July 6-8, 2007
J and Fae Report
Now, that's what I'm talkin about! Hydroplane action that raised the hair on your neck and caused increased heart rates. That was Valleyfield 2007. This hot bed of hydros sprang to life with racing like we have not seen in years. Grand Prix boats are seeing a renaissance led by the Valleyfield committee's building program. The noise and mayhem was only a preview as this class expects to grow quickly. All the boat groups put on a great show as competition was fierce. Collisions, penalties and ultra speed were a constant. It was truly fun. The format called for a backyard regatta on Friday and the annual major race on the weekend.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-11) (Y-8) (S-16) (E-18) (JSS-7) (PS/CAN AM-6) (GNH-4) (UL-11) (GP/G-8) (Vintage-10) Total-99
T boats presented two major favorites in Kelly Shane (T-1) Tangled Up In Blue and Brandon Kennedy (T-25) Shameless Say What. These two battled tooth and nail like they always do throughout the Summer. Brandon took Friday's title and Kelly captured Sunday's. The two racers used very converse strategies. Brandon rode down the bank while Kelly took the pin. They dominated the field both ways hogging both seconds as well. Stu Shane (T-141) Liquid Ship and Mike Fralick (CT-4) Headhunter took the thirds. This class put on a fine show.
JSS boats ran three events with an extra promotional race mixed in on Sunday. These hulls got a workout but they are very resilient, running in any conditions from Saturday's semi rough water to Sunday's bath tub like water. It is a hoot to see people's reaction the first time the skippers take a turn. That is quite a site. This weekend this class was very unpredictable with positions changing every heat. Bill Pierce (JS-25) dominated the promo races. Sam Strickland (JS-4) Red, White and Brew took first on both Friday and Sunday. Tom Pakradooni (JS-99) Very Cheri Too and Bill Pierce (JS-25) Code Red took seconds. Jimmy Stewart (JS-721) G'on Skiffin Crazy and Dave Greenlaw (JS-991) Stolen got the thirds. The skippers put on a good show.
GNH boats stepped up and ran with the Unlimited Lights until Sunday's final. Four combatants took to the course. The class of the field was Jimmy Deel's (GNH-8) Deel Me In running like it has for so many great years. The Deel Me In tore up the track for an easy win. The announcer said Jimmy drove his own boat instead of Super Cal Phipps. How about that race fans? That nice, friendly gentleman wins again. Thom Heins (GNH-115) ran second in his beautiful MAS Epoxy. Steve Kuhr (GNH-317) Irishman and Patrick Sankuer (GNH-61) Sankuer Racing completed the finish. Everybody ran well.
PS/CAN AM boats had some extremely close racing. Dale Hernandez Jr. (PS-690) The Patriot's Revival, Tom Richmond (PS-9) Raven, Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder and Hugh Monahan (PS-163) Yellow Rush all looked quick. On Friday Dominic (PS-122), Tom (PS-9) and Dale (PS-690) took honors. Sunday's final saw Tom and Dale battling until Tom expired and Dale roared home. Dale used to have a bumper sticker about ditch something and let's go racing. Well, he went racing this weekend! Hugh (PS-163) took second on Sunday. Nice job flatbottoms!
Y boats presented one of their strongest fields of the year. Eight hulls rolled into town thanks to the Sovie family who brought two. That reminds us of what the Shane family did to revive the T class. Pre-race favorites included Keith McMullen (Y-80) Outlaw, Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Roostertails Racing, Jim Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant, Jim Wilson (Y-20) Windshear and Tim Struzek (Y-103) Vagabond. Friday's final run on Saturday saw Sean nail the start and use superior acceleration off the corners to win his first title. Jim (Y-20) ran strong in second with Richard Shaw (Y-22) Instant Poverty 2 flying home in third. Now, we were psyched for the great final on Sunday and it did not disappoint. Keith (Y-80) and Sean (Y-52) ran side by side at scary speeds all the way with Keith eking out a win by a few feet. Jim (Y-44) was only another second back in a wild one. J and Fae's Canadian backstretch bleacher buddies really enjoyed that one.
S boats had a deep, fast field as usual. Top dawgs were Mark Johnson (S-9) Honey Bun, Mike Monahan (CS-60) Orange Rush, Eric Langivin (CS-12) Long Shot, Derek Anderson (CS-77) Hard Left Racing, Tom Villhauer (S-11) Unfinished Business, Bobby Kennedy (S-25) Shameless, Sam Horner (S-88)Playin Again and Tim Struzek (S-702) Winning Ticket. Mark (S-9) and Mike (CS-60) looked the fastest coming in. Mark proved it by taking the final on Friday by ten seconds over Eric (CS-12). Tim (S-702) took third. Sunday's final was as usual, a mess. Everybody adhered to the two minute buoy (start/finish line). Then all heck broke loose with frogs leaping everywhere up to the one minute buoy. The feeding frenzy continued to the start with gun jumpers and a wild first corner. In the end the person holding the checkered flag decided to drop it on Eric (CS-12) making his dream come true with a win at Valleyfield! He was a little excited.Mark (S-9) and Derek (CS-77) completed the podium. This heat was a restart as Tim (S-702) suffered a major blowover on the backstretch on lap four. Tim is ok and the safety crew did a superb job getting him out safely. The stockers were wild.
E boats had a dynamite field with the cream of the crop in North America ready to do battle. Any one of about ten boats could have won this one. The action was astounding in qualifiers and finals. The most consistent hull is Eric Labelle's (CE-1) Do It. This has been a cracker for years and is the former (CE-007) Auto Pro of Claude Bergeron. Eric is always fast, winning on Friday and putting on a great charge at Sunday's champion, Patrick Haworth (CE-57) Location Toucan. Patrick nailed the start, roared through the first corner and was gone. Ken Brodie (E-500) Centsless 14 was flying along pestering all the Bergeron vessels. He took second Friday and third Sunday. Daniel Naegele (E-19) Slum Goddess is always quick and he showed it with a third Sunday. The entire field was outstanding. It is hard to score these guys as they finish in a furious fashion. It's always, Who was third? Who was fifth? What a class!
UL boats rolled eleven big blocks into town. Add the GP'S/G'S and the GNH'S and you had 23 big blocks filling the pits. Lots of noise and speed had to occur and it certainly did. The lights are basically a west coast class so these guys logged some major mileage to get to this race. They put on one whale of a show and one can only hope that the GP'S and lights remain a big part of this regatta for years to come. Five boats showed super speed for three days. They were Patrick Haworth (UL-72) Miss Boat Electric, Jerry Hopp (UL-1) Lucky Ground, Paul Becker (UL-14) Critical Logic, Dustin Echols (UL-17)Schuck's Auto Supply and Vince Xaudaro (UL-929) Xaudaro Racing. The final saw Vince (UL-929) left at the dock but Michael Flaherty (UL-8) Eastside Harley Davidson picked up the slack as the herd stampeded to the start. Now, it is well documented how the (UL-72) turns and what a fine driver Patrick Haworth is. That combo was absolutely sick hitting the start, blasting through turn one and it was bye bye. Jerry (UL-1) chased gamely with Michael (UL-8) taking third in a spectacular final.
Vintage boats at Valleyfield are mainly big, bad Lauterbachs. Director Ben Lemay knows what the people love to see. Baddest of all was (GP-242) Dynasty, arguably the fastest straightaway boat in town. Howie Benns (GP-2001) Dynomites was much anticipated and ran well Friday but broke on the weekend. Tom Bertolini (GP-247) is very impressive as are all these beautiful throwbacks.
Um, did we forget anyone? Oh yeah, those quiet, slow, boring GP'S/G'S. NOT!!! Oh baby, the noise and speed shook the town. People in St. Timothee woke from afternoon naps. You could not hear yourself think. Eight mega-blasters took the course for a major donnybrook in the final. Valleyfield's fleet included Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone, Bert Henderson (GP-247) Henderson Racing and Claude Bergeron (GP-444) GP Valleyfield. David Warren (GP-329) Blockhead Marine, Jerry Hopp (GP-15) LuckyGround, Cal Phipps (GP-10) High Pressure, Pierre Maheu (GP-46) Bar L'evolution, and Ken Brodie (GP555) Brodie Racing completed the fleet. As the race developed there were battles everywhere but the one out front featured Claude Bergeron (GP-444) and Bert (GP-247). For two plus laps they slugged it out until Bert's front wing broke and got wedged over the cockpit. He slowed a little for safety and Claude roared away. David (GP-329) plowed home third. Afterward everyone stood dumbfounded until Claude came by on cool down and the crowd went nuts. That was fun.
Well, that's about it fans. Once again Valleyfield pulled off a superb event. This place exudes professionalism. Here are a few examples. The fans know what is going on and they are extremely passionate. The champions are invited to the dock for an interview in front of the main grandstand. There are seven cranes, a permanent judge's tower, turn judge perches, lots of rescue vessels and tow crafts. And of course that pit voice, "Gentleman, the drivers meeting will be at 8:30 AM., thank you". All in all this is a boat race! See you guys at Waterford, Michigan J and Fae