July 26-27, 2008
J and Fae Report
This year's Cambridge Classic exploded into a gigantic backyard regatta. Boats appeared from everywhere on Saturday morning until the pits swelled up like a well fed tick! Apparently, many teams got tired of sitting home and said "let's go racing". Here are a few theories as to why this race turned spectacular. First and foremost, this is a traditional event appearing on the schedule for year ninety eight. That tradition is upheld by the Hils Point Gang. Their Wa Wa Too hats, picture boards and money raising infuse added life into this event annually. They help provide a welcome atmosphere for all the teams. Tommy Thompson and the Race Committee, including an army of volunteers, put on the usual organized race and two racer meals (massive crabs babee). The water is usually good here which is a positive. Another key factor is the CBF sanction and the GP boats. Many top notch 2.5's, 5 litres and Can Ams race the GP circuit and they were able to count this race in their points race. This added about fourteen quality boats. Finally, there were no tight pre-registrations rules that always reduce our fields. All of these factors added up to a truly fantastic regatta.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-8) (Y-7) (S-15) (A-5) (E-14) (NM-4) (GNH-1) (JSS-9) (PS/SS/CAN AM-10) (K-4) (GP-9) Total-86.
T boats have become the safe haven for Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What. If you want to win it will take a trip past the (T-1) to do it. Good luck passing Brandon in this exquisitely prepared boat. Jimmy McMullen driving Doug Hagitha's (T-5) Trophy Hunter made a good run but had to follow Brandon to two seconds. James Haupt in James Dixon's (T-24) and Richard Shaw (T-11) My Mistake got the thirds. Jason Browning (T-999) Bad To The Bone is flying but breaking. John Shaw had Mike Weber's (T-10) Flirtin With Disaster riding fast and loose on Saturday until it got too loose in a blowover in turn one. John is ok and it is back to the repair shop again. The T boats were cool.
Y boats had a nice field but they had extremely bad luck. After getting a qualifier in on Saturday, the low tide took away their final. On Sunday they were on the end of the program until a storm cancelled the end of the race. Therefore, the one heat placed Keith McMullen (Y-80) Outlaw as the champion followed by Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accellerant and Bert Henderson (Y-54) Pink Panther. Mother Nature definitely picked on the "buzz bombs" this weekend.
GNH boats need a new three letter moniker on the East Coast. How about R.I.P.? One boat again, nuf said.
NM boats had one boat finish both heats. Mark Johnson (NM-66) Miss Red Bank is the champion as the others broke. There are several NM'S out there collecting dust. We sure wish someone would buy them.
A boats had two hulls flying this weekend. Mike Monahan in Debbie Welte's (A-23) Jack's Geezerboat ran very well taking a first on Saturday. Chris Oliver's (A-4) Every Penny (the experienced hull) was fast and light, taking a first and a second. Mike (A-23) took a wild ride during a Sunday warm-up lap doing a complete blowover and landing right side up. The boat is bruised and Mike is ok. Expect this boat to be a "player" at Celina.
K boats made a rare East Coast appearance. The four boat field made lots of noise and speed as usual. The "King of the flatbottoms" Duff Daily was the class of the field in (K-23) Champagne Taste. He won both heats. Dale Hernandez (K-36) The Patriot got a second with Woody Dooley (K-555) Showboat taking a third.
PS/SS/CAN AMS had a deep, strong field. Speed was everywhere with many classy hulls in town. Unfortunately, they lost their Sunday heats like the Y boats. Saturday's final found that ridiculous Duff Daily out front again in John Brinton's (PS-997) Light Speed. Paul Fitzgerald (PS-529) Wendt Racing and Tom Richmond (PS-9) Lickety Split completed the podium. No Cambridge story would be complete without a mention of hometown hero Gee McClain who ran fourth in his (PS-24) April. Ten boats in this field seem to suggest that more races should invite these guys to attend.
JSS boats are always strong in this area and this was no exception. Now, who was going to step up to stop Tommy Thompson in Dave Greenlaw's (JS-99) Veri Cheri? Answer, noone, as Tommy bobbed and weaved to the checkers both times. William Darby (JS-13) Geico Darby's Rapture was churning but had to settle for two seconds. Jimmy Stewart (JS-721) G'on Skiffin Crazy and William Buterla (JS-712) Flyin High took the thirds. The Skippers are like Cambridge itself, a tradition and a fine one.
S boats were aided by the CBF sanction as it deepened an already good field. The starts were delirium as a bevy of speedsters funneled into turn one. Bobby Kennedy in Sam Horner's (S-88) Playin Again and Mark Johnson in Greg Barker's (S-9) Rewinder were at it again just like Waterford, Michigan. They put on a classic on Saturday with Mark (S-9) taking a hard earned win and Bobby (S-88) taking second. Bobby (S-88) came back on Sunday to hold off Derek Anderson (CS-77) Hard Left Racing. Derek is leading the CBF high points. Tom Diabo (CS-20) Sonic Wave and Mark Theoret (CS-444) Miss Virgo took the thirds. Fast Americans and fast Canadians made a great collision of speed.
E boats had a flat loaded field, a royal flush if you will. Coming in there were some strong favorites based on this summerís racing. It was like a Valleyfield South with Patrick Haworth (CE-57) Dragon Anti-Intrusion, Eric Labelle (CE-1) Do It, Norm Ensbury (CE-99) OCR Racing, Sylvain Campeau (CE-20) Dynomytes and Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Primeau Performance. That group collided with Tommy Thompson (E-1) Batt Boat, Joe Less (E-500) Centsless 14 and Jim Martin (E-43) Keen's Machine. Add six more hungry kamikazes and this had to get ugly in a hurry. Patrick (CE-57) appeared to be the fastest boat but he repeated his penalty filled weekend just like at Valleyfield. "To the Principal's Office Patrick". The racing was a little too wild for the referees resulting in a mass of penalties flying around both days. Also flying was Joe "evil kneivil" Less (E-500) in a major flip in turn two stopping Saturday's final. Joe is ok and the boat is fixable. As the boats caught the red flag on this incident Sylvain (CE-20) and Marc (CE-104) flat spun their boats to avoid stopped boats but everyone was alright. Saturday's final was still a war with Jim (E-43), Norm (CE-99) and Sylvain (CE-20) ending up on the podium. Side by side battles at ridiculous speed was the norm. Sunday's penalty fest was won by Marc (CE-104) with Tommy (E-1) and Jim (E-43) following him home. Seven American boats plus seven Canadian boats equaled superb racing!
Ah, the GP'S. Nine big bombers rolled into town to do battle. This class is at the beginning of a great renaissance. New hulls are appearing annually due to the Valleyfield building program. They are a beautiful sight to see. The engine rules are strict to promote close racing like the IRL. Look for more boats next year as the program continues. However, at the present several teams are still working out the "bugs" causing some attrition in the eliminations. Fans got a little upset on Saturday as only a few boats finished. Well, there were no hard feelings after the finals. It was a scintillating show! At the start Bert Henderson (GP-247) Deepwater Special took charge followed closely by Marty Wolfe (GP-93) Johnson/Wolfe Desperado and Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder. Series points leader, Pierre Maheu (GP-1001) Miss Dynomytes ate water and trailed as did Jeff Richards in the Shane's (GP-7) Long Gone. Tom (GP-88) broke at the upper turn and Jeff (GP-7) faded back. This left Bert (GP-247) in lane one, Marty (GP-93) in lane three and Pierre streaking down inside of lane one on the buoys. The crowd was in a frenzy as they reached the last turn. The three boats hurdled to the line with Jeff (GP-247), Pierre (GP-1001) and Marty (GP-93) finishing in that order a millisecond apart. This was reminiscent of a mid 90's Hamilton, Ontario finish where Tom Baker edged Jean Theoret by a few inches. My friends, this was an exciting final.
Wow, this Regatta had it all! Speed, close competition and absolute fun. The yaller hat dudes of the Hils Point Gang were smiling ear to ear just like the late Curtis Warfield would have been. It is always a shame to leave Cambridge but we will remember this one for a long time. There was a chop on the old Choptank this weekend! See ya in the pits. J and Fae