July 4-6, 2008
J and Fae Report
Now, that's what I'm talkin about! Take a traditional regatta, add a giant crowd, plus an overflowing pit area, and that is the essence of Valleyfield. To say this town embraces hydroplanes is the all time understatement. Anyone who is advising you to take in this race is not steering you wrong since it is tres excellente! Every aspect screams out "professional", from the judge's tower to the on course boats and officials, to the rescue teams, it is all top notch. Speaking of Rescue teams, let's give a shout out to all the dedicated people in Canada and the USA who do a wonderful job caring for our drivers. Power boat racing could not exist without you gals and guys. THANK YOU! Competition was fierce this weekend with many fine vessels destined to miss their finals due to the depth of the field. For that reason we probably set an all time record for penalties in a weekend. The action was absolutely crazy so let's get to talkin about it.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-13) (Y-9) (S-19) (E-17) (NM/GNH-5) (PS-9) (JSS-7) (GP-11) (Vintage-7) Total-97.
NM/GNH boats were an example of quality over quantity this weekend. GNH evidently stood for guys not here as Eli Whitney (GNH-515) One Way was the only boat. Kevin McKnight (NM-32) All Jacked Up jumped in to take on Mike Webster (NM-2) Red Hot, Darryl Monette/Tony Black (NM-928) Illusion and Hootie Wolfe (NM-93) Desperado. It was a small but lightning fast field. Darryl/Tony (NM-928), Hootie (NM-93) and Mike (NM-2) put on some excellent qualifiers setting the stage for a cool final. Hootie (NM-93) blasted away to take the title followed by Mike (NM-2) and Darryl (NM-928). Oops, gun jumpers jumbled it to Darryl (NM-928), Kevin (NM-32) and Hootie (NM-93). Oh well, it was fast anyway.
Vintage boats put on a nice show as usual for organizer Ben Lemay. Here's a few we enjoyed: (N-75) The Specialist, (J-444) Edelweis, (GP-242) Dynasty, (GP-222) Canadiana, (GP-444) Miss Valleyfield, (H-62) Tool Crib and (J-35) See Ya Later.
JSS boats had a very unlucky weekend. A bad sign occurred on Friday as Bill Pierce (JS-25) Code Red hit a wave incurring extensive damage and causing the hull to sink very quickly. Bill and his rider were ok but the (JSS-25) is very bruised. We hate this because Bill is a favorite at every race. It is very disturbing to see a boat sink so fast. Sunday's final saw a mad dash to the first corner and an abrupt halt to the race. James Buterla (JSS-712) Flyin High appeared to bounce off line into the path of Jimmy Stewart (JS-721) Go'n Skiffin Crazy. The #721 skied over the prone boat hurtling into the air before crashing down backwards in a spectacular incident. Everyone seemed ok except James' rider Kelly Shane. She was trapped under the roll bar with a back injury. Thankfully, Kelly will be fine after her broken vertebrae heals. We will sure miss her in her T boat for a while so get well soon Kelly! The final was re-started with three boats left. William Darby (JS-13) Geico Darby's Rapture ran a strong race to the checkers followed by Troy Holmberg (NM-451) Miss Madison and TJ Sohn (JS-66) Yellow Jacket. It was great to see TJ back in action. The Skippers were a little too exciting this time.
PS boats are a fan's favorite in Valleyfield. The whine tells you that they carry a lot of power for such a small hull. That is why they seem to over torque sometimes. This was a very even field this year with several potential winners. The final was a cracker. Amid all the chaos Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder took the title followed by Eric Hahn (PS-100) Radical Ride and Marc Lecompte (PS-103) Illusion. The Flatbottoms were screaming.
T boats showed a deep, quick field. It is amazing to see the improvements in this class in recent years. This class allows young drivers (age 14) but you better be prepared to go fast or move to the outside because the stampede is coming! The qualifiers established five solid favorites for the final. They were Steve Armstrong (CT-11) Honey Chile, Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What, Kelly Shane (T-17) Tangled Up In Blue, Jason Browning (T-999) Bad To The Bone and Jonathan Abbott (CT-10) Flyin Eagle. Jason (T-999) broke and Brandon picked up a penalty in this wild final. Kelly (T-17) hit the start with Steve (CT-11) and Jonathan (CT-10) following her all the way to the checkers. This class is catching on in Canada which helped create a superb field.
Y boats are crazy. Amazing speed to size ratios lead to unbelievable mayhem on the course. There are boats all over the place going at great speed. However, some are a lap down and others are over-taking them constantly. It can be confusing. However, if you need to tune in, find yellow. That will be Dan Kanfoush (Y-1) Fast Eddie 2 cruising to another title with the mad scientist, Jim Sechler screaming into his ear from the beach. Three boats pushed Dan hard. Jim Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant, Keith Mc Mullen (Y-80) Outlaw and Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Casual Threat ran fast but that yaller boat is incredible. The buzz bombs were flying again in Valleyfield.
S boats took to the course Friday with one dire fact looming. Only eight boats out of nineteen could run in the final. Therefore, elimination heats would be critical. It was going to be a mega battle each heat. The result was some great action and many frazzled nerves. The final eight was a virtual murderer's row of speed so we will list them all. They were: (Alan Bush (S-711) One More Time, Genevieve/Tommy Bergeron (CS-007) G and T Racing, Tom Diabo (CS-20) Sonic Wave, Bobby Kennedy (S-88) Playin Again, Derek Anderson (CS-77) Hard Left 2, Mark Theoret/Mike Monahan (CS-444) Miss Virgo, Doug Martin (S-33) Keen's Sunday Money and Eric Langevin (CS-12) Longshot. Throughout the heats everybody was fast but Bobby Kennedy (S-88) was a little faster. He looked like the legendary Willard Wilson at times. Come the final and the dash to turn one was maniacal. Bobby (S-88) bursted out and took command showing his true crazy hot foot. Mike/Marc (CS-444) and Doug (S-33) chased him home. Alas, things got dicey at inspection as the (S-88) and (CS-444) flunked. Winston was barking his approval as his owner, Doug Martin was declared the Champion. Eric (CS-12) and Alan (S-711) got on the podium as well. The S boats put on a great show.
E boats were in the same situation as a virtual who's who of Hydros sat on the sidelines for the finals. Hey CBF, eight is not enough in the smaller classes. Now, as we got ready for the finals two boats that dominated all weekend were primed to do battle. Eric Labelle (CE-1) Do It and Joe Less (E-500) Centsless warmed up with all eyes on them. Sure enough in the race Joe (E-500) painted the buoys while Eric roared down about lane three in a battle royal. Eric won in a classic duel. Sylvain Campeau (CS-20) Miss Dynomites took third in his beautiful hull. This field was great and we do not see how they can fly these hulls so loose but that is how you win in five litres. It was a fun show.
GP boats are a project being led by the Valleyfield Race Committee. Starting last year they are working with noted boat builders Claude Bergeron and Bert Henderson to build hulls and place them with strong teams to revive the class. Suffice to say it is working. Their engine rules are strict to produce parity like IRL racing. Since five boats were within a second in time trials this seems to be working as well. Therefore, we enjoyed eleven beasts racing close and fast and a cacophony of sound. The crowd is standing in utter disbelief just like the old days. Throughout this season two boats have been a tick faster than everyone. Jeff Richards (GP-247) Deepwater Special and Pierre Maheu (GP-1001) Miss Dynomites. This weekend Hootie Wolfe (GP-93) Johnson/Wolfe Special, Ken Brodie (GP-50) Brodie Motorsports, Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder and Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone also showed great speed. The veteran Mario Miraldo (GP-59) ran consistently picking up points and showing the value of finishing reaching the final. The final saw Bert Henderson (GP-247) and Pierre (GP-1001) take off in a high speed duel. The noise and excitement was everywhere but these two put on a true show! Bert held the inside with Pierre ripping along just off his hip. In the last corner it appeared Pierre took the lead just as Bert stalled. Pierre roared home as the 2008 Champion. Hootie (GP-93) and Mario (GP-59) followed Pierre before trading places on a penalty. The crowd rose to salute the (GP-1001) on the cool down. It was awesome.
Ah, Valleyfield! This race site never fails to provide a great event. Gas prices? We don't care about no stinking gas prices! Forget about that for this one week next year. Skip something minor like feeding the family or paying the rent. Remember, it only comes once a year. Having said that, let's remember that there are other fantastic traditional events coming up like the 100th Gold Cup in Detroit and many others. Get out there and see some racing. You won't regret it. Hydroplane racing rocks! See ya in the pits. J and Fae