Ah, what's Seafair without the legendous' Jerky boat, the Oh Boy, Oberto! Even if it's not the Madison based championship winning rendition...
2017 SEAFAIR PROVISIONAL ENTRY LIST
No. Name Driver Team Base
U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank Jimmy Shane Madison, IN
U-3 Griggs Ace Hardware Jimmy King Evansville, IN
U-9 Les Schwab Andrew Tate Enumclaw, WA
U-11 J&B Hydraulics Thom Thompson Edmonds, WA
U-12 Graham Trucking J. Michael Kelly Milton, WA
U-16 Oberto Beef Jerky JW Meyers Arlington, WA
U-21 Paine West Insurance Brian Perkins Maple Valley, WA
U-440 Bucket List Racing R-Dustin Echols Snohomish, WA
U-99.9 Leland presents Miss Rock Greg Hopp Kirkland, WA
2017 SEASON CHANGES
Ah, where to begin? Start with the low-hangin' fruit I suppose. As The Miss Madison Racing team returns with defending National High Points Champion Jimmy Shane at the controls of the U-1 Miss HomeStreet, for which everyone else will be gunning for.
then Thars' my favourite Hull, 'lil Enum-scratches' U-9 Les Schwab Tires, who I've contributed significant "Coinage" to, for our "Eh-Team" van's various Off-roading escapades! With the fourth generation Andrew Tate in his sophomore season for Jones Racing of Enumclaw, WA at the Helm, where somebody named Kasey Kahne's from.
Thars' third fiddle, the Graham Trucking Unlimited with multiple race winner J. Michael Kelly still at the rudder, although the team's mainstay Ted Porter has stepped away, selling the team to Rod Graham over the winter.
With this winning Hull changing to the U-12 this year, as the long ago, ex-Miss Budweiser Hull's been updated over the winter, like all of the Hydros' were...
As these are presumably the top three Unlimiteds in the show, or who I'd guestimate having the best chance 'O winning Seafair this year - with the rest of the field being somewhat of a mixed bag; Err pass Dem Planters Mixed Nuts; Uhm? Suppose that should be Beef Jerky; Hya!
And I'm a little peeved over the current lack 'o information forthcoming from the series official website, (and that was before the FUCKING waste 'O time I spent futily trying to pull-up a "live stream" to listen to the Columbia Cup final!) since the first story about the Tri cities Hydroplane race showed up just three days before the weekend's activities commenced; URGH!
As the July 5th's Chairman's Corner post, from the new H1 Unlimited Commissioner Doug Bernstein cryptically noted how they hoped to see most of their teams soon...
Thus, it appeared from the scant news that I could find, pre-Columbia Cup, the two Dark Horse Hydros' have to be the U-16 Oh Boy Oberto! Previously the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, along with the U-27 Dalton Industries, as Y'all should never count out either of these boats.
Biggest news for Eric Ellstrom's squad, along with flying the flag for Oh Boy Oberto last year, after it's long association as the Miss Madison's sponsor was that the fiery KuhNuck Jean Jumpin' Jaques Flash" Theoret was effectively sacked, with another Ellstrom Racing Team Alumni now coming out of retirement.
As JW Meyers who hadn't driven in five years, but got to knock off the rust with a guest drive at Madison aboard the U-27, will look to rekindle his winning ways aboard the U-16 this season. As Meyers lone Unlimiteds victory came with the team at Madison in 2005.
Then on Friday afternoon, July 28th, with NO help via H1 Unlimited's website, I first discovered via the obscure deck2deck.us website that apparently the U-16 wouldn't be racing at Tri Cities; WTF? For which the Ellstrom Racing website confirmed by announcing that this weekend's Albert Lee Appliance Cup on Lake Washington would be the boat's and it's new driver's debut this season...
Meanwhile, the U-27, typically Juan' of the most competitive Hulls, effectively spent all last year rebuilding its boat after Cal Phipps suffered a NARLY Blowover accident at the season opening Madison Regatta.
As the lone team based in Gadsden, Alabama spent the entire Offseason finishing the boat before Meyers broke it in at Madison this year, with the Bama' Crew roaring to get back to their winning ways, albeit electing to forgo Seafair and Tri Cities this year, possibly to conserve resources?
As I was hoping it was just an erroneous omission when reading the Tri Cities "teaser" just days before the HAPO Columbia Cup race, which didn't mention the U-27, which unfortunately elected to skip this season's Washington state events...
The U-3 Griggs Ace Hardware entry of GO-3 Racing's an interesting boat, being the only Unlimited Hydroplane still utilizing good 'Ol fashion piston power; Aye Karumba!
As the boat's motive power comes from a twin-turbocharged Allison V-12 vintage WW II airplane engine. While it could be a potential "Sleeper" candidate due to the potentially rough waters created off of Lake Washington's famous Log boom.
The U-440 Bucket List Racing entry features a new Shue' underneath the canopy, as Dustin Echols makes his debut in the B-I-G BOATZ' class, nee Unlimiteds this year. As Echols reportedly is a championship winning Supercharged GP class skipper.
Whilst the U-440 also reportedly sports a major update look along with its number change from last year's U-18, which hopefully includes stepping up to a more powerful version of the venerable Lycoming turbine powerplant.
According to deck2Deck.us, the team campaigns a Lycoming T-53 turbine which has half the power of the Lycoming T-55 turbine used by most competitors. While the team has supposedly solved its problematic gearbox issues...
While hopefully Thar rookie Helmsman will have a better weekend on Lake Washington, after floundering in the rough waters of the "Mighty Columbia!"
And lastly, Greg Hopp, son of ex-Unlimiteds Journeyman Driver Jerry Hopp, a local legend has been tabbed to substitute for the U-99.9 KISW Miss Rock powered by CarStar's regular driver Kevin Eacret, who apparently suffered a torn Achilles earlier this year. As it'll be the younger Hopp's first Unlimited seat-time in some three years.
Hopefully the U-21 Hull can be repaired in time for Seafair? As the boat, which Bryan Perkins was giving perennial Unlimiteds champion Jimmy Shane a run for his money suffered major damage when throwing a propeller blade in Heat-1A at Tri Cities.
As Perkins noted how the lost blade had damaged the boat's hull when tearing up it's driveshaft, propeller strut and steering! And the team would decide after Tri Cities if it could make the repairs in time for Seafair, a week later.
Meanwhile, I missed another Memo, as the Piston powered U-3 Thunderboat pulled out of the Seafair event following Tri Cities due to unspecified damage...
Local CBS TV Affiliate KIRO 7 Throws in Towel...
In another sign of the times, corporate greediness, bottom lines and making the Shareholders happy... Local CBS affiliate KIRO7 cancelled its traditional day long coverage of Seafair's legendous' Hydroplanes and Blue angels television coverage, after 66-years! Which will be replaced by a 90mins Highlight's package instead...
As it'll be good to get away from the scorching, red hot Keyboard for a few Dazes during our Excessive Heat Warning here in Seattle, where we'll be flirting with record high temperatures leading up to this year's Seafair...