September 10-11, 2011
J and Fae Report
Oh yeah! Fast boats, a beautiful site, rabid fans, risque music (mammals/the discovery channel?) and fun for all. It must be Beauharnois, Quebec. J and Fae set up camp at the Hotel Valleyfield to take in this grand finale for ACHA Canadian racing. Long Sault, Brockville, Valleyfield, St. Felitien and Beauharnois are all gems. In 2011 the action was wild.
Denis Bourbonnais, the voice of ACHA, sets the tone with his golden voice and unbelievable knowledge about every team. Throw in a deep field, nice weather, friendly fans (like Guy and his family or Francois from the bleachers at Valleyfield) and this was going to be cool.
High points battles added to the excitement in several classes. For example Norm Ensbury (CH-99) Ocr Racing and Ghislain Marcoux (CH-666) El Diablo were virtually tied in the 350 class. In the stockers Rob Stephenson (CS-10) Wet Spot, Kent Henderson (CS-00) Bank On It, Marco Poirier (CS-33) Zibra and Steve Armstrong (CS-11) Total Chaos came in extremely close as well. Tense battles loomed.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-13) (S-26) (PS-6) (E-9) (H-12) (GP-9) Total-75
PS boats are being dominated by Eric Hahn in Bob Zapody's (PS-555) Showboat. As usual the clock ran down, Eric (PS-555) hit the pedal and it was bye bye. He won every heat. It was nice to see Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder running well again as he took second with Daniel Frenie're (PS-99) Plum Crazy running a strong third. This class is fast and loud and a crowd favorite, but they need to find a few more boats to stay in good graces on this circuit in the future.
T boats are putting on a good show as several teams are finding more speed each week. This race it was Michael Tremblay (CT-11) Timothee Special (formally Fred Benzinger's Legacy) coming to life to take an impressive victory. Matthieu Lemelin (CT-7) Soresto Racing took a big step toward a Canadian high points championship with a fast second place. Jean Sebastien Boyer (CT-77) Big Boy Machine took third in his vastly improved ride. Good show gang.
E boats got a reprieve from ACHA in 2011 by delaying their conversion to the 350 engine. As fans we got a bonus class that put on one whale of a show. The action was fast and close all year. Kelly Shane (E-77) Shane Racing ran with great speed and consistency so she came in here with a solid points lead. It was no surprise to see Kelly (E-77) run fast and smooth to a strong second place in the final. However, Paul Hewitt (CE-45) Hewitt Motordports has been the bomb lately. That radical exhaust system has a high whine that must unnerve the field. If the sound doesn't spook ya the speed does. Paul (CE-45) was gone gone gone like a hurricane. Jonathan Abbott (CE-10) Flyin Eagle took third in a final beset with penalties. The fives were awesome in 2011.
H boats presented a deep, fast field as usual. The close points race between Norm Ensbury (CH-99) Ocr Racing and Ghislain Marcoux (CH-666) El Diablo disintegrated as Norm (CH-99) had a disastrous weekend with mechanicals. Ghislain (CH-666) dominated the qualifiers and held off Marc Lecompte (CH-104) Willy's Pub in the final. Uh oh, Ghislain (CH-666) took a penalty handing the title to Mark (CH-104) who ran a scary fast heat to earn it. Francois Campeau (CH-5) Canadian Tire and Yannick Leger (CH-79) Super Nova completed the podium in a wild heat. We used our pencils Jeff Ayler as the results were jumbled by pthisses and pthatas. This race marks the end of the season for the H boats unless a few throw in 305's to race in the States. They were fast, noisy and pretty safe and will get a boost from added E boats next year. 2012 will give us a true picture of this group.
S boats are flat ridiculous on this circuit. Three sets of heats (all wars) cut the field from 26 to 6 for the final. Two consolation heats added the winners to the elite group. Several top flight teams missed out which happens at every race. Heat 2a illustrated the mania as Brandon Kennedy (S-25) Shameless ended upside down in turn two during a six boat battle for the lead. He was ok but unfortunately that was a preview to the final. A massive battle developed in that final with Kent Henderson (CS-00), Steve Armstrong (CS-11), Rob Stephenson (CS-10) and John Shaw (S-816) Gone For Broke battling it out. Kent (CS-00) edged ahead of Steve (CS-11) after three laps when all of a sudden Dominic Billette (CS-22) All In blew over. Officials scored the heat complete with Kent (CS-00), Steve (CS-11) and John (S-816) on the podium. John is doing well in the Abbott's former Flyin Eagle. The stockers points race will go down to the wire at Webster, Massachusetts.
GP boats put on an astounding show as usual. Their qualifiers are all like finals with side by side action at sick speeds. You can't have a bad draw since there are no weak boats. Pierre Maheu (GP-46) Adf Diesel came in with a nice high points margin but he had an uncharacteristically bad weekend putting him at trailer for the final. Most improved award goes to the Kennedy team with Brandon and George driving the (GP-25) Shameless. That boat has become a factor and Brandon has dove into the deep end with this bunch. The final saw Bert Henderson (GP-777) Crush earn lane one. Six monsters hit the line with two trailers. The first lap saw Ken Brodie (GP-50) Intensity, Mark Theroet (GP-444) Gp Valleyfield, Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder and Brandon (GP-25) in a virtual tie. Bert (GP-777) seemed to hook slightly in each corner but he blistered the straight aways.He finally totally hooked out late in turn two. Marc (GP-444) took over with incredible acceleration holding off Ken (GP-50) until structural damage slowed him as he threw water like a geyser. Ken (GP-50) took over as Marc (GP-444) limped home second parking on the finish line. Oh no, here came Pierre (GP-46) and Marc Lecompte (GP-104) Dynomytes racing for third. Pierre (GP-46) took it by a foot as both boats barely avoided Marc's prone hydro. That was close. Congratulations to Ken (GP-50) who has been snake bit all summer despite being as fast as anyone. The GP's are awesome babee!
Well, that's about it from Beauharnois. The ACHA-Valleyfield group pulled off another tremendous regatta. The crowd was left in stunned amazement trying to understand what they just saw. Here's a couple of last tidbits. Internet discussions are concerned with the spate of penalties this weekend. Our take is that many were gun jumpers which is only natural in such competitive racing. Bottom line is you must push the envelope in this crowd or get left far behind and that also causes lane violations. Finally J and Fae would like to recognize three teams who made it to every race we attended in 2011. If you teed it up this year Dave Kidd (CE-67) Black Falcon, Marco Poirier (CS-33) Zibra and Bobby King (S-242) Crush were there. Their motto, if there is a race we are rolling in that direction. Way to go guys. With that we say so long gang, see ya in 2012. J and Fae