018 Gold Cup champion is crowned.
Entering the weekend, Eddie Kanfoush has a substantial lead in national high points piloting the U-8 Llumar Window Films with 1347 points over his teammate Cei Bowen. The only driver with multiple final victories this season, Kanfoush is one of the favorites entering the Gold Cup as he hopes to get back into the winners circle at his hometown race in Detroit. He has the chance to clinch the championship in Detroit if he can tame the treacherous Detroit river. With Team Wurster dominating the year in national high points, there's a good chance that both drivers can secure 1-2 in points for the season. For Eddie Kanfoush, winning the Gold Cup would be icing on the cake to an incredible season for Team Wurster.
"It would mean a lot to me. Detroit is the closest race to my home, so finally everyone’s on my home turf, and also the Gold Cup is the oldest active motor sports trophy, and to put my name on it would mean the world."
The Tide and Cei Bowen enter the weekend behind his teammate in the points, standings but has a great opportunity to dig into that lead with 4 critical flights of heats. There's no doubt that a lot is on the line for this team, but we have seen enough consistency from Bowen to know that he'll be a contender for every second in the Gold Cup. Strategy in the mill and lane selection will play a huge factor in his chances to get his 1st win in the SNHL. With the Detroit course as unique as it is, any victory here will have to be hard-fought, but Bowen feels very confident in his abilities here on the Detroit river.
"I honestly feel very good about Detroit. I know that I'm not the best at getting lane one so I've been practicing a bunch of different strategies and scenarios to win races. I can't tell exactly what I've been working on but I got a game plan in my head of how I will win. I feel that I have a pretty good chance of winning. Looking to see Eddie make mistakes that cost him but at the same time rooting for him since he is my teammate. Just hoping to have better luck and to see my boat up front."
With an outside shot of the championship in sight, DJ Miller in the Les Schwab Tires will look to take every opportunity he can get to close in at Detroit. Miller has had a fair chance in the finals that he has been in this season to win, but has been limited to the outside in every final heat. For the Gold Cup, however, the outside may provide an advantage for Miller as the Roostertail turn brings speeds in excess of 200 MPH down to below triple digits. With a hairpin turn like the infamous Roostertail turn, boats on the outside have that edge of carrying out more speed off the corner than the inside lane. With arguably the quickest hull in the field, its a must win scenario for the Les Schwab Tires team. A crucial Gold Cup victory could be more of a game of survival than anything for Miller.
"Winning at Detroit would sure mean a lot. I'm confident in my ability to run well there. I know I have a boat capable of winning, but a combination of my own mistakes and some bad luck has kept me out of the winner's circle so far this season. Detroit will be as much about survival as it will be about racing, I think."
Beau Rarig and the Miss Budweiser enters Gold Cup weekend riding off of a wave of momentum from Seafair after a 2nd place finish in the final. In the 3 finals Rarig has started in, 2 have been on the podium including the Guntersville victory so there's no doubt that the Bud is capable of winning at Detroit. Given the rich history of Bernie Little's Budweiser team, it wouldn't be a surprise to see another Gold Cup victory take place under Little's flawless leadership. With the level of competition through the roof, many drivers are expected to lay it all out on the line for the Gold Cup. For Beau Rarig however, he takes after his owners words of wisdom for winning the notorious race.
"Simple: Keep it on the water. As Bill Muncey said, you don't win at Detroit, you survive it. This course is notorious for causing accidents, so it's not a stretch to say some drivers will make mistakes. If we can capitalize on those mistakes, without making any ourselves, we'll be in good shape. We intend to win the Gold Cup, and keeping the boat on the water is the first step to achieving that goal."
The Albert Lee Appliance and Matt Johnson are coming off of a huge moral victory in the final at Seafair as they look to continue their success on a much different course. After a mind blowing win from the trailer position in Seattle, the challenging Detroit course will make a back to back victory very strenuous for Johnson. One of the most persistent and fastest improving driver on the season, there's a solid chance we will see the GFTL team on the front row in the final for the Gold Cup. Looking to keep up the momentum from Seattle, Johnson knows that as long as keeps his strategy in place that he has as solid of a shot as anyone to win the Gold Cup.
"Detroit is going to be tough. It's rough, it's fast, and it can create some really close racing. In Seattle I proved that you can never count anyone out and I think that's even more true in Detroit. My strategy hasn't changed and I'm confident that I will come out with a good result as I have all year. I'm excited to ride my momentum from Seattle and fight for the Gold Cup."
Tim Johnson has had his early struggles in the inaugural SNHL season, but saw major improvement at Seafair where he scored over 1000 points on the weekend and made his first final appearance. While he was unable to finish in the Seafair final due to an incident in the backstretch, the Pico American Dream made significant progress as Tim looks to continue to build off his successful weekend at Detroit. Tim has been known to be a risk-taker so Detroit could be quite the weekend for the Leland entry. After the strides he made at Seafair, Tim will look to keep the Pico on the water with a somewhat conservative approach in hopes of a successful Gold Cup.
"I think keeping the boat on the water and legal will be the key to getting into the final. But the final itself is a whole different animal. Trying to stay out of the way of the more aggressive drivers is probably the best."
For a driver like Mickey Washburn, the season hasn't panned out the way he wanted it to as the U-1918 Oberto has yet to make a final. The Gold Cup won't make his chances any better, but Washburn has shown the potential to succeed if the boat is running at its best. With the high points championship indefinitely out of reach, Washburn is still in good position to place in the top 10 with room to move up in points. With the type of season the Oberto team has had, a Gold Cup victory may require a dose of luck. Luck could be the difference for Washburn who hopes to leave Motor City as Gold Cup Champion.
"It would be huge to win the Gold Cup. Guntersville was my owner's hometown race, Tri-Cities was mine, and Seattle was my owner's home town race and all three we walked out with our tail between our legs. So if we could pull out a Gold Cup win all that will be forgotten. It's going to be a wild day of racing and maybe some luck will fall our way this weekend."
The atmosphere surrounding Detroit intensifies as we inch closer to the drop of the green flag of the inaugural SNHL Gold Cup. The action on the water will be second to none as the Detroit river provides some hectic deck to deck racing throughout the course whether that's the Belle Isle turn, the stretched out straightaways, or the infamous Roostertail turn. We are bound to see drivers push their skill-set to the ragged edge on an unforgiving Detroit river that is sure to claim some victims. The Gold Cup will be a cat and mouse game of who can push the limits further than any other driver. Everything that has happened so far on the season will be thrown out the window when Gold Cup Weekend begins. The very best hydroplane drivers in the world will be racing for pride, for glory, for immortality. Who will earn the right to greatness as the 2018 Gold Cup champion?
SNHL Seafair Cup Race Recap
The Seafair Cup did not disappoint as the Ted Jones race course provided the type of edge of your seat racing that you would expect in Seattle. The racing was jam packed all day as Lake Washington proved to be quite the challenging course for the biggest field of the year so far with 19 drivers showing up for the prestigious race. In the first flight of heats, we saw Eddie Kanfoush in the Llumar Window Films win 1A, Jared Meyer getting an impressive 1B win in his first race, DJ Miller got a strong start to Seafair with a heat 1C win, and Kelsey Best continued his preliminary heat win streak in 1D. Scott Przybylski in the Matrix System Automotive Finishes got his 1st much anticipated heat win in 2A, Kanfoush continued his season dominance with a 2B victory, his teammate Cei Bowen in the Tide captured the win in 2C, and Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men got the 2D heat win over the Pico.
In the final flight of heats, Peyton Hopp got back to back heat wins with a 3A victory that sent him to his first ever final appearance, DJ Miller got a hard fought heat 3B win against Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar in what would be the most thrilling heat of the weekend, Tim Johnson got a crucial heat 3C win that would also send him to his 1st final of the season, and Beau Rarig secured a much needed victory in 3D to send him into the final.
The Consolation saw some unfamiliar boats in it including Cei Bowen in the Tide, DJ Miller in the Les Schwab Tires, Kyle Lewis in the Peters and May, Matt Johnson in Albert Lee Appliances, Scott Przybylski in the Matrix System Automotive Finishes, and Chris Porten in the Pay 'n' Pak. At the start, we saw DJ Miller go flying into turn 1 with the lead from the outside with Matt Johnson getting up to speed on the inside with Cei Bowen behind in between both drivers. Miller never had overlap so Johnson was able to catch up and surpass the Les Schwab on the inside as the Albert Lee Appliances advanced to the final after an entertaining deck to deck battle with DJ Miller who came in 2nd. Cei Bowen would finish 3rd in the conny, virtually ending his chance at the Seafair final and possibly the championship. After a devastating Seafair weekend, Cei realizes that the championship is out of reach but he has a real shot at finishing well at the Gold Cup.
"Right now it's a fight for second in high points. Not much to do except go out and run as hard as I can. Detroit I feel that I have a really good chance to win since it's not so much of a fight for lane 1. I can win from lanes 2 or even 3. I'm just gonna try to do my best in the heats and go all out in the final. I'm hungry for my first win and hungry to catch Eddie."
The 5 lap final at the Seafair Cup would consist of a strong fleet of competitors including Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films, Beau Rarig in the U-12 Miss Budweiser, Matt Johnson in the U-21 Albert Lee Appliances, Peyton Hopp in the U-88 Degree Men, Kelsey Best in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Jared Meyer in the U-100 Znetix, and Tim Johnson in the U-100 Pico American Dream. As the hype built up prior to the start of the Seafair cup, we saw many eager drivers trying to put themselves in the best position to win on the 2 mile Ted Jones race course. For 3 drivers, their risky maneuvers proved to be detrimental as Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men, Tim Johnson in the Pico American Dream, and Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar all jumped the gun. Leading in preliminary heat points entering the final, it was a bittersweet ending to a strong Seafair weekend for Schumacher's Degree Men.
"We had one fast hull today in Seattle, but trying to force yourself into the best position when time isn't on your side in the most important race will result in costly mistakes. I couldn't be more proud of my team however, as we are making big strides each and every weekend to improve and become one of the more competitive race teams on the circuit. We rebounded in a huge way from Tri-Cities, scoring 2 heat wins and even leading in points entering the final. While the final did not turn out the way we wanted it too, our goal for this weekend was to earn our way into the final and we did exactly that."
Tim Johnson also jumped the gun in the Pico American Dream where we saw his final end early after an unfortunate crash on lap 2. Both the Degree Men and Pico American Dream saw their first starts in a final as they are both finally breaking out onto the scene here in the 2nd half of the season. Tim Johnson had his best weekend to date at Seafair as he saw his first 1000 point weekend total and is currently sitting in good position in the national high points at 7th. After a successful Seafair weekend, Tim looks to build off his strong showing at Seattle and lead Leland Unlimited to a strong finish in the season.
"I'm pretty happy with how I was able to get good finishes this weekend. In the previous races I had always had trouble with making mistakes that would cost me a spot in the final or conny so I was very happy that I was able to eliminate those mistakes in the preliminary heats. I was feeling pretty good heading into the final and was happy that I was able to get into a position to get lane 2, but I guess my timing marks were off so I jumped the gun and then the Qatar shot in between me and lane 1 which threw a bit of the a wrench in things. And since I was going pretty slow at the start, I got stuck in the roostertails of the boats around me and so on turn 1 of lap 2 I wasn't able to see anything and ended up turning too much and hitting a buoy and flipping . I'll always root for my brother though so it was cool to see him win. I know there's no way that I can catch up to the high points leaders in the last two races but I'm hoping that I can keep the consistent finishes going and secure myself a spot in the top 7 at least."
Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar was among one of the victims that jumped the gun, leading to a 4th place finish. Best has proven to be one of the more consistent drivers on the circuit as he has constantly found himself in the final, but has yet to secure that much needed victory as unpredictable circumstances has cost him each and every time out. While the Spirit of Qatar had quite the weekend that sees them 6th in national high points, Best was looking for much more than a finish outside the podium at Seafair.
"There was definitely more left to be desired, we had a fantastic boat for Seafair but couldn't quite capitalize. We are going to have to take a close look at our strategy for these final heats as people continue to push the boundary before the start and ruin their race in an attempt to get inside lanes. We are looking forward to the Gold Cup as the boat runs real well in Detroit and it is a great place to race with all the history involved."
At the start of the final, we saw nearly everyone on the front row crawling while Beau Rarig in the Budweiser on the outside had one of the best flying starts we've seen all season long. With the penalties, it would be Beau Rarig leading out of turn 1 with Kanfoush and Meyer battling for 2nd and Matt Johnson trailing behind in 4th from the trailer. Rarig would hold the lead entering lap 2 when he got extremely light down the Genessee gap and nearly blew it over, causing Kanfoush to catch quickly up with M. Johnson moving to his inside beside him. The Budweiser would keep fighting off the field on lap 3 as the Llumar and Albert Lee would gain ground on the leader. Entering turn 2, we saw Jared Meyer in 4th hit a roller that would send the Znetix barrel-rolling out of the course and out of the race. Even though the Znetix would DNF in the final, it was merely the most impressive debut of the season as even Meyers did not expect the outcome of his 1st race to be as solid as it was.
"I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Since it was my first race, my strategy was to just make clean starts and finish. It worked out well when I won my first heat and scored just enough points to make the final. I planned on going for it in the final, but was too early on my timing and had to settle for and outside lane and got behind everyone. Unfortunately, my steering wheel went crazy on me during the final causing the boat to make to hard right turn and flip, but overall I’m really happy with how it went."
Lap 4 would prove to be the most exciting lap of the weekend as Matt Johnson from the trailer position secured the inside lane from Beau Rarig as they would go side by side into turn 1. Exiting the turn, we saw contact between the Bud and Albert Lee but both drivers miraculously managed to keep it on the water. Johnson would cleanly pass Rarig in turn 2 as a sensational story would be born with the trailer boat leading the field coming up to the white flag. The Albert Lee saw smooth sailing from here on out as Matt Johnson would write history for the SNHL as the first ever driver to win a race from the trailer position. The odds were stacked against the Albert Lee Appliance and Matt Johnson, but that didn't stop him from scratching and clawing his way through the field to make for an underdog story in Seattle.
"I couldn't imagine a better place to get my first win. I don't think I took a breath for the last 3 laps of the final. My team gave me a fast boat and I took advantage of the opportunities I was given. I can't express how proud I am of my team and how happy I am that I get to celebrate this achievement at home. I'll be honest, I wasn't very confident going in to Seattle but I stuck with the same strategy that I've had all season and the consistency paid off. The Gold Cup can't come soon enough, I'm ready to get back out there and mix things up at the top of the season standings."
Coming in 2nd place after an adrenaline pumping final lap with the Llumar Window Films was Beau Rarig in Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser. The Bud earned its way through the final with some consistent finishes and has proven in the past that it can win races. While the Budweiser fell just short of being the 2nd boat to win multiple finals, there's no denying that the Bud is a force to be reckoned with in the final as Rarig came close to his 2nd win of the season. For the Miss Budweiser it's all about strategy and how you execute, especially in the milling period where races can be won and lost.
"My mindset during the milling period of the final was to not change up my timing marks. I had a feeling everyone would be crawling at the line early, so I knew I had a fighting chance with a flying start. I had overlap going into the first turn, but I didn't know it at the time. Had I known, Miss Budweiser would've been victorious. Heading into the last two races, I'm keeping my mindset where it is now: hit your timing marks, flying start, keep it on the water. If I check off these three criteria in each heat, Budweiser Racing will finish the season strong."
The points leader Eddie Kanfoush would not win 3 in a row, but stay on the podium as he would get 3rd place after an intense last lap battle with the Budweiser. For the 4th race in a row, however, Kanfoush has won in overall points on the weekend and continues to grow his points lead as he will be looking to clinch the national high points championship at Detroit. A blazing fast Llumar Window Films had yet another incredible weekend at Seafair as the Ted Jones racecourse proved to be one of the more technical courses of the year for these drivers to navigate. With the way Seattle unfolded, Kanfoush knew heading into the final that this was going to be completely different from the past finals.
"Well, the field looked a bit different compared to what it had in the first 3 races. Peyton Hopp in the 88, Tim Johnson in the PICO 100, and Jared Meyer in the ZNETIX 100 all had their first final appearance. Nick [Miller] and Cei [Bowen] both missed the final, which was a huge help in the high points race. The course itself was shorter, which made for a different feel than all the rest, and I'd say everyone was a bit anxious to try and get their hands on the Seafair Cup. There was a multitude of aggressive moves made in the final, and all of those factors combined made for one heck of a race."
The 2018 Seafair Cup exceeded the expectations heading in as we saw action packed racing throughout the day, intriguing story lines develop, and a few tempers flare as it wouldn't be Seafair without a hint of controversy. At the end of the day, history was made with Matt Johnson being the first driver to win a final from the trailer position and what better way to do it than racing the boat that is also the main sponsor for the event! With Seafair in the books, we focus our attention to the most prestigious race in all of hydroplane racing as well as the oldest trophy in Motorsports history:
The APBA Gold Cup
Seattle, Washington is considered home to many teams on the SNHL circuit as many grew up on the shores of lake Washington hearing the roar of aircraft engines and seeing the spectacle of hydroplane racing since 1951. While Seattle is known for its aviation industry, there will be a completely different type of planing this weekend with a large field of 18+ unlimited hydroplanes expected for the Seafair Cup. One of the more notable races of the season, the 2 mile course is the shortest of the year yet will provide for some exciting deck to deck battles all weekend long with its short straightaways and tight turns. With Seattle being the start of the 2nd half of the season, we will see the championship picture more clearly and find out who's willing to put it all out on the line to build momentum entering the latter half of the inaugural season. The emerald city has a rich, historic love for hydroplane racing as it was the first major sport that had arrived in Seattle at the time and it continues to this day. All eyes will be on the best of the northwest out on the Ted Jones racecourse as the most talented drivers in the world will look to take home the Seafair Cup.
Eddie Kanfoush and the Llumar Window Films had been dominant to say the least in the first half of the season, racking up 7 heat wins and 2 final victories in the first 3 races. A monumental start to the season, Kanfoush has all eyes looking upon him as the rest of the field will look to catch up to him in national high points in the 2nd half of the season. Seafair is a must-win event for many competitors as a lot are from the pacific northwest, providing an even tougher challenge for Fast Eddie who is looking for the Washington sweep as well as 3 in a row. With stout competition looking to secure a much needed home victory, Eddie knows that his boat has been extremely fast at every single race and that a win in Seattle would be real sublime at this point in the season.
"I'm feeling good! The boat has been an absolute rocket ship these past two races. I just need to try my best and try not to make any mistakes. The competition has been fierce so far this year, and with Seattle being the home race for so many drivers and teams, I'm gonna need to work very hard if I want a third win. I feel like I might not make too many friends if I can sweep the Washington races, though."
One of the hometown favorites has to be Nicholas Miller in the flighty Les Schwab Tires who has proven to be one of the most talented hydroplane drivers in any lane. Arguably the quickest accelerating boat in the fleet, Miller has shown the uncanny ability to balance the canard wing to perfection in nearly every race. Seattle will be a challenging course considering the short length of the course and how rough lake Washington can get at times, but expect the Les Schwab Tires to skip across the wakes at break-neck speeds. Looking to comeback from a under-performed Columbia Cup, Miller has his sights set on putting together a solid weekend to kick-start his 2nd half of the season on the right foot.
"I'm really looking forward to this race. I know the U-9 can win races. I intend on driving my own race and doing whatever it takes to get the victory."
One of the bigger surprises of the season thus far has been the consistency of Matt Johnson in the Albert Lee Appliance. After missing Guntersville, Johnson shot onto the scene with a blaze of glory by making the final through the consolation in his debut, and finished on the podium in 3rd at the Columbia Cup. Seemingly improving each heat he goes out in, Matt now finds himself 5th in points after only 2 races run in the season, an incredible feat to say the least. The Albert Lee Appliance team is on a freight train of momentum heading into Seattle as they sit in prime position at this point in the season. Looked upon as Go Fast Turn Left's favorable race, Matt has the utmost confidence that he can pull together a sensational weekend for the Albert Lee Team.
"Winning in Seattle would be huge. Everyone wants to win at home and not only is Seattle the home of our sponsor, but it's the home of our team too. Besides just winning at home, it would also be a big step up in season points. I think we have definitely surprised a few people by sitting in the top 5 after only competing in 2 races and we're looking to continue that success. Seattle is going to be a tough race; now that we're halfway through the season, everyone has improved and has some good experience under their belts, and the rough water is going to be tough to deal with. As always, I'm excited to get out there and compete, and most importantly, to come back to the dock with points every race."
Looking to make his return after an early, heartbreaking end to his Madison final is Kelsey Best in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar. After a perfect outing in the prelims in Madison, Best was one of the favorites to win the Madison Regatta final but alas he fell victim to a few incidents in the mill that led to a shaky start and an eventual blowover in the final. After missing Tri-Cities to repair the damages done to the hull, Best is looking forward to making an electric rebound in Seattle with a fast, newly rebuilt Spirit of Qatar. Currently on a 4 heat race victory streak, Best is bound to be quite the contender heading into the Seafair Cup.
"The boat is all fixed and the team is excited heading into Seattle. From here on out we know the national high points championship is likely out of reach so we will be looking to get many heat wins and hopefully a race win to give the team confidence heading into next season. We will be looking to limit mistakes on the water but still push the boundaries as our team is aggressive by nature. We hope to gain more points than anyone else from here on out."
You'll be sure to hear the roar of the crowd when you see the beautiful U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto driven by Codee Guyll exiting the Stan Sayres pits as a fan favorite. Backed by the infamous Art Oberto and Oberto beef jerky, the Ellstrom Racing entry has had a solid season so far coming off of a successful Tri-Cities race where he placed 6th in the final. Making only 2 appearances on the year at this point, Codee has showcased his talented abilities as a driver and has plenty of potential given he's only been to 2 races and has made both finals. As a driver, Codee is confident in his strategic abilities that helps him improve each and every time out.
""I'm confident in my strategy. I'm not really at the level yet where I'm battling for the big trophy at the end of the race, so I'm staying back and avoiding mistakes and trying to keep my boat on the water. So far, its paying off and I was even able to win my first ever heat that way. The important thing for me, as a new driver, is that I'm getting better every race and am becoming more of a threat each time I'm on the water."
An old-time classic will be seen out in Lake Washington for the first time in a great while as Chris Porten will look to bring out the U-25 Miss Pay'n Pak to Seafair. After a pretty successful debut in Tri-Cities, Porten will look to gain some more experience with the hull and become more comfortable with what the boat can and can't handle. In his debut at the Columbia Cup, Porten was able to make the consolation after sticking to the outside lane all weekend, showing that staying out of harms way can benefit you in the long run. The Pak is back at Seafair and while it won't be fighting furiously for lanes, expect to see a confident and improving Chris Porten behind the wheel.
"As of now, I don't have much experience with the Seattle course. However, I'm getting more confident in my abilities to control the boat so the race should go well for the Pay 'n' Pak. Like the Columbia Cup, I'll probably race from the outside and try to stay out of trouble."
There's nothing like the Seafair summer tradition ending with the long awaited Seafair Cup fast approaching. Many of the Seattle based teams will be looking to push their equipment to the limit and find the winning formula to victory lane at Seafair. With race weekend almost here, there's an electric feeling in the atmosphere as the worlds fastest hydroplanes are set to make history in the SNHL as the most talented drivers on water battle deck to deck for greatness on the infamous waters of Lake Washington. Get ready for a jaw-dropping, adrenaline pumping thrill ride that will take your breath away at any given moment.
This isn't any ordinary hydroplane race, this is Seattle. This is Seafair
2018 SNHL Columbia Cup Race Recap
The mighty Columbia river saw 16 of the worlds fastest hydroplanes compete for the highly sought after Columbia Cup in the sizzling heat of Tri-Cities, Washington. Expecting some of the best racing on the planet, fans left Sunday feeling extremely satisfied after witnessing their favorite teams roar down the river deck to deck at over 200 MPH. The Water Follies weekend was full of shock and awe moments with qualifying being the setting stone for the race weekend with Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films knocking off Nicholas Miller in the U-9 Les Schwab Tires in qualifications for 1st. With the hull nearly taking flight several times, Eddie flew the Llumar to a staggering 162.486 MPH lap, which not only set the fastest lap in SNHL history, but destroyed the Les Schwab's reigning qualifying streak. With 4 flights of heat with at least 5 boats starting in each heat, it was bound to be an exciting Columbia Cup weekend.
The first flight saw plenty of interesting storylines begin to take shape with the Les Schwab getting a solid 1A victory, David Johnson in the U-20 Appian Jeronimo claiming his first win in the SNHL in 1B, and Codee Guyll in the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto getting a surprise heat 1C victory after top qualifier Eddie Kanfoush jumped the gun by a landslide. In the 2nd flight of heats, the Albert Lee Appliance and Matt Johnson got a huge win in 2A over a fast Eddie Kanfoush, Cale Bruce in the Smokin Joes redeemed himself from a 6th place finish to a heat 2B win, and Beau Rarig got a solid 2C victory in the Miss Budweiser. 3A saw a good deck to deck battle with Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men taking the win over the Bud, Cei Bowen got a huge win in 3B against a tough competitor in Cale Bruce, and his teammate Eddie Kanfoush got a dominating victory in 3C. In the final flight of preliminary heats, it all came down to the wire for some teams that would determine whether they would make the Columbia Cup final. Back to back wins in 4A propelled the Llumar team to the Columbia Cup final, Cale Bruce in the Smokin' Joes finished the prelims strong with a 4B win after a destructive and confrontational heat, and the Tide captured another big win in 4C to give him a guaranteed spot in the final.
The consolation was action packed as it was the last chance opportunity for anyone to claim the last spot in the Columbia Cup. 6 boats entered the consolation after dealing with 100 degree heat all weekend long and trying to overcome their mistakes to be eligible for the final. Nicholas Miller, who surprisingly found himself in the consolation, nailed the start and never looked back as a hard charging Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men could not chase down the flighty Les Schwab Tires as he blew over in the final lap trying to catch him. Nick would advance on as the trailer in the final heat, with Mickey Washburn in the Oberto being the only other driver to complete the heat finishing 2nd.
The Oberto team had a somewhat successful weekend despite not making the final as Mickey finds himself 6th in the points standings. With his current positioning, the Oberto team is on pace to finish the year off strong as Mickey has a boost of confidence after a good weekend.
"Although we missed the final we had a good weekend if the front wing didn’t malfunction we would’ve been in the final. It was working again for the conny and it ran good I just jumped the gun. So now we are looking forward to Seattle my sponsors home race and looking to keep improving each race."
Another team that barely missed the final was the Schumacher racing entry of Peyton Hopp and the Degree Men. After a consistent showing at the Columbia Cup, an unfortunate driver error that cost him everything in 4B ruined the chances of earning a spot in the final heat. The agony of defeat once again went to the way of Peyton Hopp as he will have to wait another race for a chance at making his first final. While Peyton admittedly made a crucial mistake, he takes value in his driver errors that can potentially push him to become a better driver.
"After the heat 4B incident, I was devastated for the Degree Men team after we had such a big run in the prelims just for me to mess it all up for the team and be at fault. We worked too hard not to make it into the final at Tri-Cities and I'm sure my mistake will haunt me for quite some time. Despite the heart break, we still had a heck of a weekend and have the potential to improve further as all I can do is forget about the past and think about the future. We have some deck repairs that need to be made, but we look forward to Seattle and are striving to make our first final this season."
The 2018 Columbia Cup final saw 7 of the fastest unlimiteds that proved to be the ones to beat enter in to fight side by side for the prestigious Columbia Cup. The drivers included Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films, Cei Bowen in the U-8 Tide, Cale Bruce in the U-10 Smokin' Joes, Beau Rarig in the U-12 Miss Budweiser, Codee Guyll in the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto, Matt Johnson in the U-21 Albert Lee Appliance, and Nicholas Miller in the U-9 Les Schwab Tires as the trailer. The start of the Columbia Cup saw 7 powerhouse unlimited's roar down the front stretch with Matt Johnson in the Albert Lee blasting out in front entering turn 1 with the Llumar on his inside and the Tide on his outside. We saw a thrilling 2 lap battle between the Albert Lee and Llumar with the Tide in close pursuit on the outside. The high flying Eddie Kanfoush eventually got the lead and never looked back as a battle for 2nd then came to place between the Albert Lee and Tide. Cei Bowen found a hole to shoot through to the inside of Matt and took it as he was able to steal 2nd place from the Albert Lee team. 4th place was Nicholas Miller after a tough fight to the front from the trailer position, 5th was Beau Rarig, 6th was Codee Guyll, and 7th was Cale Bruce.
After 2 dominating performances in back to back races, Eddie Kanfoush is sitting on cloud 9 with an extension to his points lead. A combination of talent and clutch ability has lead the Llumar team to massive success in the first half of the season. Considering the amount of success, Eddie is feeling confident heading into the 2nd half of the season in hopes of securing the first ever SNHL championship.
"I’m feeling pretty solid at the moment. The boats behind me are hungry for wins and they are very fast, so I need to be consistent. My boat has felt great at each race and the team has worked super hard to get us where we are now. I’m gonna keep looking at each race like I have all year. I’m just gonna run my race and try and put the U-8 Llumar Window Film boat on top!"
Cei Bowen's consistency paid off in a substantial way at the Columbia Cup with not only a 2nd place finish in the final but moved up in the points standings behind his Wurster teammate in 2nd ahead of Nicholas Miller. After a rough start to the Wurster stable, both team members were able to comeback from their early struggles as they both find themselves 1-2 in the national high points. After an early season hiccup, the Tide has been on a roll as Cei looks to continue his impressive run at Seattle.
" I had two heats that did not go in my favor. A 3rd place at first and a 5th (80 mph violation and jumping the gun) which didn’t help me at all. But ended up coming back and winning my last two heats. I feel like those last two heats and the final have given me momentum to use for the next race. If everything goes to plan I could start gaining points on Eddie and hoping that he makes mistakes. Just gonna be a long battle for the top spot in points."
After missing out on the first race of the year in Guntersville, Matt Johnson in the Albert Lee Appliance has come on as one of the more up and coming competitors in the SNHL and after an explosive Tri-Cities race, he currently resides 5th in points after only 2 races. Proving to be one of the more resilient drivers on the circuit, Matt had quite the weekend at Tri-Cities that ended off with a solid podium finish in the final. After a stunning weekend, Matt has the potential to reap the rewards with a top 5 finish in national high points.
"The biggest change is after missing the first race of the season I was just shooting for a top 10 finish but now after Madison and Tri-Cities I know a top 5 finish is definitely within reach. I'm really happy with the result at Tri-Cities and I'm proud of the 21 team for giving me a fast boat to compete with. My main goals have been to be consistent, keep the boat upright and get points in every heat, and I think I've proven that to be a successful strategy. For the rest of the season I'm definitely going to stick with that strategy and I'm confident that I can put myself in a good position to finish high in the standings."
Finishing just outside the podium after a much earned 4th place finish from the trailer, it was a rather difficult weekend for the Les Schwab Tires crew and Nicholas Miller. After narrowly missing the top qualifier spot, things just didn't get much better for one of the fastest drivers in the series. A stroke of bad luck as well as making the final through the consolation heat resulted in a loss of position in the points standings as Miller dropped to 3rd. At the midway point of the season, the Les Schwab Tires team just has to regroup and look forward to the next weekend as Nicholas Miller prepares for Seafair.
"I made a few too many mistakes in the preliminary heats. I just got to learn from them and keep charging forward. I am very excited for Seattle. It's my hometown race. Winning there would be very special."
For the Miss Budweiser and Beau Rarig, Tri-Cities was a solid weekend but could have been better given the current national high point circumstances. The Bud was very quick on the Columbia River but just could get the job done in the final as they settled for 5th. With the 2nd half of the season set to get underway at Seattle, the Budweiser team will look to gain ground on the top 3 in points and hope to get back to victory lane. In fact, their simplistic strategy is to "Win every race" as put by Beau Rarig after the Tri-Cities final.
The Columbia Cup in Tri-Cities, Washington describes the ideal hydroplane racing atmosphere as fans were on their feet all day long for the action packed racing that took part. Marked as a must-see event on the tour, many drivers agree that Tri-Cities makes for some of the best racing you'll see all season long and that remark was certainly on display at this year's Columbia Cup!
For race 3 of the SNHL season, we head over to the west coast in eastern Washington for the prestigious Columbia Cup in Kennewick, WA. Known to many as the superspeedway of the SNHL circuit, the Columbia river provides a calm yet intimidating 2.5 mile race course for the drivers to handle that will test the drivers patience and skill-set. With wide sweeping turns that transition to break neck speeds down the straightaways, we are bound to see some exciting, breath-taking action on the water this weekend. For many Washington teams, the Columbia Cup is a hometown race that is a must-win on the season for both pride and points. Tri-Cities has that electric feeling during race weekend that is nearly undefinable as some consider it the epicenter for hydroplane racing. Whether it's the deck to deck battles, the jaw-dropping moments of a hydro taking flight, or the impeccable atmosphere that surrounds the Tri-Cities area during Columbia Cup weekend, this race is an experience like no other for any hydroplane fanatic.
Entering the weekend, Eddie Kanfoush continues a healthy lead over the rest of the field with a nearly 600 point lead over 2nd place Nicholas Miller. The Llumar Window Films boat has been riding high so far this season, with 5 miraculous heat wins and a Madison Regatta final heat victory as Kanfoush looks to continue his dominance on the west coast swing. With many west coast teams considering Tri-Cities and Seattle home turf, Eddie expressed how confident he is entering Tri-Cities being the farthest traveling driver.
"I’m feeling pretty confident. Tri-Cities is a very flat-water course and it has wide turns. If I can secure lane 1 I’d say I have a pretty solid chance. It’ll all depend on how well the Llumar team sets up the U-8 and how well I can drive! The West and East Coast rivalries are very played up; it doesn’t bother me at all. A race course is a race course, and I’ll be sure to try and put the U-8 out front."
Trailing behind 2nd in points is the lightning quick Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab Tires, who has proven to be arguably the quickest driver of the season thus far. Miller has shown a knack of flying the boat effortlessly to the tone of 2 back to back #1 qualifiers and 2 podium finishes in the final, but he is eager for much more. Proven to be one of the most consistent drivers behind the wheel, the Les Schwab Tires has seemingly been putting in all of the hard work on the outside when it counts which has affected his chances of capturing his first final heat victory. If Miller can find the inside more often, he could really dig into the points lead at a quick Tri-Cities Course. For the Les Schwab Tires team, its all about positioning that will give them the best shot to win the Columbia Cup.
"It's all about getting into a good position in the final. In Madison I had a great start but had to battle all the way from lane 5. The U-9 has shown the past two races it is the fastest boat on the water, it's just my responsibility as a driver to put it in a position to contend for the win."
The 2nd half of Team Wurster rebounded in a huge way at the Madison Regatta, as Cei Bowen's consistency paid off with a 2nd place finish in the final and placing himself in a good position to contend for the championship. The Tide sits 3rd place in points and has proven to be a dominant force on the circuit thus far. His ability to air the boat out keeps him in the running in nearly every heat and has the potential to improve even further at the Columbia Cup. Asked how he could build off of his current momentum swing, consistency is a key part in continuing the Tide's success.
"I’m just gonna try and stay smooth and get a good finish in. I feel that Eddie could make some mistakes since a lot of pressure is on him. This also isn’t a very outer lane course so it will be very hard to win from lanes 2 or 3. Just gonna go in and try to stay smooth and finish good. It’s gonna be a fight for lane 1 through the whole day. Should be some close racing and hopefully will end up on top."
After an unfortunate mishap occurred in heat 2D that cost Beau Rarig the chance at the Madison Regatta final, the first ever SNHL final heat winner will look to regroup the Budweiser team at Tri-Cities. Sitting 5th in points, there's nothing to frown upon for the Miss Budweiser race team with the season still early, as the team is confident that they'll return back to there winning ways at Tri-Cities. With the Columbia Cup in sight, excitement is in the air for the Budweiser team as Beau Rarig explained how Tri-Cities is their most experienced course and how they believe they have a good chance to get back into the winner's circle.
"Tri-Cities is my favorite course, and we know how to win here. Budweiser Racing is hard at work, both on and off the water. Since the accident in Madison, our team has begun work to repair our T-2 hull. Meanwhile in Tri-Cities, we've been testing the T-3 hull extensively, which is the same hull that won in Guntersville. I've gotten more time on the Columbia River when the Tequila Patron ESM team brought me on board to test their brand new boat. I wouldn't be surprised if we've turned more laps here in testing than we'll turn at the race!
Still, our main goal is to be consistent and snag as many points as we can. We put the accident at Madison behind us, and we're confident that Tri-Cities is going to be our best race yet. We know how to get lane one, our timing marks are solid, and we intend to win."
While many proven contenders have a probable shot at winning the Columbia Cup, other West Coast teams have just as great of a shot as anyone else to secure a much needed win on the mighty Columbia river. One competitor who will be a definite hometown favorite is none other that Mickey Washburn in the U-1918 Oberto. Washburn has had difficulties throughout the first 2 races despite the flashes of excellence that the boat is very well capable of. Tri-Cities can be considered a fresh start for the Oberto team as they'll be looking to have the home field advantage in hopes of securing a moral victory for the season that can be carried on to next year.
"First 2 races don’t remember them. Yeah Tri-Cities is my hometown we would really like to finish strong. We’ve been getting a lot of testing in we’re a little quicker not in the hotdog category but faster. With the national championship gone we are determined to put it all on the line for a hometown win. Maybe with a strong weekend we can finish the season strong and carry that momentum into next season."
Another contender for the Columbia cup after a pretty solid Madison Regatta weekend is Matt Johnson driving the U-21 Albert Lee Appliance. With his first official race weekend being at Madison, Matt struggled at first with penalties affecting his chances at making the final. Despite a few mistakes, the Albert Lee Appliance saw massive improvement to end the weekend with a heat 3B victory, a win in the consolation, and a hard fought 4th place finish in the Madison final. With much more room for improvement in sight, Matt Johnson is eager to build off his early success and continue to dial in his season.
"Well it was a big confidence boost with such a good result in Madison, especially since I know I could have done better. I'm excited to carry that momentum forward at Tri-Cities, and I'm confident that I can compete with some of the faster boats. Consistency is huge though so as long as I walk away from each heat with points I know I'll be in good shape."
Also looking to build off of a solid first showing is Peyton Hopp in the Schumacher's U-88 Degree Men. Peyton showed some great promise early on with a 2nd place finish in 1C and a 1st place finish in 2C, but a costly mistake on the last lap of 3C saw his electric start to the weekend disappear. Hopp still got away with the weekend with valuable points, and has some great momentum entering the Columbia Cup. Still developing as a driver, Peyton has confidence that he can only improve from his 1st race's experience.
"Madison was a great learning experience for me after getting my feet wet for the first time. Had an explosive start but sort of fell apart after a few driver errors happened but that's all in the past. I've come to learn that mistakes happen even to the very best but those mistakes encourage a good driver to become a great driver.
Tri-Cities is my absolute favorite unlimited course as there's just a certain level of intensity entering Columbia Cup weekend that you can just sense. We have an outstanding team on deck for Tri-Cities and have had a few successful test sessions on the Columbia. The boat seems to handle the corners here pretty well and rides a little loose in the straights, but that will change when a full field of hydros are out there! We don't want to set the standard too high for ourselves, but we are undoubtedly confident that we will have a successful weekend at Tri-Cities."
With a big field of unlimiteds expected for the 1st annual SNHL Columbia Cup, excitement is in the air as teams prepare for a hotly contested battle at Tri-Cities. Get ready hydro fans for some sponson walking, heart-stopping, edge of your seat racing that will provide some thrills and spills at the first ever Columbia Cup!
2018 Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup Race Recap
It was a sensational weekend in Madison, Indiana as 18 of the fastest Unlimiteds showed for the first ever Indiana Governor's cup for SNHL. With the largest field to date, we saw more action on the water with 4 heats per flight instead of the normal 3 like we saw in Guntersville. Entering race day, Eddie Kanfoush had an impressive lead in national high points over tough competition including Nicholas Miller, Cei Bowen, and Beau Rarig among others. Madison also saw 2 debuts in the SNHL; Peyton Hopp in the U-88 Degree Men and KC Duncan in the U-60 Miss Thriftway. The Ohio River proved to be quite the course as the hairpin corners made for some intriguing deck to deck action along with the never ending straightaways where we saw speeds well over 200 MPH at times. The sight of seeing the field rumbling up underneath the bridge for the start was something the behold. Despite a rough and unpredictable Ohio river, many of the drivers were able to adapt quickly to the courses unique challenges that it presented.
The preliminary heats provided some fantastic action, with battles for position in nearly every heat. Some interesting storylines developed as the final of the Indiana Governor's Cup approached, including Eddie Kanfoush's rebound from his gunjump in 1D, Peyton Hopp getting his 1st heat victory in his inaugural debut, Kelsey Best's monstrous preliminary heat win streak, and a solid showing from Nicholas Miller and Cei Bowen with both drivers racking up 1000 points entering the final. With the prelims finished, we saw the top 5 in points get an automatic berth into the final; Cei Bowen in Tide, Eddie Kanfoush in Llumar Window Films, Nicholas Miller in Les Schwab Tires, Quinton Miller in Skyway Park Bowl & Casino, and Kelsey Best in Spirit of Qatar.
The Consolation heat saw 5 boats enter for a final shot at making the final as the trailer. Matt Johnson had a perfect start after a shaky preliminary performance as he maintained the lead all the way to a flawless finish to be the final competitor in the Madison Regatta final. 2nd was Peyton Hopp in the Degree Men, 3rd was Beau Rarig in the Miss Budweiser, 4th was Jake Bell in the Kellog's Frosted Flakes, and 5th was Cale Bruce in the Smokin' Joe's. After a booming start, Peyton Hopp was left disappointed after a penalty in 3C cost him a guaranteed spot in the final and an awful start put any hopes of making the final to rest. Despite the agony of defeat, Peyton was satisfied in his SNHL debut and seems optimistic for the future.
"Overall, I'm pleased with the promise I showed at Madison. The U-88 Degree Men hull handled the Ohio River exceptionally well, we were able to secure a hard fought win in 2C against a tough Tide boat and the crew was ecstatic. 3C is where the tables turned for us, had a great battle with Eddie until I misjudged turn 1 and the steering went away from us as we literally ran over the Llumar. I take full responsibility of that incident as it completely threw our weekend off course. All we can do is lock away our defeat and look forward to Tri-Cities. We've got a lot more to show this season and am eager to rebound and improve."
The Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup final was one to remember as we saw some peculiar storylines take place both during the milling period and race. As the field was warming up for the final timing starts and all, we saw contact made in the backstretch in the final between Quinton Miller in the Skyway and Kelsey Best in the Qatar. During the final minute, the Skyway made a bold move to try and secure lane 3 but swung out into the Spirit of Qatar as he was slapped with a lane violation penalty. As the field passed the commitment bouy, Team Wurster predominately secured lanes 1 and 2 with the Llumar in 1 and Tide in 2. Most of the field was slightly early as Nicholas Miller in the Les Schwab had an excellent flying start on the outside which would come to play into his advantage in the end. Unfortunately for Kelsey Best, his race ended abruptly when he got caught up in the wake of the Skyway and blew over. The whole field bashed into a rough turn 1 with Eddie Kanfoush coming out in 1st and eventually sailing away with a dominating victory. Cei Bowen was skipping the hull across the water in an attempt to catch the Llumar but to no avail as he finished with a solid 2nd. Close behind was an intense 3 1/2 lap battle for 3rd between the Les Schwab and Albert Lee Appliance from the trailer position. Matt Johnson held the inside lane tight all race long but Nicholas Miller edged him out at the line with a fierce flighty run from the outside lane. 5th was Quinton Miller in the Skyway and an unfortunate DNF for Kelsey Best in the Spirit of Qatar.
After an opportunity wasted in Guntersville, Eddie Kanfoush came back with a vengeance in the final leading wire to wire. With a nearly 600 point lead in points over Nicholas Miller, Llumar Window Films is off to an electric start to the season with no intentions of slowing down. We caught up with Eddie Kanfoush and asked how it feels to get his first victory in SNHL and extend the points lead.
"It's a great feeling. Getting the win was really fun, albeit a bit stressful and challenging. To extend the points lead is just an added bonus!"
Proving that he is a serious contender for the national championship, he looks to continue his dominating campaign with a focused drivers mentality after being questioned if his mentality changes now that he's in the hunt.
"It doesn't really change anything. The end goal was always to try as hard as I can to win the championship. My mentality has always been to drive to the best of my abilities, as outside of that there's nothing I can control."
One driver who became a victim of the agony of defeat was Kelsey Best who, after a perfect preliminary heat weekend, fell victim to being in the wrong place in the wrong time. Despite a DNF in the final, Best has been on a hot streak the past 2 races and currently holds an impressive 4 preliminary heat win streak. Currently sitting 4th in the point standings, Best gave his take on how the season has gone and how he can build upon his recent success.
"All things considered the team is happy where we're at heading into Tri-Cities. In the first race we had to deal with a lot of distractions, we weren't quite ready for the season to be honest. We won the first two heats on the water, but jumping the gun and dislodging a buoy left us little to show for those first heats. We finally ran a clean race in the third heat and ran a clean conny to get in the final as trailer. Unfortunately we pushed the trailer start a bit too much in the final heat and were unable to take advantage of several other gun jumpers to take home the apparent race win. Heading into Madison the team goal was not beating ourselves and we were able to run 3 clean preliminary heats and take home 3 wins. Unfortunately we had a a few incidents with the Skyway team in the milling period of the final which lead to a poor effort and result for the U-96 Qatar team.
Having lost only two heats on the water we are confident moving forward that we have what it takes to compete with this year's front runners. Unfortunately it looks like the damage sustained in that Madison final may keep us from making it to Tri-Cities, which will definitely make us a long shot to compete for the high points championship. Regardless, the team is aiming to get a lot more heat win's this year and at least a race win before the season ends. Hopefully some of this success will also rub off on some my #TeamEllstrom teammates"
Madison provided an extremely unique course for every driver that attended with some excelling, and others struggling. The course layout was a hot topic entering the weekend, with many pondering how they would be able to master such a challenging course. For Beau Rarig and the Miss Budweiser, the team was able to perform well but not meeting the expectations as a DNF hurt his chances of making the final and a 3rd place finish in the consolation sealed the deal. Beau Rarig was able to give his opinion on what was a major difference between Madison and the previous Guntersville race.
"The tight turns ultimately proved more difficult for me than Guntersville's wide turns. I'm used to flying the boat all the way around the course, which is something you can't do at Madison. You have to settle the boat down quite a bit to make it around Madison's turns without incident. Miss Budweiser scored a heat win at Madison, but the boat ahead of us jumping the gun is what handed us that win. Heat 2 is what proved fatal for us in Madison. I settled the boat down too much, and she pitched sideways and barrel-rolled. This wreck was 100% avoidable. Going into Tri-Cities and Seattle, we won't have to worry about tight turns, but in order to be the best, you have to be able to adapt to different racing conditions. Budweiser Racing is looking ahead to a big points weekend in Tri-Cities, and we intend to win."
With an entertaining Madison Regatta behind us, the points standings has been shaken up and we're getting more of a sense of who the contenders for the championship will be. Madison was a drivers course, with only the most skilled making the final and the best of the best conquering the hellish waters of the Ohio River. Overall, Many SNHL drivers proved their worth in Madison, showcasing their hardcore driving abilities and proving that the Madison Regatta is one race that you don't want to miss.
Race 2 of the SNHL Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup is upon us as teams all across the country prepare for what should be an action packed weekend on the Ohio river in Madison, Indiana. After an eventful Guntersville final that led to an abundant of penalties and defeat, Beau Rarig in the U-12 Miss Budweiser nailed the start and survived to be crowned the Southern Cup champion and the first ever SNHL final heat winner. Currently sitting 2nd in National High Points, the Budweiser team is riding on a wave of momentum as we caught up with Beau Rarig and asked how his expectations changed since winning the inaugural race of the season.
"I think everyone's expectations of me have risen since Guntersville. Some have said I got lucky in the Southern Cup Final, and to an extent, I believe that too. I'm not the fastest driver in the field, I will admit that. The key to Budweiser Racing's success going forward is to maintain consistency. Simply finishing in the top 3 each heat was enough to place into the Final, and now Miss Budweiser is second place in National High Points. I won't make any predictions of how Madison will turn out, but I'm confident Miss Budweiser will be a legitimate threat to the rest of the field."
While a hint of pure luck was given to the Budweiser camp on that final win, there's no denying that consistency paid off well for Beau Rarig and that could be the key to a successful year for Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser. Entering a challenging course this weekend in Madison, this could be the true test for Beau with a hungry field eager for their first win. Searching for his first win after nearly boasting a perfect weekend is Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films from Team Wurster. The U-8 was a rocket ship at Guntersville as Eddie showcased his potential as a champion to the tune of 3 straight preliminary heat wins. He came up just short of a final victory, however, as the Llumar finished 2nd in the Southern Cup final after he jumped the gun but 1st in national high points. Asked if being the points leader this early on leads to more pressure, Eddie replied with confidence.
"Absolutely. Leading points kinda puts more of a target on your head, so the pressure is on to keep it up and try to stay on top. All I can do to handle it is run my race and try not to worry too much about anyone else."
Proving that he can fly the boat while keeping it on the water, the Llumar Window Films will be the hull to watch entering the Indiana Governor's Cup after an electric start to the season. Madison is a completely different course than Guntersville as the long straights coupled with hairpin turns make an already rough ride on the Ohio river more challenging. One driver to keep a close eye on is none other than the current 2.5 mile qualifying record holder, Nicholas Miller piloting the U-9 Les Schwab Tires. At a blistering 161.306, he set the tone for a solid weekend finishing the 1st race of the season 3rd in the point standings. Being one of the many victims of a penalty in the final, Jones Racing will be looking to rebound on a challenging Ohio River. Known to fly the boat more like a plane than a hydro at times, Nicholas gave his take on what could be an advantage in Madison with the unique course design.
"I think the long straightaways can provide an advantage to the outside lanes. A fast boat can keep momentum on the outside and avoid the risk of being pinched by other boats. It'll be interesting to see what lanes other drivers prefer."
Given how fast we've seen the Les Schwab Tires at Guntersville, you can bet that Nicholas Miller will be one of the top threats entering Madison. One driver that will be looking for redemption from Guntersville is the 2nd half of Team Wurster, Cei Bowen in the U-8 Tide. Cei kicked off his season with a bang being 1 of only 3 drivers to hit the 160+ mark in qualifying. Capitalizing on his qualifying time, the Tide would go on to win 2 of 3 preliminary heats. Disaster struck however in the final, as a critical lane infraction penalty before the start ruined any chance of a victory at Guntersville. All in all, Cei still had a dominating weekend as he sits 4th in national high points. With this weekend's race at his home course, Cei is confident he can rebound with authority in Madison.
"It’s my home track and been going for 17 years now and I feel pretty confident. Qualifying may be rough but the heats and final I’m very confident. Been running lane 2 a lot and it has been very powerful for mainly heats but if I can get a good start in the final it’ll be a dog fight for the win. Hopefully I won’t make any mistakes this weekend but I’m looking to move up to 1st or 2nd after Madison in the standings."
He also has a boost on confidence to the fact that Team Wurster is on a rampage after 1 race. The Llumar sits 1st in points while the Tide is comfortably in 4th, and there's a great possibility that this team is just getting warmed up. Cei and Eddie have great chemistry working together and it shows on the course and off it. Asked how far they think this team can go this season, Eddie didn't hesitate to respond.
"I think we can go pretty far. Cei’s a great driver, I think we make a pretty good team. We have high expectations for our team so we’re gonna work as hard as we can to exceed them."
The sky is the limit at the moment for Team Wurster, but there's a lot of season still left to be played. One competitor hoping for new beginnings after a lackluster performance is Mickey Washburn in the U-1918 Oberto. After a great start to the season with a 4th place qualifying position, Mickey struggled mightily in the preliminary heats. He didn't have a terrible weekend by any means (one 2nd place finish, and 2 4th's), but Mickey was looking for much more that the current results imply. With a fast Madison course ahead, the Oberto team is looking for redemption to save their season early on.
"After qualifying 4th fastest it was down hill from there. But this weekend is a new race and time to get the 1918 Oberto back on track. If I have any hope for a national title I can’t make any mistakes this weekend."
The Oberto will be a crowd favorite to watch, whether that's the 2018 Oberto or the only community owned hull in the world, the U-6 Miss Madison sponsored by Valvoline. Madison has a rich history of hydroplane racing, and this upcoming weekend, it will only add more with an expected field of 16+ boats for the Indiana Governor's Cup. Who will begin their season at Madison? Who's going to conquer the Ohio River? Who's going to be crowned the Indiana Governor's Cup Champion? We'll find out soon enough.
You gotta Regatta!
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