Tonawanda, New York
North American Championship
August 18-19, 2012
J and Fae Report
Inboard Hydros descended on Tonawanda, New York this weekend for the North American Championship. This area has fantastic tradition when it comes to hydros including the "Grand Island Navy" and many incredible regattas. That's why organizers stayed the course when Border Series negotiations broke down during the off season. This turned out to be a great decision as a gigantic crowd enjoyed a nice weekend of racing. We believe the attendance was second only to Valleyfield this season as a low family like admission price combined with memories from the past to bring in throngs of people who had a fun time. The field was not huge but lots of quality boats put on a good show. Having said that, a return of the Border Series would still be cool and we haven't noticed a whole lot of ACHA action lately (no races in August). At any rate, a dedicated bunch of hydro fanatics put on a good show.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-4) (Y-5) (S-10) (A-1) (NM-3) (E-7) (GNH-6) (GP-2) (SE-4) (PS-5) (Vintage-4) total-51
Y boats had a small, high quality field. Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie 2, fresh off last week's National title, was ready to give the "navy" a victory. Mike Monahan was up in Sean Bowsher's (Y-52) Roostertails Racing entry. (Sean had to keep the peace this weekend) Mike (Y-52) drove the heck out of Sean's bomb painting buoys all the way. He gave Dan (Y-1) a scare by winning a qualifier. Jeff Bernard (Y-5) FTX Motorsports.com roared up the backstretch in the final in lane one as Dan (Y-1) and Mike (Y-52) made it three wide. Jeff (Y-5) took h20 in turn two thinking, is that Niagara Falls? From there Dan out RPM’d Mike off the corner all the way to the checkers. Jeff (Y-5) held off fast closing Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant and Becky Wilson (Y-131) Circus Circus for third.
Here is a question, is Joe Sovie in every hydro picture taken this year? Here is another one, is Becky Wilson's (Y-131) incredibly fast for how narrow the air trap is? Anyway the Y's were screaming as usual.
SE boats are an attempt to keep flat bottoms alive and a few teams are doing just that. They are usually reliable as they start and finish almost every time. Pete Hackett (SE-66) Heckyl and Jeckyl made it two hometown wins as he bested Charlie Hamill (SE-81) Hot Canary for the title.
T boats could not get all four boats to start so Dave Shaw (T-1) Trophy Hunter took an unofficial victory. Jim Benson (T-516) Son of a bad boy took second for his best 2012 result followed by Andre Bergeron (T-62) Asterix in his best 2012 effort.
NM/A boats saw Tony Black (NM-100) Sum Toy flying in Tom Newman's yaller boat. Tom had a very fast A boat a while back and he is slowly dialing in the former Runaway. Tony (NM-100) won the race in the corners as he held off a hard charging Keith McKnight (NM-32) All Jacked Up. Dan Kanfoush stepped in for rookie Don Burshnick in the (NM-27) God n Country and took third. Hmmmm Dan in a NM? Food for thought. Scott Thompson (A-8) Insanity helped to complete the field running fourth.
E boats got a major boost when Steve Weber's (E-1) Peters and May - My Way remained in the East after a National title run. Jeff Bernard piloted the bright colored beauty to the North American title holding off a good field. Thom English (E-75) Investigator and Joe Less (E-500) Centsless 14 completed the podium. Todd Liddycoat (E-97) Team Extreme was flying as well. The whole field was fast and put on a nice show. One final footnote on the (E-1). We sat in turn two so we could notice that Jeff drove a straight line down lane one using no arch. At the buoy he cranked the wheel and squank, it turned like a tunnel boat. Kind of reminds you of the new (GP-777) Steeler. Impressive.
Vintage boats carried the anthem flags and presented a nice static display during the event. We saw (JS-77) Zippy Pickle, (JS-9) Papa's Bundle, (JS-78) Flyin Hi and (N-100) Speculator.
GP boats made a loud exhibition run with Mario Miraldo (GP-59) Baby Doll and John Grigg (GP-52) Wannabe putting a nice show.
GNH boats have six big bad bombers ready to rumble. Everybody was fast and loud so let's name the field. John Grigg/Kevin Lacy (GNH-52) Wannabe. Jay Gignac (GNH-55) Gee Whiz (former Thom Heins hull), Joe Kreitzer (GNH-515) One Way, Dave Archiable (GNH-777) Cajun Queen, Cal Phipps (GNH-41) Dalton Industries and Jim Martin (GNH-43) Keen's Deel Me In. Whew, that's quite a field! Super Cal (GNH-41) won the qualifier but broke something in the process cancelling the rerun of the Waterford duel versus Jim Martin (GNH-43). The final saw Jim (GNH-43) hold off Joe (old man river) (GNH-515) in a great battle with Dave (silver tongued announcer) (GNH-777) roaring home third. John (GNH-52) was flying as well to take fourth.
S boats presented an awesome field. Favorites were Rob Stevenson (CS-10) Wet Spot, Mike Monahan (S-9) Rewinder, Kent Henderson (CS-519) Bank On It, Jeff Bernard (S-12) Liquid Lizard/Miss Dream, Yan Lecompte (CS-28) Mario Hart, Derek Anderson (CS-77) Left Turn Racing and Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday Money. Other hotties included Christina Molinari (S-20) Desperate Housewife, Alan Bush (S-711) One More Time and Chris Thompson (S-41) Second Choice. That's right, we were loaded babeee! Now, could anyone stop Mike (S-9) on owner Greg Barker's home course? It did not look like it as Mike (S-9) took the start and ran away only to take a bearing out penalty. Right behind Mike (S-9) the action was perhaps the hottest of 2012. We had a virtual three way tie for over a lap. The sun was so bright in our eyes that you could not tell who was who. One thing was for sure, it was wild. Come the finish line and it was Yan (CS-28) taking a micro second win over Kent (CS-519) and Rob (CS-10). What a boat race!
PS boats had five hard chargers in the pits. Those big motors roared and some good racing action ensued. Dale Hernandez (PS-4) Widow Maker ripped it for first ahead of Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder and Derek Anderson (PS-103) Illusion. These boats have massive power and a pretty whine which makes them a fan favorite although they are not always invited to races. That seems silly. Dale Hernandez has to be a hall of famer some day as he can flat out drive the flat bottoms.
Well that's about it from Tonawanda. The North American Championship was a success and a large crowd went home happy. "Thunder On The Niagara" was truly thunderous. Thanks to the dogged determination of today's "Grand Island Navy" led by Race Director Pete Hackett for hanging in there and putting on an excellent regatta. Special thanks as well to scorer Jennifer Grigg for sending us results so this story could be correct. That's all folks. See ya in Beauharnois. J and Fae