Syracuse, New York

Syracuse Hydrofest

June 20-21, 2009

J and Fae Report

APBA and CBF came together this weekend in Syracuse. This fine venue, noted for Unlimited racing, hosted an excellent limited regatta. The GP class and its outstanding partners (S-E-T boats) draw a ridiculous field. (ask Cambridge, Md.) Throw in many classy American rigs and you get the picture, a great field. This site provides a wide course, good water and a nice pit area. There is unlimited fan space with awesome viewing. The Tonawanda crowd showed off their supreme organization skills as well. All in all it was a very strong race.

Here is the J and Fae boat totals: (T-7) (Y-9) (S-21) (JSS-7) (NM-3) (E-15) (GP-9) Total-71

T boats are a growing class in the CBF. There are about 6-8 hulls following the circuit. This season Steve Armstrong (CT-11) Honey Child and Jonathan Abbott (CT-1) and (CT-10) Flyin Eagles appear to be the fastest. However, this event saw the "Red Menace" roll in from the East Coast. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What and John Shaw (T-125) Shameless My Mistake are stomping fields everywhere in 2009. Kevin Smith (T-26) Dream Weaver ran fast in the qualifier to add to the competition. Could anyone stop Brandon (T-1)?!  He roared home followed by John (T-125) and Jonathan (CT-10). This class is "big league" these days.

NM boats are scary fast. Unfortunately, many of them continue to collect dust in garages in the East. Therefore, we only had three hulls in Syracuse. Ken Bauer's (NM-928) Illusion probably would have been here if not for the Walled Lake incident. At any rate, Elizabeth Wolfe (NM-93) Desperado ran away in the immaculate Wolfe monster. Keith McNight (NM-32) All Jacked Up ran a strong second. Johnny Krebs (NM-233) ran fast but broke. Elizabeth (NM-93) will be tough to beat in NM and UL this summer.

 JSS boats presented a nice seven boat field. There are many fast boats in this East Coast class. Having said that, if Dave Greenlaw's (JS-99) VeriCheri shows up, look out! This team must have a thousand trophies sitting around somewhere. Well, give em anotherin as Tom Pakradooni bounced home first. Trevor Kirsh (JS-100) Summer Storm and William Darby (JS-13) Geico Darby's Rapture completed the podium.

Y boats are adding speedy boats every time you turn around. The latest beast is the Joe Cheezum/Liddycoat (Y-97). Lookout for this red bomb soon as it ran well right out of the box. This team has a world of hydro knowledge to call on. Of course, this class is already brimming with at least 8-10 bombs coast to coast. Three of those were in town as Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie, Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Roostertails Racing and Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant loomed over a stellar field. Joe (Y-44) won the qualifier sending goose bumps down pit row. Could Jim Sechler's (Y-1) be beaten? Anticipation was thick for the final but Joe came late for the start. Sean (Y-52) and Dan (Y-1) put on a great show with Dan slowly pulling away. That new beast (Y-97) took third in an impressive debut. We think Scott Liddycoat drove for the Cheezum/Liddycoat team. Sadly, all was not well. Richard Shaw (Y-22) Y Knot hit a surprise roller in the qualifier warm up on Saturday causing severe damage to his new hull and a trip to the hospital. Richard is ok but it is a tough break for a family that loves racing. Families like the Shaw’s keep our sport going so we wish them well in rebuilding.

E boats presented their normal field of colorful paint jobs and sick speeds. The wide track allowed some of the most beautiful starts in recent memory. Six to eight boats across were routine. Jeff Richards (CE-8) added intrigue to an already strong field. The elimination heats were hot leaving several fast hulls resting for the final. Jeff (CE-8) blasted away to an apparent victory but he, along with Norm Ensbury (CE-99) Ocr Racing and Richard Heinault (CE-2) Miss Bearnois jumped the gun. Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Primeau Performance ingested much h2o in turn one but recovered to win a wild and wacky race. Francois Campeau (CE-5) Canadien Tire took second in his "flighty" speedster. Rookie Kevin Joslyn (E-500) Centsless 14 took third. Keith is doing a good job subbing for Joe Less, one of the top five litre drivers, who is concentrating on his job this summer. A shout out again goes out to Mike Bruns (E-6) Quantum Leap for an excellent fourth place in such a great field.

S boats showed a field that just might match Valleyfield this year. Now, that is a mouthful, but 21 boats are IMPRESSIVE! The elimination heats had 8-10 boats across at the starting line. What a crowd! It was imperative to nail the start which caused some very strong boats to jump the gun. You could have had two good finals at this race. The final was typical "stocker" action. A big pileup that looked like Los Angeles at rush hour in turn one with the most ruthless, fearless driver taking over. That wild man was Bobby Kennedy in Sam Horner's (S-88) Playin Again who ripped away followed by Glen or Rob Stephenson (CS-10) Wet Spot and Mike Monahan in Tom Villhauer (S-11) Unfinished Business. Ol Mike can hop in and go fast. The S boats were stupendous.

GP boats had a nice nine boat field in the pits. Unfortunately, that became seven due to the heat 1b crash. This has been beaten to death on the web sites but here is J and Fae's perspective. We were way down beyond turn one looking straight at the incident head on. It was a dreary, rainy, gray day. Visibility was an issue as it was the kind of day that you use your defogger in your car. Pierre Maheu (GP-46) Diesel was locked in a great duel with Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder. Off turn two at the finish Tom (GP-88) won and Pierre went dead in the water. Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone was a half lap behind as he steamed toward the finish line. Looking through my camera I could barely see Pierre's dark gray boat in the mist. Jimmy, an excellent driver, could not see him and thus the collision. This type of accident makes you very nervous, hoping and praying that the drivers will be ok. Finding out that Jimmy and Pierre will be fine after some healing time was wonderful news. Now, back to the action. Sunday afternoon saw seven behemoths roar away from the dock in perfect racing conditions. The start was awesome with several boats right on time. A three way tie with Tom Pakradooni (GP-88), Patrick Haworth (GP-777) Crush and Hootie Wolfe (GP-93) Renegade ended lap one. Patrick faded to third as Tom and Hootie slugged it out all the way to the last turn. Hootie swung wide holding the rpm's and nipped Tom at the line. The crowd stood in euphoria as they knew this was a classic. What a boat race!

Suffice to say Syracuse turned out to be a great event. Superb racing in many classes, a fine Sunday race day, and excellent Tonawanda race gang organization created a fun time for all. The field was spectacular. This race is a keeper!    See ya in the pits.   J and Fae