As the series known as The Fastest show on H-2-O starts Churning up the water with Thar roostertails again…
Reportedly there’s seven H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes slated to compete in this weekend’s 2022 Season Opener at Lake Guntersville, which also will Host this year’s APBA Gold Cup event on June 26th.
Also, fir the first time since 2019, Seattle’s Seafair returns to the schedule, complete with it’s revered U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels Acrobatic performance over Lake Washington and the I-90 Floating Bridge.
As H1 Unlimited, the sanctioning body for these Uber astonishing turbine Hydroplanes was initially Hopeful that at least one more of the three potential season participants would compete at the Guntersville Hydrofest season Kickoff event. But has now seemed to confirm that only seven Hydros will race in alabama.
The Guntersville Hydrofest will also see a fully restored vintage piston powered Allison V-12 Hydroplane run Demonstration laps in Honour of an Unlimited Speed record set 60 years ago on Guntersville Lake.
By my reckoning, Thars four APBA Gold Cup winners in this year’s field: Jeff Bernard, J. Michael Kelly, Jimmy Shane and Dave villwock. (In Alphabetical order)
As here’s a Quick look at some of this year’s Unlimited Hydroplanes Armada. Although for them moment, you’d have to say these are the Pretendahs’, albeit it Pains me to include the U-12 here!
U-3 Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, Jimmy King
This is the only remaining Piston powered Hull in the Unlimited fleet. As the U-3 sports a twin turbocharged V-12 Allison, presumably one turbo per bank of six cylinders behind the cockpit vs. the traditional front engine piston layout of the 1960’s. As driver Jimmy King at Age 61 is the second Oldest Skipper in the fleet and has been driving this boat forever. Although I don’t think it’s run since 2019? And it’ll be interesting to See’ if the ‘Ol Gal’s got anything left in Her tank vs. the turbines.
Not sure why, but as I began scribblin’ this, my ‘Ol Noggin’ kept telling me it was 40 years ago when the Pay ‘N Pak turbine boat broke upon the scene….
As indeed, Jon Walters became the very first ever driver to win an Unlimited Hydroplane race propelled by a turbine engine on June 14, 1982 on Seneca Lake, New York’s thunder in The Park regatta in the Pay ‘n Pak 2, which ultimately led to the Demise of the Piston Boats. Even though Walters and the Jim Lucero built turbine Sled got off to a rocky start two years prior when suffering a wicked Barrel roll Blow Over in Tri Cities!
Unlimited Racing Group
U-11 JnD’s Hydraulics, Jamie Milsen
The U-11 with Jamie Milsen at it’s controls has been plying the waters for many seasons now. And although it’s a fast Boat at times, it perpetually seems plagued by mechanical Gremlins and is typically a Mid-pack boat at Best.
U-12 Graham Trucking, Andrew Tate
Have to say I’m very Disappointed and surprised to Not See this once perennial winning Hydroplane not on this year’s APBA Gold cup entry list. As you’d have liked to Arse-sume that Andrew Tate and the Graham Trucking Boat would be one of this year’s title contenders, but Skipping your season’s opening race, and it’s Super Bowl event Doesn’t instill confidence in Mwah that Tate can recover points-wise by His team’s decision to miss the season’s most important race!
Know this Boat’s Fast, since thought I read that J. Michael Kelly won the final three 2019 races aboard it. And Tate’s a proven winner, having won the 2018 National High Points Championship and APBA Gold Cup that season aboard the U-9, which now is the Lynx Healthcare entry driven by Cory Peabody.
As Tate’s career seems Star-crossed, since after 2018, the U-9 failed to show up for the season opener, and now History seems to be repeating itself…
Bucket List Racing
U-40 Beacon Plumbing, Dave Villwock
The Sport’s All-time winningest H1 Unlimiteds Driver Dave Villwock returned to competition last year after a five year layoff. And at Age 68, is the elder Statesmen of the Unlimited Hydroplanes Armada.
Villwock currently has 67 career victories along with 10 National Championships and 10 Gold Cup victories, one behind Chip Hanauer.
As I believe that Villwock’s on the second year of His two year contract with Beacon Plumbing? And this Boat could definitely be a Spoiler this season.
U-7 Miss Detroit, Bert Henderson
U-21 Lakeridge Paving, Brian Perkins/Gunnar O’Farrell
U-440 SnuskitushEnterprises, Kelly Stocklin
No idea if the U-7 will appear in any races this year, or whether or not the lone Kuhnuck’ pilot Bert Henderson will remain at it’s tiller?
In 2019, go Fast Turn Left Racing located in Maple valley, WA, and owned by Greg and Brian O’farrell reportedly raced a brand new Unlimited Hydroplane as the U-99.9 Carstars Miss rock with Dustin Echols at it’s controls beginning at Seafair. As the Mis Rock of Seattle Radio Station KISW 99.9FM is a longtime staple of Warshington’ Unlimited Hydroplanes History.
Thus I’m making the leap and Arse-suming that this year’s U-21 with veteran Skipper Brian Perkins at it’s controls is the same Hull? Since it’s also noted that gunnar O’Farrell may share driving duties with Perkins. As I’m guessing we won’t see this Hydro’ until the Tri Cities Seattle races…
Sharon and Kelly Stocklin are the Owners of Bucket List Racing situated in Snohomish, WA, now in their second season of campaigning two Unlimited Hydroplanes. As presumably the U-440 is the team’s older Hull. As you’d have to Arse-sume that Dave Villwock has Thar Best Boat at His disposal. And I’ve got No idea when we’ll see the U-440 in action this season?
And Thar’ seems to be more Unlimited Hulls floating about unknown to Mwah; like where did Graham Trucking’s second Hull go? And did the U-99.9 become the latest U-21? And if so, where did their Old Hull go? And “So it goes…”
Not to mention I’m disappointed that Dustin Echols isn’t back behind the wheel of one of these Big Boats. Although in what’s a reoccurring theme upon le Intrawoods’, nee Internet. I cannot find anything current about this Driver. Not to mention the overall lack of information pertaining to the Drivers and Hydroplane teams in general!
Whilst it would be nice to see either the U-99.9 Miss Rock return for Seafair, or at lewst somebody carrying the Oh Boy Oberto livery on it’s Sponsons in Seattle. Hey, I can Dream, Righto?
For the remaining two H1 Unlimited Teams, i.e.; Miss Madison and Strong Racing, please visit the following No Fenders link below…