As they’ve definitely got two of the best Skippers and Hulls on the circuit…
Like my No Fenders story’s title denotes. The upstart Strong Racing organization now just in it’s third season, looks like the team to Beat this year! And with two of the fastest boats and veteran drivers, look out everybody!
U-8 Beacon electric, J. Michael Kelly
U-9 Beacon Plumbing, Cory Peabody
It’s now two years ago since Vanessa and Darrell Strong acquired the assets of the former Elstrom and Jones Racing H1 Unlimited Juggernauts, with Skippers J. Michael Kelly and Cory Peabody, longtime Best friends being retained this season.
Both team Hulls are running new sponsorship this year, with Kelly once again piloting the newer U-8 Beacon Electric. The former Elstrum U-16/96 built in 2014.
As Kelly’ and Peabody are both 44yrs old, with J. Michael having some 20yrs Hydroplane experience, along with multiple National Championships, including the 2021 H1 Unlimited National High Points Drivers Championship.
Kelly began the season with 96 Starts, 14 Wins, 84 Heat victories and 47 Podiums to His credit. And by my rudimentary math skills, should claim His 100th race start at Seattle.
And although it appears Kelly got off to a somewhat slow start in Guntersville. He made up for it at Madison, where He was awarded His 15th W’ when claiming the Governor’s Cup on accumulated points.
As Kelly has the most H1 Unlimited victoriesof current Skippers and is always a threat in the Emerald City. (Seattle) Along with having won the 2016 gold Cup.
Cory Peabody and His U-9 Hydroplane,the former Jones Racing race boat, is currently The oldest Hull in the fleet. With the Ron Jones, Jr. Hull having beenbuilt 31yrs ago in Gory 1992!
As the U-9 now sports Beacon Plumbing sponsorship, which last year was on Dave villwock’s U-40 Bucket List racing Hydro’.
Peabody who won last year’s gold Cup at Guntersville. Suffered a wicked End over End Blowover accident at the following Madison, Indiana event on the Ohio River. When racing Jimmy Shane for the first four laps Deck-to-Deck for victory in the Governor’s Cup final.
And the Old Gal was so severely damaged, that Peabody was forced to miss the remainder of the 2022 season, with the boat being completely rebuilt over last year’s Offseason.
Now sporting a new white and blue paint scheme in Beacon Plumbing colours, Peabody began this year’s season by winning for the second time in Alabama, when being declared the Southern Cup’s winner on accumulated points.
Then reportedly at Madison, Indiana. Peabody’s U-9 “Threw-a-Rod”, err broke it’s propeller strut during Sunday’s first preliminary Heat and was sidelined for the rest of the event…
But Strong Racing definitely looks to be the team to beat this season. With both Boats firing on All “Cylinders”, Uhm turbines spooled up!
And with Tri-cities being Thar Owners Home event, and both drivers posed to claim their second Gold Cup in Seattle. You’d have to say one of these two drivers will be this year’s National High Points Champion, with the other being disappointed…
Unlimited Racing Group
U-11 Legend Yacht Transport, Jamie Milsen
Not sure how many season now that veteran Jamie Milsen’s been at the tiller of the former U-11 JND’s Hydraulics Unlimited Hydroplane? Having just learned that the U-11 Hull was built in 1994, Zoinks!
Whale’ Milsen seems like a veteran to Mwah, although only having made 22 Starts prior to the beginning of this season. Having gotten His maiden Unlimited ride aboard the U-37 Peters n May Wayback’ in 2010 at Seattle. And then obtaining His Unlimited Creds’ when Qualifying for Unlimited racing aboard the U-21 Go Fast Turn Left Big Boyz’ Boat in 2013.
As Jamie’s won multiple championships in both Outboard and Inboard Hydroplanes, along with having scored 12 Outboard Hydroplane World Speed records, for which six still stand.
And whilst previously noting that it’s a fast Boat at times. Not knowing it had set the British Speed record in 2012 for fastest propeller driven boat in Bloody England. With an average speed of 175.11mph! It’s also perpetually had mechanical Gremlins to deal with, including turbine engine explosions!
Yet while not Flashy, Milsen and the U-11 Legend Yacht Transport Hydro’ have scored third and second place finishes at Guntersville and Madison this year. Seeing Jamie lead the National High Points Championship by one marker over J. Michael Kelly.
Yet this boat seems to continue feeling like a Midfield runner against the likes of Miss Madison and Strong Racing, whom they’re All chasing! With Milsen looking to score His maiden Finals victory soon! And either Tri-Cities or Seafair would be a great place for His first H1 Unlimited win.