Australian Hydroplane driver dies after high-speed powerboat race crash

Daryl Hamilton, a highly experienced powerboat competitor who had competed successfully across a range of classes, has died in hospital after a high-speed crash on Kogarah Bay.

Hydroplane driver dies after high-speed powerboat race crash >>
Sail World

Hydros in Tri-Cities: One of America's 101 Greatest Parties

In his new book, "Party Across America: The Ultimate Travel Guide to the 101 Greatest Parties in the Country," author Michael Guerriero highlights unlimited hydroplane racing in the Tri-Cities as one of the top parties across the country.

In an interview with 77 Square, an online publication of Madison's Capital Newspapers, Guerriero did a little Q and A on the subject:

Q: You chose some outrageous ones: The World's Largest Disco in Buffalo and hydroplane races in Washington.

A: "There were 30 or 40 standards, such as the Indianapolis 500. But I asked friends who asked friends who asked friends to name off-the-beaten path celebrations."

Red, white and brew: partying across America >>
77 Square

"There has been much discussion on how this sport should conduct its start," said ABRA Race Chairman Sam Cole. "The flying, timed start has always been a major part of our sport and we knew we needed to keep that intact. But the changes in technology and how the boats perform at lower speeds has made all of us look at the milling portion of our start procedure."

Sam Cole on

ABRA details new starting procedure, lane assignments rules >>

Best Photo of the Night from ABRA Awards

Photos provided by ABRA Photographer of the Year James Crisp

This picture speaks for itself.

ABRA Awards: More Photos

Photos provided by ABRA Photographer of the Year James Crisp

Sam Cole and Steve David presented keys to the city of Madison

ABRA Awards: More Photos

Photos provided by ABRA Photographer of the Year James Crisp

Best Team Website: U-3

Race Site of the Year: Tri-Cities

Rookie of the Year: Kip Brown

Owner of the Year: Greg O'Farrell, U-48/U-50

ABRA Awards: More Photos

Photos provided by ABRA Photographer of the Year James Crisp

Officials of the Year: The Pattons

The Oberto team

The Oberto team
High Point Driver: Steve David

Chairman's Award: Fred Leland


Photos provided by ABRA Photographer of the Year James Crisp
Larry Oberto, Steve David, Art Oberto, Charlie Grooms team

Crew Chief of the Year: Mike Hanson

Excellence Award: Art Oberto

ABRA Awards: Photographer of the Year

ABRA Photographer-of-the-Year:
James Crisp

VIDEO: ABRA Awards Ceremony and Meetings

Watch video of the Awards Ceremony >>

ABRA Awards: National High Points Driver, Team

National High Points Championship - Driver
Steve David, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

"In 41 years of boat racing, I never competed against a higher caliber of racing colleagues. I'm honored to race with you guys," said U-6 driver Steve David. "Driving for Madison reminds me we need to honor our past, be thankful for what we presently have, and be hopeful for the future."

"You can't win the National Driver's championship without a great crew."

David said he's 55 now and "I don't think I've got maybe more than 40 or 50 years of driving left."

National High Points Championship - Team
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Mike King: "It only takes 47 years to become an overnight sensation."

"It's been a wonderful ride," said U-6's Charlie Grooms. "We look forward to next year."

"Thanks to the Obertos," Grooms said. "We've had a lot of sponsors in the history of Miss Madison, but none of the family values and family attitude of the Obertos. Let's have fun." Grooms announced they have signed their contract for 2009.
"We love racing against all of you," said Larry Oberto. "Can't wait for next year."

ABRA Awards: Crew Chief, Rookie of the Year

Crew Chief of the Year:
Mike Hanson, U-6

Rookie of the Year:
Kip Brown, U-17

ABRA Awards: Race Site, Owner, Crew of the Year

Chairman's Award:
Fred Leland

Race Site of the Year:
Tri-City Water Follies

Owner of the Year:
Greg O'Farrell, U48 & U-50

First full year with the U-50 Navy boat and they made the championship heat in every event.

Crew of the Year:, Ted Porter (Owner) Mark Hooton (Crew Chief)

Awards of Excellence

Award of Excellence:
Art Oberto

Fans Choice Award:
Gregory Family, on behalf of Kim Gregory

Official of the Year Award:
Wes and Diane Patton, Seattle

Mike King: This is important

It's the only sport that gives something back to everyone, said ABRA awards ceremony host Mike King. The advances in technology that are made on behalf of race teams in auto racing and boat racing create a safer environment for everyone.

"Football gives us nothing. Baseball gives us nothing. Hockey gives us nothing. It's great entertainment," said host Mike King. "This is important. Racing matters in this world."

ABRA Awards - Marketing, Special Contributions,

Marketing Excellence Awards

  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Oh Boy! Oberto, Larry Oberto
  • US Navy
  • Lamb Weston
  • Chrysler Jeep
  • San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Chevrolet

Special Contributions to the Sport Awards

  • Billy and Jane Scumacher
  • Dave Bartush
  • Jim Simpson

Outstanding Contributions to the Sport Awards

  • Race Marketing Partners, Ken Muscatel
  • Boeing

"The Boeing Company has stepped up in a huge way," said Dr. Ken Muscatel. "It's more than just money. You love the boat, you love the sport. They're very committed. The Bio-Jet A is a big initiative for Boeing. They're going to be with us for a long, long time."

Mayor of Madison gives key to Steve David, Sam Cole

Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong handed over keys to the city to U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto / Miss Madison driver Steve David for the National Championship win and for being a "great ambassador for the city of Madison."

Sam Cole (pictured right) was also honored by Mayor Armstrong for his committment to the sport and to the city of Madison.

Live Blogging the 2008 ABRA Awards - First set of awards

Season Newspaper Coverage:
Madison Courier

Race Event Newspaper Coverage:
Seattle Times

Season Radio Coverage:
WORX Radio, Madison

Race Event Radio Coverage:
KONA Radio, Tri-Cities, WA

Season Television Coverage:
KNDU-TV, Tri-Cities, WA

Television Production/Live Race Day Coverage:
KIRO-TV. Seattle, WA

Magazine Coverage:
Powerboat Magazine

Best Magazine Article:
H20 Full Throttle, Bill Osbourne

Best Internet Website:

Best Team Website:
U-3 Racing, Kirk Duncan

Best Race Website:
DDRA Detroit

Sports Writer of the Year:
Gordon Englehardt, Evansville Courier-Press

Reaction to new starting procedures

ABRA announced it will used assigned lanes for 2009.

Read details >>

Ken Muscatel: "Some of these trolling starts have been perceived as a problem. Going back to procedures we used in the past might be a little more positive and even more competitive."

ABRA Growth Plan

ABRA's Sam Cole: "Within five years, (we'd like to be) adding 5 or 6 events in North America and 5 or 6 abroad."

ABRA announces Chief Referee for 2009

"No layoffs at ABRA," said Sam Cole. There's still a staff of one. Sam was re-affirmed as Chairman of ABRA with Ken Muscatel as Asst. Chairman. "He declined," joked Sam, "but then accepted."

Mike Noonan was retained as Chief Referee. Cole also said they expect referees to do "a better job of calling thigns in black and white.”

ABRA aligned with APBA/UIM

"We have voted today to create a new allegiance with APBA," said Sam Cole. They are still working out details. "We would not be a class or category within APBA, but will be aligned with them which will allow us to qualify for the UIM designation."

ABRA: One minute clock, Fuel Flow changes

ABRA has announced it will keep the one minute clock for 2009. They are also reducing fuel flow from 4.3 to 4.1 to help exgtend the life of equipment. No change to the N2.

ABRA: New starting procedures

ABRA announces new starting procedures. For 2009, lanes will be assigned for heats. In heat 1A and 1B, final qualifying order will determine the first choice of lanes. “We'll do the draw at each race,” said ABRA's Sam Cole. “The top qualifier will have first choice of lane assignment, the second will get the next pick, etc.”

In Heat 2A and 2B, lane assignments will be based on reverse order from finish in the first set of heats. In other words, the winner of Heat 1A or 1B will pick last in Heat 2A or 2B.
In Heat 3A and 3B, choices will be based on points earned in the first two heats with final qualifying order determining ties.

PHOTOS: Madison celebrates U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison championship

PHOTOS: James Crisp

Tony Steinhardt, right, listens while Charlie Grooms holds his phone to the mic allowing Bob Hughes to speak to the 200 people attending the party which celebrated the Oberto/Madison championship. Hughes, calling from Florida, expressed his desire to be there with the crowd which included members of several race teams, ABRA officials and many current and past Miss Madison/ Oh Boy! Oberto crew members.

Driver Steve David firmly held the Championship trophy. David spoke to the crowd about racing and his love for the city of Madison. Always a crowd favorite, David signed autographs and posed for photos for those in attendance.

Current Oberto crew chief Mike Hanson, center, spoke to the gathered crowd about his crew and introduced all those on hand.

Webster Racing Update 2-10

Work continues at the Reading, PA racing shop of Mike Webster. The U-22 Unlimited Hydroplane is taking shape in the transformation from the piston power to the turbine configuration. Mike writes in an email:

Hardware continues to be engineered and made for the U-22 hull. Progress has been consistent and the team is eager to see how everything will perform this season.

For more pictures about the progress of Webster Racing, visit their website here.

ABRA Banquet, Awards to be streamed live by

Live video streaming from the ABRA general meeting on Saturday afternoon can be seen on Then you can see all the award winners, as they are announced, on

The Live Streaming can also been seen on as well. >>

Brett Niddrie is the new UIM World GP Hydroplane World Champion

American import, J.Michael Kelly, driving the legendary Peter Knight Snr boat ‘The Boss’ notched a well-deserved third (877) points.

Brett Niddrie is the new UIM World GP Hydroplane World Champion >>

Will Evansville support two boat race events?

One thing we learned during the community discussion was that Thunder has a strong corps of devoted fans here and elsewhere. When we raised the question about the future of Thunder in Evansville, we were surprised at the widespread support expressed for the race.

So, perhaps the new Thunder on the Ohio will be a success; we wish its backers nothing but success.

Racing on the river The Issue: Now, two boat races are possible. Our View: Will community support both events? >>

ULHRA will have one race in Tri-Cities, WA this year instead of two

Last year, ULHRA had two Unlimited Lights events in the Tri-Cities, this year they will race just one at the Water Follies, which also featured the ABRA Unlimited Hydroplanes vying for the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.

SOURCE: Tri-City Herald

J. Michael Kelly finishes strong in UIM World GPs

Kelly finished 3rd in the world in the New Zealand races for the UIM World Grand Prix Hydroplane championship. He posted two second place finishes on the final day and then won the Des Geddes Memorial race.

Full Story on >>

PHOTO: ~ Kelly's about to go in the water after winning the Des Geddes Memorial.

VIDEO: Evansville Freedom Festival still owes ABRA money

"We're still owed $50,000 out of $160,000," said Sam Cole of ABRA. "We've been working with them to try to get it settled up. I brought in 10 teams last year. They raced and risked their lives at over 200 miles per hour and at the end of the day I can't pay it."

Cole says the ABRA is negotiating an alternative with the festival board if they can't find the cash, but he's not happy with anyone. "We have been trying to buy the assets of the Freedom Festival in lieu of the debt they owe us and we would pay off some of the local creditors," Cole said. "But what's happened the past couple of days is what's muffed it all up is GAGE showing their true colors."


PHOTOS: J. Michael Kelly in practice runs in New Zealand

Photos courtesy of View more photos at >>

Reminder: You can watch the racing live on Sunday at

Watch JMK race live in the UIM World GP Championships

J. Michael Kelly is racing Peter Knights GP Hydro - The Boss here in New Zealand in the UIM World GP Hydro Champs. They raced a couple of weeks ago and are racing again tomorrow. You can watch the coverage of the days racing LIVE and free of charge on Speedbox. Its some awesome racing and includes all sorts of boats racing so take some time to check it out.

The link is:

Live coverage starts at 11.30am Sunday NZ time which is 2.30pm Saturday Pacific Coast Time in the USA.

JMK back in New Zealand

American unlimited hydroplane driver J Michael Kelly arrived for the first round in Tauranga and drove Peter Knight senior's boat, The Boss, which has not been on the grand prix racing scene for three years. Used to the bigger, more powerful unlimited hydroplanes where he has set 19 world records in the past four years, Kelly (127 points) has not taken long to adapt to the smaller grand prix hydroplane. And, since flying back to New Zealand on Thursday he has made some changes to have the boat ready for tomorrow's finals.

Big boys and toys to roar at Karapiro >>

ABRA's Sam Cole reacts to announcement that F1 boat races being held in Evansville before Thunder on the Ohio

ABRA chairman Sam Cole was stunned by another boat race being held in Evansville before Thunder. “We’ll really have to sit back and take a look at this at our board meeting in Madison (Ind., on Feb. 13-14),” Cole said. “I’m more disappointed than upset. We’re trying to preserve something that has happened in Evansville for 30 years.”

F1 ChampBoats coming to Evansville June 20-21 >>

VIDEOS: More time lapse videos from James Crisp






First mate earns water wings

Transplanted New Zealander Paul Russell is living a childhood dream

"I just had to fulfill the dream of one day owning and driving a hydroplane," Russell said. "All of the boating community was so helpful." One member of that community was Terry Troxell, a four-time time Gold Cup winner who Russell described as "the Dale Earnhardt of boat racing." The two met, hit it off, and drove Russell's boat for a shakedown run.

First mate earns water wings >>

VIDEO: Chip Hanauer battles debilitating disorder

He’s a retired hydroplane legend who cheated death on the water and now battles a debilitating voice disorder. So why is Gold Cup champion Chip Hanauer back behind the wheel?

VIDEO: Seattle's City Stream >>

VIDEO: James Crisp Time Lapse

Time lapse photography of unlimited hydroplanes at Evansville's Thunder on the Ohio by James Crisp.

VIDEO: Qatar tour with ABRA

On-Site Qatar Video Footage - Courtesy ABRA
Dr. Ken Muscatel, Sam Cole, Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani