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5 Unlimited Lights, 3 Lighter than LIGHTS and 2 vintage boats are scheduled to test on April 17 in Seattle. Kayleigh Perkins will be testing the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric and Vince Xaudaro should have the newly re-furbished UL-929 ready to go (among others).

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HydroInsider.com said...

Five Unlimited Light Hydroplanes along with three Lighter than LIGHTS teams and two vintage hydroplanes will keep the waters of Lake Washington busy for three hours on Thursday, April 17th. It's ULHRA's annual Spring Training test session, in conjunction with the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum, and Seafair.

Leading the way in this test session will be 19 year old Kayleigh Perkins of Black Diamond WA driving the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric. In 2007 as a rookie in Unlimited Lights racing, Ms. Perkins became the first woman to win in Unlimited Lights' racing. She also earned the 2007 Drivers Title and Rookie of the Year while drawing a huge fan following.

Perkins, along with the rest of the attending ULHRA fleet will be getting set for the season opener for ULHRA teams. That occurs just 8 days later, April 25 - 27 near Phoenix AZ at Firebird International Raceway.

Spring Training will be held at the Stan Sayres Pit Area on Lake Washington at Seattle.

Joining the UL-72 team will be a new collaboration; a melding of two teams as Vince "X-Man" Xaudaro tests his "new" UL-929. Xaudaro, from Bellevue WA has teamed with Jim & Karon Wilmot and their UL-21 hull from Issaquah WA for a new assault for the top rung of the Unlimited Lights ladder. Xaudaro's previous ride, the "all black, all the time" UL-929 was knocked out of competition in a spectacular crash last August that ripped away both sponsons. Xaudaro says his veteran hull will return to competition but not till 2009. At the time of the accident Xaudaro was leading the Unlimited Lights points race. Since his UL series debut in 2001 Xaudaro, a native of Kennewick WA, has finished 2nd or 3rd in High Points three times.

Wil Muncey is another driver looking to make a strong move in the series point standings. The son of hydroplane racing legend Bill Muncey, Wil enters his third full season of Unlimited Lights racing with Muncey Racing's UL-00 Trafficade with two years of 8th place finishes in Driver Points. Last year's performance level of the team stepped up, but mechanical reliability suffered just a bit plus Muncey had 3 violent spins in the smaller hull. Hardware improvements and the addition of the second, larger hull has the competitive fire in Muncey burning even hotter in 2008. This year the team has two hulls from which to choose, on a race to race basis.

The Muncey team will be testing both hulls at Spring Training; their familiar ex UL-83 dubbed "The Little Boat that Could" and their 2007 acquisition, the former UL-23 Pegasus last campaigned by J.W. Myers in 2002. The 25 foot hull will be used on the bigger courses this season, including the Ted Jones race course at Seattle in August and at the second race of the season, Desert Thunder II, May 17 & 18 at Richland WA. The smaller hull will open the season at Phoenix.

Rounding out the Unlimited Lights testing fleet will be the new team of Buckley, Washington's Darren Bartels. The UL-11 Miss Executif III, a supercharged hydroplane which was a winning and record setting Grand Prix hull back east, will be driven in 2008 by Michael Flaherty of Bonney Lake WA, a 4 time Unlimited Lights race winner. Flaherty is joined by his father and Technical Advisor John Flaherty, and Crew Chief Scott Main. All 3 worked together when Michael won four events driving the UL-72 in 2005 and 2006 and they know what it takes to successfully compete in ULHRA.

On the Lighter than LIGHTS side 3 teams will be on hand, including 2 time defending LTL 8 cylinder stock champion Bud McKay and his E-10 Geico Insurance/Namron Racing Team entry. McKay will be joined by two teams from owners Barry and Paul Eacret, the S-6 Lil' Miss Boat Electric and the S-36, both in the 4 cylinder stock category.

Two vintage Unlimiteds will also be testing: the restored 1962 Miss Bardahl to be driven by owner Dixon Smith, and the Vashon built 1955 replica Miss Thriftway.

Pits open at 8:00am. Boats will go into the water starting at 10:30am and testing will commence at 11:00am, ending at 2:00pm per regulations. The event is sanctioned by the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association, Inc. and the public is invited to attend. Parking restrictions will be enforced.

Source: John Lynch
P.R. Director and "Voice" of ULHRA Racing