Brief mention of the unlimiteds in the Kitsap Sun >> Scroll down after opening... Flashback: Guy Lombardo wins the 1946 Gold Cup, the first race recorded on film by ABC.

Details >>

Photo: A restored Tempo VI, photographer unknown

Below: Guy Lombardo with his band

The rules of Unlimited Hydroplane racing >>

Watching the movie "Madison" inspired a couple, Morgan and Yolanda Kelly, to travel from Klawock, Alaska to Madison, Indiana to see how much of the story was reality-based.

Article from Madison Courier >>

DVD's are available of the Seattle races from the folks at Seafair. Click to order >>

Unlimited Hydroplane driver snowball fight video from Jason Gardner, U-100, via JibJab. Watch the video >>

Greg Walden and the team at Atomic Screen Print in Kennewick have been deeply involved in hydro racing for some time. Most recently, they created the 100th running of the Gold cup logo. They are also handling merchandising for the 2008 Gold Cup, 2008 Evansville Freedom Festival, and for the ABRA. We suspect they'll also handle this year's Columbia Cup as they have in the past.

They have also created and sold products for a number of teams, including the U-21 Freedom Racing, U-13 Spirit of Detroit, and Ed Cooper's U-3. If you need something produced, it's worth talking to Atomic Screen Print.

Last year, they jumped into the boat ownership ranks buying an Unlimited Light. Greg says they're repairing it for 2008 competition.

Great collage of unlimited hydroplane racing photos from Walt Ottenad at

Thanks to everyone who gave us the opportunity to take some great shots in 2007 and wishing everyone a safe 2008...

Walt Ottenad Northwest Speedshots

Click on the photo for a larger version. Makes for a nice screen saver, too.

New video clips are being posted at HydroInsider today. They're snippets of interviews done at the ABRA Awards show in Las Vegas, courtesy of Kevin Bollinger and FOX 5 in Las Vegas.

Sam Cole, ABRA: "We have a lot to be thankful for in 2007 and are looking ahead to the new year with much optimism and renewed vigor. It has been many years since the sport has featured such a competitive fleet of teams and the support of our six race sites."

A holiday greeting from Sam Cole on the website, includes the above statement and concludes with: "...We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season and remember, the countdown clock has already begun ticking its way to Evansville in just a few short months!"

As Kirk Duncan correctly points out, the first race site is Nashville...

In the December issue of the ECRU newsletter, Kirk Pagel reports that Greg O'Farrell's newly acquired hull will race as U-50 in 2008. The hull (nicknamed Lucky) was previously owned by Fred Leland.

Kirk also reports that former Bud crew chief Ron Brown has sold his complete machine shop to O'Farrell. That means they'll be able to manufacturer their own gearboxes and props.

ERCU newsletter >>
[ PDF File ]
O'Farrell last year also ran the U-48 Lakeridge Paving with driver David Williams. It hasn't been decided if they'll run two boats in 2008, but it's possible. Also, no driver announcement to date.

New logo for the 100th running of the Detroit Gold Cup unveiled and you can see it here. Also, you can shop for 100th Gold Cup gear from the Detroit Regatta.

Click here for the gear and order form from Detroit Regatta >>

NOTE: PDF File will take a while to load...

Photos from the U-22 Webster Racing open house from the U-22 website. View more >>

VIDEO: 2007 San Diego Regatta - nice music montage from this year's race.

Spotted on the menu at Jack-Sons sports bar in Kennewick, WA: U-13 Spirit of Detroit unlimited hydroplane.

Jackson's has some hydroplane memorabilia, including part of an old hull on the wall and has sponsored hydros in the past. It's located right next to KNDU-TV in the Tri-Cities, the home of

Belated condolences to the family of Wayne "Bull" Griffin. He was a longtime crew member for the Miss Madison team and recently passed away after an extended illness.

Update on the U-17 Miss Red Dot from Nate Brown's team:

"We stripped the boat clean in order to inspect, analyze, and start making improvements to the hull, hardware, systems, and power plant. We expect to be more than just competitive in 2008!"

Schedule the unlimited hydroplane for your next get-together or corporate event. More info >>

Photo courtesy James Crisp

Mike Webster Reaches Top Level of Boat Racing
"We knew it was something we always wanted to do not just me but my family also so we went ahead and we took the opportunity and it's a leap of faith to say the least but we know it's going to come out right," Webster told WFMZ-TV.

Read full article from WFMZ-TV, including video >>

Photo of Mike & U-22 at right courtesy Kirk Duncan

More race simulation video from the rFactor hydroplane racing league... really amazing stuff!

Blue Angels will return to Seafair in 2008

Anybody else notice the U-21 Freedom Racing website has been down for a few days? Don't know if it's a permanent thing with the team up for sale.

Round two voting in the FANTASY DRIVER SHOWDOWN is now open >>

OK, if we're talking about potential national sponsors, either for race teams or for the entire circuit, who would you put on the target list? Please leave a list of names of companies you think would be a perfect fit for unlimited hydroplane racing in the Comments section below. Who knows? Your idea may help bring in sponsors...

This one comes out of nowhere... The Madison Courier reports that ABRA has asked the Madison Regatta to go to the "duel" style of racing, such as that used in Valleyfield last year. Two boats at a time going head-to-head in an elimination style.

Regatta President Crystal McHargue told the Madison Courier they'll be sticking to their own format.

Read full article >>
Scroll down the page a bit to find the info

Former Madison Regatta treasurer pleads guilty

According to the Madison Courier, Ann Geyman has agreed to a plea deal. She reportedly wrote and signed more than 20 checks on the Regatta bank accounts and use the $24,000 to pay credit card bills. Geyman was a former President of the Madison Regatta, but was treasurer during three years when the Regatta lost money and nearly shut down.

Nashville is the first race site for 2008 in May. "We think having Nashville open the season in May will help the promoters bring in the crowd we hope to have for this race," said ABRA's Sam Cole. "This will be an early start to our season but we need to get more races on the circuit early so we can start to generate more excitement for the entire season, not just a seven week period."

PHOTO: Last time the hydros raced at Nashville

Marengo Cave in southern Indiana - featured in the movie Miss Madison - to be featured in a new movie.

A car which belonged to speed king Sir Malcolm Campbell was auctioned off for more than $240,000 US. Campbell broke the world land speed record nine times in the 20's and 30's. His son Donald while trying to become the first man to break 300 mph on water, when his Bluebird turbo-jet hydroplane crashed.


Jack Lowe has a great photo of a new hydroplane on his website. Check it out at: >>

The video of the 2007 Season in Review, produced by KNDU-TV and and shown at the ABRA awards dinner in Las Vegas, is now posted at >>

PHOTO AT RIGHT: Cockpit view from inside the U-5 during the final heat at San Diego

Thanks to Steve Montgomery for lending us your talents and Jim Tippett for the editing.

Updated specs for the new U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison boat >>

Watch Video of Unlimited Lights Heat 3A at Firebird in Phoenix, Arizona from >>

Former Bud crew chief Ron Brown has sold his MACHINE SHOP to Greg O'Farrell, who ran the U-48 Lakeridge Paving last year and bought a second hull in the off-season. that will give Greg and his team the ability to fabricate parts, among other things.

Thanks Kirk Pagel for the info!

How competitive could 2008 be? Sam Cole said at Seafair 2007, the fastest competition lap was 147 mph. It was turned in by Nate Brown in the brand new U-17.

Nate hit a top speed of 187 during the run and took second in the provisional heat. All that during the first weekend the brand new boat had made it into the water.

Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Dave Villwock: "As hard as the 37 guys push us, I know I’m having a good year when Billy Schumacher’s mad at us.”

Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Dave Villwock: "We’re going to have all new engines next year, mostly because I blew up all the stuff last year."

Photo - James Simpson

Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Graciously accepting the 3rd place award, U-37 Beacon Plumbing team owner Billy Schumacher said "Anything less than first, it sucks."

Photo - James Simpson

We should have some interviews and video from the awards ceremonies posted on in a few days.

In the "it's a small world" category, former KNDO/Yakima sport director Kevin Bollinger is working in Las Vegas at the FOX TV station there. He remembers covering the hydros in the Tri-Cities, so when the awards banquet came to Las Vegas, he dropped by with a photographer to do some interviews. Kevin said he's send me the tape so that I can share it with everyone here.

ABRA's Sam Cole said they had productive meetings, but said he couldn't elaborate because "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Sam made the comments from the podium. There were meetings most of the day on Thursday. Unlike last year, the groups did not come out and talk about what's going on.

Sam did hint at the possibility of yet another race in the Midwest for 2008. Some announcement may happen soon. I can also tell you first-hand that the ABRA and some owners met with potential series sponsors during the Las Vegas trip.

ABRA High Points Driver Champion - Dave Villwock, Miss Elam Plus
ABRA High Points Team Champions - Miss Elam Plus, Erick Ellstrom
Photo - James Simpson

ABRA Season High Points - 3rd Place: U-37 Beacon Plumbing

ABRA Season High Points - 2nd Place: U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Photo - James Simpson

ABRA Rookie of the Year: David Bryant, U-10 USA Racing Partners Archive Photo: David is shown at the right modeling his 2007 helmet.

Unlimited Owner of the Year: Madison, Indiana

ABRA Award of Excellence: Tom Sawyer, Evansville

Photo - James Simpson

Unlimited Owner of the Year: Madison, Indiana

ABRA Award of Excellence: Tom Sawyer, Evansville

Unlimited Crew Chief of the Year: Mike Hanson, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Unlimited Crew of the Year: U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Photo - James Simpson

Outstanding Print Coverage: Extreme Boats Magazine
ABRA Photographer of the Year: Bill Osborne


Best Local or National TV Coverage: KIRO-TV, Seattle
Best Local or National Radio Coverage: WORX - Madison

Commercial Race Sponsor of the Year: Lamb Weston/ConAgra
Commercial Race Team Sponsor of the Year: Oberto
Race Site of the Year: Seattle

Photo - James Simpson

Corporate Marketing Awards:

  • Chevrolet
  • - Ted Porter
  • Madison Regatta

ABRA Official of the Year: Scott Patton
Special Contribution Award: The Patton Family

Kip Brown will also be doing double-duty in 2008, driving the U-17 Miss Red Dot/USNW Express that Nate Brown and his team built last year as well as the UL-8 for Baker Equipment Racing.

Kevin Eacret will also be driving for the Unlimited Lights team.

OK, is on location at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, site of the ABRA meeting and Awards Dinner on Thursday. We'll have updates, stories, and award winners when they're announced. Stay tuned!

If you've got news or photos from the event, please email me so we can share them with everyone else!

The Unlimited Hydroplanes are still considering a tour stop at Firebird in the Phoenix area. You can get a look at what hydro racing looks like by checking out's pictures of the recent Unlimited Lights event. Archives:

Bill Center reports in the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Unlimiteds have signed on for San Diego for 2008:

After almost being dropped from the lineup last September because of financial concerns, the Unlimited Hydroplanes already have signed up for their 2008 stop in San Diego.

Full article (scroll to the bottom) >>

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gold Cup in 2008, APBA commerative Gold Cup jewelry has been designed. There will be a limited number of gold pins produced and available as part of the signup package for the Gold Cup Preservation Society in Detroit.

Details >>

Seafair has released its schedule events for the annual Seattle event in 2008:
  • July 5 Seafair Milk Carton Derby
  • July 13 Virginia Mason Team Medicine Marathon
  • July 20 Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon
  • July 26 Southwest Airlines Torchlight Parade
  • July 26 Wells Fargo Torchlight Run
  • July 26 Miss Seafair Scholarship Program for Women
  • August 1-3 Chevrolet Cup & KeyBank Air Show

    Seafair website

Video clips from Valleyfield, Quebec in 2006. About halfway through the video, you can see the damage to the U-1 Elam Plus when it ran aground.

Photo (right): Archives
Video (below):
Kevin Hart posted on Google Video.

From the Archives:

"We broke some hardware that held the skid fin on. It let go," said Dave Villwock, U-1 Elam driver. "Then a second and a half later, I was looking at the entire crowd of Valleyfield."

Villwock says he managed somehow to turn the boat to the right. "Then I saw a patrol boat. I'm trying to get control away from them." He did, but not before hitting head-on into a rock on the shore.

"I was elated to get past it (the patrol boat)," he said. "I didn't care that much that I hit that rock. The patrol boat had no place to go."

Read the full story plus more video >>

Final poll results: The next big star is...

  • Jeff Bernard 35%
  • Kayleigh Perkins 33%
  • J. Michael Kelly 25%
  • Brian Perkins 5%

Thanks to the 171 people that voted.

Video montage of the U-6 throughout the years and into today, by Travis Johnson. Click here to watch >>

If the top drivers from each decade were put in identical equipment and raced head-to-head, who would win?

If you have attended the San Diego races anytime in the past 10 years, please take part in this survey for the benefit of the Thunderboat Regatta. If you leave your contact information, they'll send you a special 2007 Regatta collector's pin for your opinions.

ABRA has confimed that Nashville will be on the 2008 schedule May 2-4.

Breaking news... Freedom Racing is selling all assets of the U-21 team and getting out of the unlimited hydroplane racing business. Read the official announcement >>

Photo of the Tempo VII, owned by Guy Lombardo, by Larry Wilson.
Thanks Skip for identifying the photographer. The photo was sent to me anonymously and I always try to give proper credit.

Greg Hopp and the UL-15 was the winner in the Firebird Finals in Phoenix for the Unlimited Lights. The finals were a three boat race around the 1.25 mile course with a barrier in the middle. Hopp held off Kayleigh Perkins in the UL-72 and UL-93 & Marty Wolfe to win the exhibition race.

Read more at >>

Official word on the possiblity of the U-37 Beacon Plumbing team building a new boat:

While Schumacher Racing would seriously like to pursue building a new boat, having one for the 2008 season is an unrealistic goal at this time. As of right now, the boat in our shop is the boat we’ll go racing with in 2008.

Source: U-37 Website

Sad news to report: Jean Theoret's father, Gerald, has passed away. You can send condolences to the Theoret family by going to

The event this weekend in Firebird is also the site of 25th annual (IHBA) International Hot Boat Association World Finals ... drag boats.

Updated heat times for Firebird for Sunday:
Sunday - November 18th

  • Heat 3A - 9:15 AM
  • Heat 3B - 9:30 AM
  • Final - 1:30 PM

Source: ULHRA

The Unlimited Lights exhibition at Firebird Lake this weekend should be interesting. Since you can't cut through the infield (there's concrete barriers there), the timing runs start when you leave the dock. If you mis-time it, you could be a full lap behind the other boats.


  • FRI - Nov 16: 2:45pm PT
  • SAT - Nov 17: 10:15am, 12:45pm PT
  • SUN - Nov. 18: 10:15pm, 2:30pm

    NOTE: Live stream will be dark when it's not active.

A hydroplane ferry is now running in Hong Kong. Watch the video here >>

Last year, the Unlimited Lights weren't included in the Tri-Cities Water Follies weekend with the Unlimited hydros. Instead, they did their own event in Richland, WA. Discussions are underway to bring the Lights back to the Water Follies event, but it's too soon to tell whether it will lead anywhere.

From David Williams at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum: 2007 Gold Cup winning driver Dave Villwock will be the honored guest at this years Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum's Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, December 1st at 7:00 PM at the Museum. This marks the fifth year in a row that we have been honored with a visit from the reigning Gold Cup Champion.

The Annual Membership Meeting is an important event. It allows you a chance to hear about our achievements from 2007 and our goals for 2008. We hand out our year end awards, and you get a chance vote on the make up of the board of directors.

The event starts at 7:00 PM with a lasagna dinner, followed by a special presentation by Dave Villwock. At 8:30 we will hold our board of directors election followed by our volunteer awards. Cost is only $10, and that includes dinner.

We're putting the finishing touches on a great video piece wrapping up the entire season for the ABRA awards presentation in Las Vegas later this month. After it plays at the event, we'll post it here on-line.

Audio and scripting comes from Steve Montgomery. Video and photos from KNDU-TV, KIRO-TV, KING-TV, Focused TV, Spokane Sports Television, Mike Fetscher, Kirk Duncan, Jack Lowe and Dave Mabry will be in the video presentation. KNDU's Jim Tippett is doing the editing. Thanks to all of them, plus the host of others that contributed greatly to all year long.

The Scioto Riverfest in Columbus, OH has been canceled for good apparently. The weekend event on the Olentangy River, which runs past Ohio State University into downtown Columbus, was scrubbed by the city. The event featured a mix of boat racing, river hot rods, and water skiing exhibitions.

Chip Hanauer: "I wouldn't change one thing. I've been so lucky. I've been fortunate enough to live life almost exactly on my own terms. I just feel really, really lucky."

Read more in an in-depth interview by the Seattle Times from 2004 >>

Or check out Chip's website >>

According to Fred Farley, Bernie Little's boats participated in 354 Unlimited hydroplane races between 1963 and 2002, finishing in the top-3 an astonishing of 230 times. That includes a record 134 victories, 14 APBA Gold Cups and 22 World High Points Championships.

Read the 40 year history of Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser by Fred Farley >>

Elmore Buringrud , former Miss Thirftway Too crew chief, passes away. Seattle Times article >>

Build your own Formula Boats on-line. Pick your boat model, engine, colors, and options and customize it any way you want.
My build-a-boat included dock-side cable TV plug-ins of course. Price tag? $385, 640. A little too rich for my Christmas list...

Customize your Formula Boat >>

VIDEO: Greg Hopp's UL-1 flip and aftermath at Port Angeles. To view ULHRA video>>

Again this year, we'll be live blogging the ABRA Awards, this time from Las Vegas. So if you can't attend, we'll have updates throughout the night on this blog, literally within seconds of the announcements on November 27th.