VIDEOS: Qualifying, Dave Villwock, Mike Hanson

VIDEO: Hydros qualifying at Seafair Friday >>

VIDEO: Dave Villwock talks about racing at Seafair >>

VIDEO: Mike Hanson talks about U-6 >>

VIDEO: U-787 test on Lake Washington

Chip Hanauer takes the U-787 out for a test run before heading to Seafair.

Media Roundup

Jeff Bernard, Brian Perkins churn up-and-coming hydro wakes >>

U-787 hydroplane born in Ballard >>

Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum >>

Jets and hydros in town for Seafair weekend >>

Hydro Photo Slideshow >>

U-13 update

Just back from the U-13 pits where we found out that the Graham Trucking Spirit of Detroit suffered a broken short shaft on its run during the Friday afternoon session. The prop was lost.

J. Michael Kelly reported a minor vibration and that the turbine engine freewheeled just before he shut it down.

The team is pulling that motor and will evaluate if there was any damage to the boat this evening. From a casual glance, there doesn't appear to be any damage, except the broken short shaft and lost prop.

We'll be on top of the story first thing in the morning, and we'll provide anything that seems appropriate during the evening.

Until tomorrow...good day from Seattle.

Course is closed for Friday

The Ted Jones Memorial Race Course is now closed for qualifying and testing for the day. We'll run down to the U-13 pits and see if we can't get an update on what happened with JMK's run a little while ago and be right back to update you before we call it a night.

U-37 speeds Friday afternoon

The U-37 Beacon Plumbing has officially made its first appearance on the water now, after extensive repairs at the shop in Interbay. The boat looks good, and seems to be responding well to Jean Theoret's driving.

Lap 1 - 147.088
Lap 2 - 148.361
Lap 3 - 147.904

  • Word in the pits is that the damage to the U-37's right "shoe" last week in Tri-Cities was due to a hole in the non-trip that eventually broke apart and destroyed the shoe. The prop blade that broke broke through the left fairing and ended up at the bottom of the Columbia River.
  • Billy Schumacher Racing Team has been a generous sponsor of three races on the Electric Radio Controlled Unlimiteds circuit, providing ERCU with support to share with fans and racers.
  • Schumacher himself was an unlimited hydroplane pilot in the late 1960s and early 1970s, having won both national championships and Gold Cups.

U-1 speeds Friday afternoon

The bright orange U-1 Ellstrom presents Amos W. Hoss is now on the race course for another test.

Lap 1 - 150.760
Lap 2 - 153.022 (fastest lap of all qualifying sessions today)
Lap 3 - returned to the pits without completing the third lap

  • Before this run, Dave Villwock only recorded three laps in the two morning sessions.
  • The Miss Boeing U-787 arrived in the pits this morning due to some display duty at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum last night during the museum's Annual Gala and Auction. It looked good, running on biofuel, as the first boat out in this afternoon's session.
  • The U-37 is out next.

U-48 Speeds Friday afternoon

Well, now. Here's a surprise. We were told by a U-48 Lakeridge Paving crew member earlier today that they would not be able to run the boat this afternoon, but the beautiful green, yellow and black boat is currently on the water.

David Williams did not complete a lap on the clock. We suspect he was probably just getting a feel for the repairs that were made to the boat this past week and today.

  • Repairs on the U-48 were completed this week at its shop in Maple Valley, and the new rudder bracket looks good.

U-100 speeds Friday afternoon

For the first time this weekend, the U-100 is on the water. Greg Hopp got the boat up on plane quickly from the West side of the pits, and right out on to the course. Well done by the U-100 team, which arrived earlier in the afternoon.

Lap 1 - 134.839
Lap 2 - 136.425
Lap 3 - 104.431

  • Greg Hopp is in his 10th season in the unlimiteds. He was the rookie of the year in 1999. That year he finished first or second in six of 15 heats entered.
  • Hopp holds the all-time career record for race wins in the Unlimited Lights ranks.
  • This hull was in a TV commercial that was never seen in the United States. It was shot for a Japanese beer company, and involved three of Fred Leland's boats. The ad was shot in San Diego.
  • Fred Leland built three of the 14 boats in the pits this weekend, and they are all situated together in the west side of the pits (U-100, U-48, U-50).

U-6 speeds in the afternoon session

The U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto is now on the course, as defending champion of the Chevrolet Cup.

Lap 1 - 146.639
Lap 2 - 148.975
Lap 3 - 148.606

  • Steve David is one of three different winners on the 2008 ABRA circuit. He won the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup last week in Tri-Cities. Jeff Bernard won in Madison with the U-5, and Jean Theoret won in the season opener at Evansville with the U-37 Beacon Plumbing.
  • The boat looks fast and stable.
  • David bumped up his fastest speed of the weekend on his second lap of this session.

U-17 speeds Friday afternoon

Kip Brown is now out in the U-17. Uncle Nate Brown (owner) drove the boat this morning, but Kip is out there now.

Lap 1 - 135.884
Lap 2 - 137.137
Lap 3 - 131.680

  • Seafair PA Announcer Mark Allen made a very nice "get well" announcement this afternoon for Roger Newton. We'll be sure to provide updates on Roger's condition as we get them.
  • Kip's lap of 135.884 was his fastest lap ever, until his second lap of this run, when he bumped it up a couple of miles per hour.
  • Gary Hansen, a vice president at Red Dot, was seen in a Red Dot Racing Team uniform this afternoon, tickled by the fact that the three boats his team is sponsoring are all next to one another in the pits. He even quipped, "if I could find a way to get the name on the other red boat (the U-3, just south of the U-5), we'd have all four of the boats in this part of the pits."

U-13 Graham Trucking afternoon speeds

Here's the first look today at the U-13, driven by J. Michael Kelly. They'll likely just feel out the repairs.

Lap 1 - 143.363
Lap 2 - went dead in the water on the back stretch.

  • JMK took a long, slow lap, the first time around, undoubtedly to make sure everything felt just right before bringing it up to speed after going on the clock.
  • J. Michael Kelly has been racing boats since he was 9 years old.
  • The U-13 is running today with its salt water snorkel to see if it helps give the boat a better ride.
  • After finishing his first lap, and going around the south turn, the U-13 went dead in the water, and JMK popped the canopy. He's OK, but we'll have to see what the issue is with the boat. We're told the team has just one engine for this weekend's race.

U-10 speeds Friday afternoon

David Bryant is next up in the afternoon session.

Lap 1 - 145.451
Lap 2 - 147.450
Lap 3 - 147.176

  • The wind has persisted out of the southwest all day, but the water doesn't seem to be too badly affected by it. In fact, the water looks better this afternoon than it did this morning, and speeds seem to be showing it.
  • There's a familiar sound of a trailer firing coming from the U-37 pits. They're going to try and make it in to today's session.
  • The U-17 is in the water, as is the U-6 and the U-1.
  • The U-100 has also trailer fired and is just now getting slings attached to it.

U-7 speeds in afternoon session

Jimmy Shane in the U-7 in the Friday afternoon session.

Lap 1 - 127.977
Lap 2 - 131.894
Lap 3 - 126.756

  • The team made adjustments to Jimmy's canard during the long afternoon break, and were hoping for faster speeds than the morning session. Looks like the adjustments helped at least a little.
  • Before this afternoon's session, the Formula Boats team took a lot of testing laps. Jeff Bernard had run 11 laps this morning; while Jimmy Shane drove 7 this morning.

Afternoon session

We're playing a little catch up right now after loading those videos, so here are the first round of speeds for the 5 p.m. session.

Lap 1 - 130.863
Lap 2 - 134.586
Lap 3 - came back to the pits early

Lap 1 - I missed the speed. We'll try to find it and get back...but it was over 150.
Lap 2 - 151.521
Lap 3 - 150.034

Lap 1 - 128.893
Lap 2 - 122.688
Lap 3 - 135.577

U-7 is on the course right now.

Interview with Jeff Bernard

Here's a quick video interview with Jeff Bernard, driver of the U-5

Interview with Billy Schumacher

Here's a quick video interview with Billy Schumacher, owner of the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing.

Friday afternoon testing

We're getting ready to go with the afternoon session of testing for the unlimiteds.

  • There's a new engine going in the U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors Too.
  • The U-5 is hanging over the water.
  • The U-25 is in the water.
  • The U-37 crew is scrambling to get their boat ready to run during the 5 p.m. session.
  • The lights are just now finishing up their 4-5 p.m. session.
  • The U-10 is now being hoisted into the water as well.

Friday morning qualifying results

Here are the legal qualifying speeds for the boats that ran this morning.

U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors, David Bryant, 148.576
U-1 Ellstrom Elam Plus presents Amos W. Hoss, Dave Villwock, 148.270
U-5, Jeff Bernard, 148.270
U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors Too, Jimmy King, 147.299
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 146.726
U-50 Miss Albert Lee, Brian Perkins, 138.076
U-17 Our Gang Racing, Kip Brown, 135.142
U-7, Jimmy Shane, 128.342

Some photos from the Stan Sayres Pits

Granted...the quality of these photos isn't great. I took them with the camera in my phone, as I forgot my cord for downloading photos from my decent camera. But we're trying.
A get well message on the transom of the U-48 for crew member Roger Newton, who had a heart attack earlier this week and is still hospitalized in Kent. The team, and everyone in the pits, send Newton their best wishes.

The U-50 hanging over the water before today's late morning test session. Brian Perkins was the first on the water for that session.

Steve David (in the black hat to the right of center) is mobbed by friendly fans who sought his autograph outside the Oberto pits.

The U-100 is here!

The turbo Allison that was taken out of the U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors Too after the late morning testing run that ended at the end of a tow rope.

Formula Boats Team Manager Mark Hooten doing team manager duties.

Greg Hopp (in the blue and white shirt on the boat) helping get the U-100 set up for this weekend.

The U-37 is here!

Friday afternoon update

Unlimited activity didn't necessarily slow down just because the airshow started.

In the pits, most teams have been able to enjoy a lunch break and watch the Blue Angels and the other planes that have taken over the Lake Washington airspace.

Other teams, however, had a little work to do.

Over in the Go Fast Turn Left pits, it's a good news bad news situation. Repairs to the U-48 Albert Lee Appliances present Lakeridge Paving are finished after the rudder bracket came off in the Tri-Cities. Unfortunately however, while testing the steering, the team discovered that a pully bracket came unhooked, so they're feverishly thrashing to get it repaired. The team won't run today, but they have every intention to run on Saturday.

The U-50 Albert Lee Spirit of the Navy is in good shape. The team said they might try a different turbine in the U-50, just for the sake of testing the boat.

Next door at the U-100, the Leland Unlimited team is putting the boat together and preparing to hopefully run during the 5 p.m. session this afternoon. Driver Greg Hopp is among the team members working on the boat.

Down the way on the west side of the pits, the U-25 Procraft Windows team is still fighting with steering issues. There's a shorter rudder on the U-25 right now, and Dr. Ken Muscatel reports a severe flutter in the steering from his first time out earlier today. The team borrowed a rudder from another team to see if they could address the steering flutter by changing rudders.

Over at the U-13 pits, the team's driveline and gearbox parts arrived early this afternoon and the team is putting the boat together. The crew reports they only have one engine for this weekend's race. But all of the repairs from the Tri-Cities damage has been repaired and the boat is in good shape. Hopes are that the U-13 Graham Trucking Spirit of Detroit will be out on the water in this afternoon's session.

The U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing just arrived in the pits, and is being placed on the west side of the Stan Sayres pits, next door to the U-13. Repairs are finished, but you can see signs of the work they had to do. We'll check in with Billy Schumacher a little later to see if the team will make it on the water this afternoon, or wait until tomorrow.

At the point of the pits, the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto Miss Madison camp seems calm, and ready to go.

Around the bend, the U-1 Ellstrom Miss Elam Plus present Amos W. Hoss looks ready to run later this afternoon, and the U-787 Miss Boeing has slings connected to it, as the team appears to be preparing for an exhibition run, with Chip Hanauer at the wheel.

Nate Brown's U-17 team replaced an engine during the Blue Angels performance and things are otherwise calm in the Our Gang Racing Team pits.

Over at the Formula Boats pits, work has been finished up on some adjustments to the U-7's canard, as Jimmy Shane said he couldn't really put the hammer down in the straightaways during this morning's runs. Team manager Mark Hooten reported that everything seems good with the U-5, but they're looking for more speed out of the U-7.

Things were going so well at the U-5/U-7 pits that Hooten was spotted cleaning one of the team's trucks. "I'm the team manager," Hooten quipped with a smile, when he was asked how he drew that duty.

The U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors Too is making an engine change and currently still sits on the trailer without a turbocharged Allison in its motor mounts.

Things seem pretty quiet, too, over at the Hoss Mortgage Investors pits, where they're working on finding just the right prop to run later this afternoon.

1 p.m. in the pit tower

We're off to grab some lunch and make another pass through the pits, to see what stories we can bring you as the day continues.

Testing for the unlimiteds resumes at 5 p.m. (PDT).

U-3 update

Looks like another engine has gone bad in the U-3 camp.

When asked what happened during that last U-3 run, crew member John Walcker said, "Hmmm...Internal combustion." John did say, however, that the team does still have two more motors for Seattle, and they'll look in to whether they can fix this engine or not.

It was just being removed from the boat when we visited their pit.

Looks like they'll be back.

U-1 speeds

Defending national champion Dave Villwock in the U-1 Ellstrom Elam Plus presents Amos W. Hoss has gone out for a testing run.

Lap 1 - 143.392
Lap 2 - 148.270
Lap 3 - Not completed

  • The Elam is still carrying the fin on the back of its cowling.
  • The boat got a little bit squirrelly after crossing the start-finish line to begin its first lap.
  • Jeff Bernard still has the fastest-lap of the day at just over 149.
  • Course is closed now for the morning sessions, and Villwock returned to the pits after completing his second lap.
  • This is the end of the 11:45 session.
  • The airshow is up next, and the unlimiteds will return to the course at 5 p.m. today.

U-10 speeds (second time out in 11:45 session)

Speeds for David Bryant in his second run of the 11:45 a.m. session.

Lap 1 - 147.965
Lap 2 - 148.087
Lap 3 - not completed.

  • The U-10 has a very nice boat ride this time out.
  • Bryant ended his run after the second lap and cut the course to return to the pits.
  • The U-1 is being lowered into the water.


Strangely enough, we just finished about a five-minute lull in the action. But David Bryant just took the U-10 out again.

U-7 speeds

Jimmy Shane has the U-7 out for a run.

Lap 1 - 117.785
Lap 2 - 118.561
Lap 3 - 104.485

  • Jimmy seems to have been working on timing runs throughout that run.
  • This U-7 is the same boat that took fourth in the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup last week in Tri-Cities.
  • The boat was a little bit loose going down the front straight after completing the first lap.
  • The U-7 is the Formula Boats' team back up boat, and is a former U-10, purchased by Ted Porter from Kim Gregory during the offseason. The U-7 looks very similar to the "first-team" U-7, complete with the "new style" cowling that so many of the boats currently have. The hull was built by Jim Lucero, and won the 2004 Gold Cup.
  • Jimmy Shane holds seven world records in the inboards, and is regularly a member of the U-7 crew, when Mike Allen is driving the boat.
  • The U-10 is currently being lowered into the water again.

U-17 speeds

Nate Brown has taken the U-17 Our Gang Racing Team hull back out on to the course.

Lap 1 - 130.531
Lap 2 - 135.142
Lap 3 - not reported. We'll check on it and if we find it, we'll report it ASAP.

  • Nate Brown is driving the boat on a shakedown run, according to PA announcer Mark Allen, and also drove the boat in this morning's early session.
  • Kip Brown qualified as an unlimited driver last week in Tri-Cities.
  • 130.000 is the minimum speed allowed to qualify for the race.
  • The boat got a little light entering the first turn on his first lap.
  • It's only the third race this boat has run, since it was completed in 2007. It's the newest boat in the fleet (correcting our earlier statement that the U-6 is the newest boat in the fleet).
  • The U-100 of Fred Leland, driven by Greg Hopp, has just entered the pits, and is being prepared to enter its designated pit area for the weekend.
  • The U-7 Formula Boats is in the water awaiting a run, with Jimmy Shane at the helm. Mike Allen is expected to be in the pits this weekend to sign autographs.

U-10 speeds

Speeds for the U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors driven by David Bryant, in the 11:45 a.m. session.

Lap 1 - 145.246
Lap 2 - 148.392
Lap 3 - did not complete

  • Former Miss Budweiser crew member Jeff Campbell is "returning a favor" this weekend, serving the U-10 crew as the prop man for the weekend.
  • David Bryant seems to have a very good hand on what the U-10 is doing, and can do, again so far this weekend.
  • Bryant cut the course midway down the backstretch and returned to the pits after just two laps.

U-6 Speeds

Steve David has guided the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto onto the Ted Jones Memorial Race Course.

His speeds for the 11:45 a.m. session:
Lap 1 - Just over 95 mph, for a timing run

  • The Oberto is now returning to the pits.
  • After hammering the accelerator exiting the north turn, Steve slowed the boat to work on timing runs, cutting through the infield.
  • This is the newest boat in the fleet, and is the defending champ of the Chevrolet Cup at Seafair.
  • Steve David won last week's Lamb Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities.
  • The U-3 is back in the pits. We'll see what we can find out after this session and let you all know.
  • The U-17 just trailer fired. All sounded good.
  • The U-10 is up next and is currently entering the race course.

Friday's Schedule

The unlimiteds will be running today at:

8:30-9:30 a.m. - testing/qualifying
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - testing/qualifying
5-6 p.m. - testing/qualifying

The Blue Angels are flying from 1:30-2:30 over Lake Washington.

(All times are Pacific Daylight Time)

U-5 is now on the course

Speeds for the U-5 Formula Boats in the 11:45 a.m. session.

Lap 1 - 144.546
Lap 2 - 146.785
Lap 3 - 149.629 - fastest lap of the morning session.

  • Bernard is running a nice tight course around the buoy lines.
  • There are a couple of Blue Angels pilots in the pits. They arrived in two convertable Corvettes with a police escort.
  • The U-787 is trailer firing. Sounds good.
  • The wind is giving us a bit of a chop on the backstretch.
  • The U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors is being lowered into the water.

U-3 speeds

U-3 speeds for the 11:45 a.m. session

Lap 1 - 147.299
Lap 2 - The boat went dead in the water just after exiting the south turn.

  • Jimmy has popped the hatch and seems to be OK. He's checking out the engine well on either side of the huge Turbo Allison.
  • The patrol boat has gotten to Jimmy and he'll be hooked up coming back to the pits soon.
  • Each of the Allison engines that the Cooper team is using is more than 60 years old.
  • Not U-3 related, but the U-48 is currently trailer firing. Sounds good.

U-7 update

The U-7 will again be the back-up boat for Seafair, as it was in Tri-Cities. Jimmy Shane will be in the cockpit as well.

Shane picked up a 4th place in the Columbia Cup final for the team, racing in his first ever finals.

PHOTO: Archives, Shane with U-7 - James Crisp

U-50 speeds

U-50 speeds for the 11:45 session

Lap 1 - 137.350
Lap 2 - 110 plus
Lap 3 - 105.374

Brian Perkins seems to be getting his timing marks down for his starts.

This boat has a total of six race wins from its days in the Leland Unlmited stables.

The U-3 is just now entering the course.

This morning's delays

We apologize for this morning's delays in updating information. Should be a lot smoother going from now throughout the rest of the weekend.

We had some technical issues on the server side last night, but those issues have been worked out, and things seem to be working just fine today.

The U-50 is now on the course. Stay tuned for speeds.

Friday Late Morning Session

The 11:45 a.m. (PDT) session is about to begin, as patrol boats are headed back out to the course as we type. This session will be open for one hour, followed by a long airshow break that will include the Blue Angels.

  • The U-50 is hanging over the water
  • U-3 is also on the water, getting ready to run in this session.
  • The U-10 is making a rudder change, addressing some concerns driver David Bryant had after the first run.
  • Steve David was just sighted making many fans happy, having photos taken with him and signing autographs outside the pits by his boat.
  • The U-5 Formula Boats is currently being lowered into the water.

Friday in Seattle

A Friday morning update:

  • The U-48 is in the pits now, and all set up. They'll likely test in the session coming up at 11:45 a.m., as the rudder assembly has been repaired.
  • The U-787 is in the Ellstrom pits, and nearly set up. The fairings have been extended and the team is about to put the horizontal stabilizer on.
  • The U-37 and U-100, both still undergoing repairs after Tri-Cities, are still not in the pits, but both boats are expected to arrive today.
  • The weather is fine, so far, though considering it was supposed to rain this morning in Seattle. Unfortunately, however, there is a brisk wind coming out of the Southwest. So far, the wind hasn't given any of the boats any trouble, and the water is no worse than normal on Lake Washington.
  • The unlimited lights just finsihed their first test session of the day.
  • During the day's first boat action on the water, several unlimiteds went out between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Those boats included: U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors (David Bryant; 148.576); U-5 Formula Boats (Jeff Bernard; 148.270); U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto (Steve David; 146.726); U-3 Hoss Mortgage Investors (Jimmy King; 144.340); U-1 Ellstrom Elam Plus presents Amos W. Hoss (Dave Villwock; 139.985); U-50 Miss Albert Lee presents Spirit of the Navy (Brian Perkins; 138.076); U-17 Our Gang Racing (Kip Brown; 131.173).