Friday, August 4, 2023

HYDROS: Three Promising Drivers Hoping to Make Waves

As I just Hope All three will be competing in the season’s final two events…


Two thirds of this year’s remaining H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Drivers are rookies, and thus unknown quantities for the moment. Whilst it’s unknown if the  other HotSchue’ will be behind the tiller at either of the two remaining races?


Bucket List Racing

U-40 Snuskitush Enterprises, Dustin Echols

U-440 Boitano Homes, (R) Brent Hall

Once again, I missed last year’s memo that Dustin Echols had replaced the Sport’s All-time winningest H1 Unlimited’s Driver Dave Villwock at San Diego.


And like all of the Big Boats Skippers’, Echols “CV” (Curriculum Vitae) is Chock-ablock full of lower division Championships…


As Dustin was the 2017 H1 Unlimited Rookie Of the Year, having qualified aboard the Bucket List Racing’s U-440 that year. Which I believe is the least powerful Unlimited in the Fleet due to it’s Lycoming t-53 turbine. Yet Dustin drove it skillfully to sixth place overall at season’s end.


As Echols has extensively driven the U-440 since then, along with team owner Kelly Stocklin’s name listed as Co-Skipper the past few years. With Echols going on Sabbatical last season in order to help His daughter Findley’s racing career…


Reportedly in 2020, Sharon and Kelly Stocklin bought the former U-21 Go Fast Turn Left Racing’s 2007 Lycoming T-55 turbine Hull, which became the team’s current U-40 Hydro’, originally driven by Dave Villwock.


Dustin Echols served notice to the entire Unlimited Fleet at the season opener Southern cup on Lake Guntersville by qualifying P1 with a stunning lap of 171.294mph!


As Echols lap was the fifth fastest in series history, and fastest in the two decades since Fuel-flow restrictions were mandated. Yet All of the seven Hydroplanes entered at Guntersville were fast due to the course featuring wider turns.


Then the following week at Madison, Indiana, Echols suffered a wild Barrel-rolling Blowover accident for which I’ve got no idea if the Minnowesqe team from Snohomish, WA can repair the damaged Hull in time for the two upcoming races?


Whilst I’m guessing Echols will take little solace in being classified third in the Governor’s Cup on accumulated points?


The U-440 Boitano Homes is the original Bucket List Racing Hull that began life with the Sport’s smallest turbine, a Lycoming T-53 unit. As I’m left guessing that this 2005 Hull was upgraded to turbine power in 2012, and then being rebuilt in 2015, albeit retaining said T-53 turbine.


Rookie Brent Hall is set to make His H1 Unlimited debut at this year’s Columbia Cup, and at Age 53, according to H1 Unlimited. The Seattle driver will make history as the Sport’s first ever African American to race an Unlimited Hydroplane.


Hall last raced Hydroplanes in the Grand Prix class in 2012. And finished second in the nation in last year’s F500 tunnel Boat class. Along with having extensive lower series experience.


Go Fast Turn Left Racing

U-60 The Beast Unleashed present Miss Thriftway, (R) Gunnar O’Farrell

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 Brian Perkins at it’s controls during that year’s controversial Seafair race.


Veteran Unlimited Skipper Perkins unfortunately Jumped the Start of the Seafair Cup Final and was assessed a One minute penalty. Which I believe saw the U-99.9 clasified seventh and last of the race…


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-60 with rookie Skipper Gunnar O’Farrell at it’s controls is the same Hull?


Yes, on the surface it appears that the renamed U-60 is indeed the team’s 2019 Unlimited Hydroplane, which Gunnar qualified as an Unlimited driver aboard last year when completing the requisite 15-laps over 130mph. With gunnar’s fastest being a skosh over 145mph.


Gunnar has most recently been racing in the 2.5 Mod ‘n Stock Inboard class, where He won the 2021 summer Nationals.


Meanwhile the team’s set to make waves with the return of the famed Miss Thriftway name upon it’s Hull at this year’s Seafair gold Cup event. For which the press release claims is an All new 100% Carbon Composite Hydroplane that rookie Gunnar O’farrell set a top speed of 161-plus mph during testing at Tri-cities earlier this year.


As owner Greg O’Farrell has a past connection to the original Miss Thriftway When at Age 11, He was given the opportunity of a lifetime. When the legendous’ Mr. Unlimited’, aka Bill Muncey took the young boy out for a spin around the Lake Washington race course in Miss Thriftway II with Greg perched upon Muncey’s lap!


(R) Denotes Rookie Driver