Waterford, Michigan

Eastern Divisionals

July 17-19, 2009

J and Fae Report

Wow! This year's Eastern Divisionals were absolutely outstanding. This Regatta has got it together. Quake On The Lake Chairman Dale Hampshire, Maryanne Wilson, the Oakland County Community Club, the Marine Prop Riders and a host of volunteers combined to put together a real gem. Referee Don Mellilo and Race Director Mark Weber ran a tight show prevailing over a difficult weather system. Mark always says, “if it rains we will run." He means it. A new score up rule, having all boats pass the start/finish line after 1:15 on the clock is a positive step. Any shenanigans are right in front of the judge's stand and the ensuing lap is extra action for the fans. This race was also blessed with three cool announcers. Jeff Ayler is a true "professional” and he is always entertaining. Billy Noonan added a lot of colorful anecdotes about the people behind the boats. Dave Archiable was funny, but more importantly, he has a strong background from a lifetime of racing. His analysis makes a lot of sense. This event combines with the Rainbow Connection to help a child's dream come true. Princess Allyssa will get to Disneyworld thanks to race proceeds. That is so wonderful. Finally, the perfect storm of Eastern Divisionals, Grand Prix, CBF, and Region Six entrants’ combined for a freakishly good field.

Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-5) (Y-9) (S-16) (A-8) (E-21) (NM-5) (GNH-5) (GP-8) (Vintage-15) (J class-7) Total-99

Vintage boats had a fine field and they got to go out several times. These guys and gals love racing and they add a nostalgic tone to any event. The boats we observed were: (JS-77) Zippy Pickle, (N-00) True North, (GP-111) Advanced United, (GP200) Lauterbach Special, (F-222) Barracuda, (S-32) Bad Habit, (H-266)Miss Supersonic, (E-102) Tijuana Taxi, (E-4) Sir Ron 2, (F-726) Flying Tiger, (J-33) Miss Lu Lu, (S-07) Blue Chips, (T-59) Scraps, (JS-78) Flyin High, (JS-20)Mean Streaker  Quite a group, eh?

 J Class hydros allowed several youngsters (age 9 and up) to get a taste of racing. These hulls help them acquire that love for our sport. Robin Shane has done a great job spearheading this project. We have been unable to find out all of the kids names so we will wait until we can post all of them to be fair to everyone. Sean will be glad to post all the names on Roostertails.Net, especially since he knows one of them very well. Anyone knowing all the names please let us know.

T boats presented a small but quick group. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What was the pre-race favorite. Alexis Weber (T-10) Flirtin With Disaster and John Shaw (T-125) Shameless My Mistake were expected to provide a stern test for Brandon. Becky Wilson (T-31) Circus Circus and Mark Butler (T-72) Fof Pete's Sake are strong as well. As the group roared to the start Brandon took over as it appeared as if we had gun jumpers. Alas, John (T-125) and Alexis (T-10) got a little too antsy. Becky Wilson (T-31) drove hard and legal to second place. John (T-125) took third. Brandon experimented with several lanes this weekend and they all worked and the grizzled veteran (17 years old) won every heat.

Y boats are arguably at their all time best right now. Obviously, there have been tremendous boats and hall of fame drivers in this class in the last fifty years. However, most of the time there were 2 or 3 dominant boats. Now we have an amazing group from coast to coast. This weekend we had at least six boats running incredible speeds. That is depth baby! The final was about trying to stop Dan Kanfoush in Jim Sechler's (Y-1) Fast Eddie 2. The first corner was wild as Dan (Y-1) battled to the front. As the race developed Keith McMullen (Y-80) Outlaw, Sean Bowsher (Y-52) Roostertails Racing and Joe Sovie (Y-44) Accelerant had a terrific battle for second place. Sean was painting the buoys until a big traffic jam in turn one late in the race caused chaos and he missed a buoy. Keith (Y-80) held off Joe (Y-44) for second in a great race. Scott Liddycoat (Y-97) Team Extreme and Mark Johnson (Y-91) Trafficade Knot Rod My Mistress were flying as well.

GNH boats had a small but mighty group. There was some close racing throughout. The final saw some very exciting racing until attrition struck the field. Patrick Sankuer (GNH-6) Showtime Racing came home with a hard earned victory. This boat looks great with a new paint job and is running strong. John Grigg (GNH-52) Wanna Be churned home second. John also had an awesome finish in the qualifier as he passed everyone right at the line. This class has always been known for lots of speed and this weekend was no exception.

A boats present a common theme these days. Can anyone stop Tom Thompson (A-52) Fat Chance Too? No you are not seeing things, the (A-25) is the backup as George English and Royce Richards are doubling everyone's misery. Despite an awesome field, Tommy (A-52) blasted away to the checkers. Mike Monahan swatted away some spiders to come home second in Debbie Welte's beautiful (A-23) Geezerboat. Buster Graham brought Don Mashburn's (A-66) Mr. Bud 3 home third. Look for more on Tommy (A-52) in our story on Sunday's back yard regatta.

 S boats had many bombs on hand with five boats looking like favorites from recent performances. They were Bobby Kennedy (S-88) Playin Again, Marc Theoret (CS-444) Miss Virgo, Mark Johnson (S-9) Rewinder, Glen Stephenson (CS-10) Wet Spot and Keith Anderson (S-17) Bad Habit.This class surely would test the 1:15 scoreup rule. Yes, they trolled, but things seemed to work out pretty well. They made a fast start and a maniacal run to turn one. Bobby (S-88) is a master at handling the turn one mayhem and he tore up the backstretch and never looked back. The other four contenders battled it out for a while before things fell in line. Bobby (S-88), Mark (S-9) and Glen (CS-10) took honors in a fantastic final.

GP boats were an unreal addition to these Eastern Divisionals. A monster field in all classes plus these sick beasts made an incredible show. This class is truly unpredictable from week to week. Last week Claude Bergeron (GP-444) GP Valleyfield looked fantastic in Valleyfield. At other races Marty Wolfe (GP-93) Renegade, Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder, Bert Henderson/Bud Keating (GP-77) Steeler, Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone, Patrick Haworth (GP-777) Crush and Pierre Maheu (GP-46) ADF Diesel looked dominant. This weekend Claude (GP-444), Marty (GP-93), Bert (GP-77) and Tom (GP-88) won the qualifiers. The late Saturday heat was incredible with five boats blasting into turn one together in a preview of Sunday's final. The crowd was aghast! The final saw six boats leave the dock. At the start Bert (GP-77), Marty (GP-93), Claude (GP-444) and Tom (GP-88) ripped into turn one side by side. The noise was intense. Tom (GP-88) broke early and Claude (GP-444) faded a little, leaving a mano a mano duel for four laps before Bert (GP-77) brought it home for owner Huey Newport. Marty (GP-93) and Claude (GP-444) finished about a second back. The venerable Mario Miraldo (GP-59) Baby Doll chugged home fourth. What a show!

NM boats had five gladiators in town. Tom Thompson (NM-81) Country Boy, Elizabeth Wolfe (NM-93) Desperado, Jackie Meyer in Doc Yinger's (NM-333) Gotcha and Amy Brockson (NM-370) Sonic Speed were ready to do battle. Buster Graham (A-66) Mr.Bud 3 and Dan Kanfoush (A-600) Mr. Bud 2 stepped up for some heats as well. So, here we go with the first qualifier and........ What the heck was that? A loud blur flashed out in front at supersonic speed. Jeff Bernard in Mack Elliot's (NM-33) Mack's Out ran at blinding speed making a fast field look like ducks on a pond. This boat, campaigning in honor of Terry Troxell, won every heat with ease. Look for more on this team in our Sunday story. Elizabeth Wolfe (NM-93) and Tom (NM-81) were flying but settled for second and third. Come Hampton, maybe a few of our dusty East Coast bombs will summon the courage to challenge Jeff (NM-33). Maybe even a couple of our retired icons?

E boats became the perfect storm this weekend. Top notch Eastern teams, Region Six stalwarts and a bunch of crazy Canadians combined to fill the pits. Twenty one bombers! One thing was certain. Several boats capable of winning would miss the final. Sylvain Campeau (CE-20) came in fresh off winning at Valleyfield and missed the final. He is a bomb so that shows the depth of the field. Now, ten wild and crazy guys left the dock for a great final. Any one of them could be the winner. After much pre-race jockeying the boats sorted out and headed for the line. The first lap was ridiculous and some guys found some h20 in corner one. At the end of lap one it was a three way tie between Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Wily's Pub, Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) El Diablo and Mark Burghardt (E-726) X-Ray. On lap two Marc (CE-104) ate water losing momentum. Mark (E-726) drove around Ghislain (CE-666). At the finish line Mark nipped the field by a couple of seconds. Ghislain took second with Bert Henderson (CE-8) Troublemaker coming home third. Mark's (E-726) X-Ray has tremendous acceleration off the corner and appears to square off the turns allowing him to win a race he started in lane six.

 Whew! That was a boat race ladies and gentleman. The fans that witnessed it and the teams that participated had to feel they were part of something special. Waterford is always a well run, exciting regatta. However, this weekend the race committee, volunteers and sponsors took it to a new level. If you missed this race, get on the web sites or borrow someone's DVD and watch this classic,

See ya in the pits.  J and Fae