H1 Unlimited Season Preview
stiff challenge from a strong field
to showcase impressive
fleet of Unlimiteds this year
Special to RoundAbout
Madison, Ind., will be the place to be the weekend of
July 6-8. For the 62nd year in a row, the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes will
vie for the Lucas Oil Indiana Governors Cup on the always-challenging
At least a dozen of the worlds largest and fastest race boats
will be on hand for the season kickoff event of the 2012 Air National
Guard Hydroplane Series Tour.
When the starting gun fires on the Bill Cantrell Memorial Race Course,
the community-owned Oh Boy! Oberto-Miss Madison (U-6) and driver Steve
David will renew their historic rivalry with Eric Ellstroms Spirit
of Qatar (U-1) and driver Dave Villwock.
courtesy of Paul Kemiel
Steve David recovered
from his injury while
winning the Madison
Regatta to place
second at Tri-Cities,
Wash., and then win
at Seattle last year.
At last years Madison Regatta, Oh Boy! Oberto won
but at a high price.
After three laps of the Final Heat, the Oberto was close behind and
on the inside of Spirit of Qatar. Villwock spun out directly in
front of David in the first turn of lap four, resulting in Villwocks
disqualification. Oh Boy! Oberto unavoidably ran over the Qatar, narrowly
missing the cockpit area. The Oberto rolled over in mid-air and
came down upright. Neither driver was seriously injured, but both boats
sustained major damage.
Throughout the balance of 2011, Oh Boy! Oberto gave Spirit of Qatar
plenty of competition and scored a victory in the Albert Lee Cup at
Seattle. This was in spite of David having to sit out the Detroit race
on account of a rib injury sustained in the crash at Madison.
Spirit of Qatar emerged as High Point Champion in 2011 on the strength
of three victories in six races. Qatar pilot Villwock made history by
becoming the all-time winningest Unlimited driver by concluding
the year with a career total of 65 race victories since 1992.
The dominance of the U-1 and the U-6 not withstanding, one of the strongest
fields in recent memory is shaping up to give the Qatar and the
Oberto a run for their money in 2012. And thats good news for
the real winners in Unlimited racing the fans.
One of the sports most popular families will make a welcome return
to the tour in 2012. The USA Racing Partners of Las Vegas last appeared
in 2008 but went on a long hiatus following the death of team founder
Kim Gregory. Now theyre back, under the leadership of Gregorys
widow, Debbie, and her sons, Matt and Adam. Sponsored by No. 88
Degree Men, the new driver is 2011 Rookie of the Year Scott Liddycoat,
who won last years UIM World Champion-ship for Unlimiteds
at Doha, Qatar, with the Valken.com racing team.
Ted Porter, the winning owner of the 2008 Indiana Governors Cup,
will be on hand with his Decatur, Ind.-based U-5, sponsored by Graham
Trucking and driven by Jimmy Shane. Porter campaigned a three-boat
team during the last couple of seasons but will concentrate
all of his resources on a single entry in 2012. Shane, a three-time
inductee into the prestigious APBA Hall of Champions, has served
as Porters back-up driver since 2007. This is his first full-time
8 a.m.: Course Set-Up
10:30 a.m: Opening Ceremonies
10 a.m - 4 p.m.: Pit Tours
10:45 a.m. - noon: Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
Noon-1 p.m.: River open
1-2:15 p.m.: Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
2:15-3 p.m.: Vintage Hydroplanes
3-5 p.m.: Unlimited Hydroplane Pole Position
5 p.m.: River open
5:15 p.m.: Fastest Unlimited Hydroplane Qualifier Awards
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.: Pit Tours
9-10 a.m.: Vintage Hydroplanes
10:30 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies
10:45 - 11 a.m.: Air Show
11 a.m. - noon: Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
Noon-1 p.m.: River open
12:15-12:45 p.m.: Unlimited Drivers Autograph Session
No. 1 along Vaughn Drive
1:30 p.m.: Heat 1A
2 p.m.: Heat 1B
2:30 p.m.: Heat 1C
2:50 p.m.: Awards Ceremony for heat winners
3-4 p.m.: Pit Tours
3:15-4 p.m.: Vintage Hydroplanes
4:15-5:15 p.m.: Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
5:15 p.m.: River opens
9 p.m.: River closes
9:30 p.m.: Twilight Air Show
10 p.m.: Fireworks Show
8 a.m.: Course Set-Up
9 a.m.: Chapel Service
9:30 - 10 a.m.: Opening Ceremonies
10-10:20 a.m.: Air show
10:30-11:30 a.m.: Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
11:30 a.m.: River opens
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Unlimited Drivers Autograph
Session No. 2 along Vaughn Drive
1 p.m.: Heat 2A
1:20 p.m.: Heat 2B
1:40 p.m.: Heat 2C
1:45-2:30 p.m.: Vintage Hydroplanes
2 p.m.: Awards Ceremony for heat winners
2:40 p.m.: Heat 3A
3 p.m.: Heat 3B
3:20 p.m.: Heat 3C
3:30-3:45 p.m.: Vintage Hydroplanes
3:40 p.m.: Awards Ceremony for heat winners
3:50-4:10 p.m.: Air Show
4:20 p.m.: Lucas Oil Indiana Governors Cup Unlimited
5:15 p.m.: Indiana Governors Cup Awards Presentation
behind the Judges Stand
U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto-Miss Madison, (Steve David)
2. U-17 Miss Red Dot (Kip Brown)
3. U-7 Valken.com
4. U-5 Graham Trucking (Jeff Bernard)
5. U-96 Spirit of Qatar (Dave Villwock)
Unlimiteds race information: www.H1unlimited.com
Ticket Options: Weekend Wristbands $25. Children 10 &
under are free. Souvenir Buttons: $5 good for evening admission
Wednesday-Friday. Regatta Membership $25 (includes wristband).
Cold Pit Passes: $20. VIP Tent (includes table, chairs, food,
drinks, program, prime viewing area) $150 adults; $50 children
6-12; children 5 & under are free. VIP Tent Plus: Includes
parking & pit pass $185. RV Parking: $250; $200; $100. Tarp
Spaces $40. Pit Tours $5.
Souvenir Program: $5. Purchases available online at: www.MadisonRegatta.com.
(812) 265-5000 or 1-800-559-2956.
Wristbands or souvenir buttons ($5) are required for admission
after 6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday. Wristbands required required. 6
a.m. 6 p.m. Saturday; free after 6 p.m. Sat. for fireworks
and music at riverfront; wristband required 6 a.m. 6 p.m.
J.W. Myers, who won the 2005 Indiana Governors Cup as
driver for the Ellstrom team, would like nothing better than to add
another Governors Cup to his trophy collection with U-11
Miss Peters & May, which he co-owns with Scott and Shannon Raney.
Myers says he is excited about the upcoming season. The boat handles
just fine and does everything that I want it to do. We just didnt
have time last year to work on things like engines, gearboxes and propellers
that produce speed. We should be in much better shape and faster this
This spring, the sport lost one of its long-time participants. U-100
racing team owner Fred Leland died of cancer on May 21. Lelands
Miss Pico took first place at the Madison Regatta in 1999. Lelands
family and team members have announced plans to continue racing
with driver Greg Hopp as owner-rep. In Hopps words, Fred
had a wish that the team continue after he was gone. He had a plan and
made arrangements for us to go on, and thats what we will do.
Kip Brown, driver of the U-17 Miss Red Dot, has been a rising star on
the Unlimited horizon ever since winning Rookie-of-the-Year in 2008.
The nephew of U-17 team leader Nate Brown, Kip finished second in the
Indiana Governors Cup at Madison and the Bill Muncey Cup at San
Diego in 2011. According to Kip Brown, We have made progress with
this team every year since it was created. This year, we think we have
a chance to take this thing to the next level.
Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Madison Regatta knows
of Billy Schumacher. As a young man in his 20s, Schumacher was a two-time
Governors Cup winner in 1967-68 as pilot of Miss Bardahl.
Schumacher would love to duplicate that feat as owner of the U-37 Miss
Beacon Plumbing with driver J. Michael Kelly. Schumacher reports that his crew
will have two newly refurbished turbine engines and a back-up motor
that will travel with the team. Three gear boxes and more gear
ratios will give the crew more options for setting up the boat along
with five race-ready propellers.
Returning as a full-time participant on the H1 national tour is the
U-9 Jones Racing Team, owned by Mike, Lori and Casey Jones. The
Joneses will campaign a completely refurbished race boat that will be
driven by Jon Zimmerman. This is the hull that raced at Detroit in
2011 as the Oh Boy! OBerto back-up hull after the primary hull
was damaged at Madison.
Veteran driver Mark Evans from Chelan, Wash., has made the transition
to driver-owner with his purchase of the U-57 Formulaboats.com
that he drove in 2011 for Porter. Marks brother, Mitch Evans,
is a co-owner of the boat and serves as crew chief, while Chelan resort
owner John Walcker acts as team manager.
Mark says that he likes the way the U-57 handles. Its a
good fit for us, and I am confident that we can get another 5 to 10
percent out of the performance and be a little more competitive.
Madison Regatta fans shouldnt have any trouble recognizing
the U-22 Matrix System rom Reading, Pa. The U-22 raced as the community-owned
U-6 Miss Madison from 1988-2006 before being sold to Steve and Mike
Webster last year. As driver for the U-22 team, Mike Webster earned
2009 Rookie of the Year honors in the Unlimited category.
After sitting out the 2011 campaign, Dave Bartushs U-13 Spirit
of Detroit returns to active duty in 2012. Bartush has announced plans
to combine forces with Dr. Ken Muscatels Superior Racing of Seattle.
Equipment and personnel from both teams will be involved in the operation.
The boat has undergone a substantial rebuild. This includes the removal
of decks and the tightening of frames where needed.
By far the most unusual entry in the 2012 Madison Regatta is Kelly Stocklins
U-18 Bucket List Racing, a hull that was originally automotive-powered
and built for the now-defunct G Class series. Stocklin will utilize a
Lycoming T-53 turbine engine, as opposed to the traditional T-55
L7C. The T-53 generates around 1,400 horsepower, compared to 2,650 horsepower
for the T-55. The U-18 will tip the scales at around 4,000 pounds, which
is considerably less than the 6,575-pound minimum required of the T-55
boats. An avowed experiment, Stocklins goal is to be able
to qualify, start and finish, and see where that takes us.
Fred Farley is a Milton, Ky., resident
and serves as the H1 Unlimited historian. Email him at email@example.com.
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