It's time for Fantasy Hydros...!

From our friends at deck2deck:  As the race teams have been busy preparing for the 2012 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane season, so has the crew at Deck2Deck! We invite you to stop by to see what's new in the world of fantasy hydroplane racing. You will find newly updated Deck2Deck Boat Bios for 2012, including HydroDan's predictions for the upcoming season. You'll also find an updated HydroBox Scorecard to help you score the races and track your fantasy point totals at home or on the river.

- The team

VIDEO: U-17 hits the water for testing in Tri-Cities

"The boat handled excellent. We didn't have to make any skid fin adjustments or rudder adjustments. It's a great boat. We were very, very good even here at Tri-Cities last year. We love coming out here and can't wait to do it again for the real thing. Having a successful test like this helps our confidence level undoubtedly. When we head to Madison we're going to have a full head of steam behind us and there's no stopping the U-17," driver Kip Brown said.

VIDEO:  Click for KNDU/ video >>

A bit of Controversy

A little bit of local controvery over the hydroplanes returning to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  Did you know that the residents of CDA have twice voted not to allow the hydros back into town after problems decades ago?  How did they get around it this time?  They moved the race course just outside the CDA city.

LINK:  Controvery over hydros >>

U-17 to get on the water for testing

This Saturday, June 23, the U-17 Miss Red Dot/Silver Cloud Inns unlimited hydroplane will be testing on the Columbia River in preparation for the upcoming H1/Air National Guard unlimited hydroplane circuit.

New rule changes for 2012 season

Revisions to the rule book for the 2012 H1 Unlimited racing season include changes to the procedure for declaring the winner of a shortened event and the addition of GPS monitoring equipment to accurately track the position of each boat on the course.

Biggest change?  Minimum speed of 100 mph during the 5 minutes before race start.  Big change!

Full details here.

News from the U-37 Camp

Beacon Plumbing is back as a sponsor.  So is J. Michael Kelly as driver.  And it's a return to the U-37 designation for Schumacher Racing.

Kelly said, “I am excited to get in the No. 37 Miss Beacon Plumbing this season.  The crew has made some major adjustments to the hull and of course we have some new bullet proof motors coming from Whispering Turbines.”  After the boat returned from Doha, Qatar it was discovered that the motor mounts and motor were miss-aligned and Kelly said he hopes with that correct it will give the Miss Beacon Plumbing some additional speed.

Madison Race Schedule announced

Race schedule for Lucas Oil/Madison Regatta is available.  Click here to view.

More details on the Return of hydroplane racing to Idaho

"The course that we’ve laid out will provide us with a 200 mile-per-hour course, which is pretty exciting," said Doug Miller, the President and Race Director of the Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup Regatta. "We have been working on bringing the races back for the past three years and we are ecstatic to see it come to fruition." It will be a two mile oval. The event will be held on Labor Day weekend. This year, it will feature exhibitions from H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes and Vintage Hydroplanes as well as GP racing. "When we were picking a site, we’re looking for a permanent one," said Sam Cole, representing H1 Unlimited. "We don’t want just a one-year event, we are looking to for long term partners with vision and a love for Hydroplanes."

2012 Unlimited Hydroplane race schedule

  • July 6-8 Madison, IN
  • July 13-15 Detroit, MI
  • July 27-29 Tri-Cities, WA
  • August 3-5 Seattle, WA
  • September 14-15 San Diego, CA
  • November 8-10 Doha, Qatar

New paint scheme for U-1 Spirit of Qatar hydroplane for 2012

Changes to U-17 for 2012

The U-17 will have a noticeable change for the 2012 Unlimited Hydroplane racing season. The Miss Red adopt will lose the experimental "scoop shaped" cowling it's used the last few years and go, instead, with a more conventional shaped cowling.

VIDEO: Cockpit Cam in U-88

Scott in the 88 Degree Men cockpit from J Simpson on Vimeo.

VIDEO: U-88 first run in 2012

Rear wing camera view of first run from J Simpson on Vimeo.

U-37 hydroplane gets student makeover

The U-37 hydroplane is getting the 2012 paint job done by Seattle college students. LINK: Photos and story >>

Hydroplanes tested new technology on the Columbia River

H1 Unlimited boats tested a new GPS unit on the Columbia River in Pasco, WA. The U-11 Peters and May & U-88 Degree Men had first crack at the Columbia River.

The GPS unit was in the boat and the base unit was on land for H1 officials. They use it to track boat speed. They want to keep the boats from driving up to the starting line slowly and waiting until the flag drops. The U-11 and Craig Kairis of GPS Flight helped to develop the new program.

"This is just a device that will transmit to the race officials what the speed of the boats are, the speed they're traveling at. There's been a trend developing where the boats are getting slower and slower as they jockey for position, which isn't really exciting for the fans. So with this device we're going to determine a minimum speed limit," U-11 driver JW Myers said.

Like Couer d'Alene, Idaho exhibition and race?

Unlimited Hydroplane are headed back to Couer d'Alene, Idaho after a long absence. H1 Unlimited announced they will bring five boats for an exhibition Labor Day weekend in September this year.

Longtime fans will remember the Diamond Cup, which ran at Lake CDA for years. They will bring back the Diamond Cup name and make it an H1 Unlimited and APBA (American Power Boat Association) sanctioned event. Sources report that next year the Diamond Cup will be a full race.

HYDROINSIDER ARCHIVE VIDEO:   For your enjoyment, the 1959 Diamond Cup race!

Jimmy Shane will drive the U-5 this season.

U-100 will race in 2012

Despite the death of team owner Fred Leland, U-100 will campaign this season.  "Fred wanted us to continue after he was gone, " said U-100 driver Greg Hopp.  "He had a plan."

Columbia River debris damages Hydroplanes during testing

Debris on the Columbia River damaged the U-88 Degree Men hydroplane . The area is in spring runoff. The river is running high and dirty with sticks and tumbleweeds. I affected the final run for Scott Liddycoat. Also the U-11 Peters & My and Myers discovered it had gear box damage after a full run. Meanwhile the U-88 suffered minor propeller shaft bearing damage.

"Everything was feeling pretty good. We were working out some issues all morning and got it running well, and it seems like we hit something. I felt it hit and the vibration follows. To be on the safe side, we shut it down and towed it in, take a look at everything, and hopefully don't do more damage," Liddycoat said.


Hydros arrive for Columbia River testing

H1 Unlimited hydroplanes have arrived. Thursday the Degree Men and Peters & May teams started their testing on the Columbia River for the H1 Unlimited Air National Guard Series. The U-88 of Scott Liddycoat the and U-11 of JW Myers rolled up to the Lampson Pits. Both teams will be there through Friday. They say they are excited to be back to the river by the Blue Bridge for the first time since last year's Lamb Weston Columbia Cup.

"Yeah, first time back. Actually I'm glad to be back here because I felt like this was my worst race of the year last year. So I'm looking forward to getting an extra couple of laps out there tomorrow," Liddycoat said.

"You know we're really excited about going testing. We did a lot of work on the Peters & May boat over the winter. We've got a few things that we've tried that are a little different, and just work the bugs out. The sooner we get things sorted out, the better for the beginning of the season," Myers added.


Mark & Mitch Evans are now owners

Veteran Air National Guard Hydroplane Series driver Mark Evans and his brother, Mitch, can add another title to their résumés—team owners.

The Evans brothers announced Monday they have purchased the U57 Unlimited Hydroplane from Ted Porter of Precision Performance LLC of Decatur, Ind., along with the truck, trailer, engines, gearbox and propellers. They took possession of the race boat this weekend in their hometown of Lake Chelan, Wash.  "I just love the sport and I love driving this boat," said Mark Evans, who has 10 career race victories. "I was shocked when my brother (Mitch) wanted to be part of this. That sealed the deal for me."

The purchase price was not disclosed but Mark said the team will race under the Formula Boats banner for the foreseeable future. The team plans to run the entire United States circuit with the goal of qualifying for the season-ending Oryx Cup UIM World Championships in Doha, Qatar. The U57 hull is the same boat Mark campaigned for Ted Porter in 2011.

Mark is the primary driver with his brother, Mitch, serving as the crew chief. John Walcker of Chelan is acting as team manager. Crew members will include Tony Scharf of Wenatchee, Wash., Paul LaMarre and Bill Guckian of Detroit, Josh Culver from the Tri-Cities, Wash., and Dave Lemon and Bianca Bononcini from the Seattle area.

Mark Evans has driven numerous Unlimiteds in his long career and likes the hull, which is why he decided to acquire it. Porter announced in January he was putting his team's three boats up for sale.  "It's a good fit for me," Evans said of the hull. "I like the way it handles and I am confident we can get another 5 to 10 percent out of the performance and be a little more competitive."

"I didn't want to get too excited until the boat actually got here," he added. "But when I saw it coming up the driveway it was a real rush. Mitch and John and I are very excited about making the circuit with the 57 and the great team we have put together."

Hydro Racing in China?!?

H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing and Beijing Kingolym Culture Communications Ltd. have entered into an agreement that could bring the world's fastest boats to China as soon as fall 2012.

The announcement comes after recent meetings between H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole, Chinese Motorboat Association General Secretary Wan Hongjun and Beijing Kingolym President Zhengmin Shi to lay the groundwork for establishing an H1 presence in China. Although much work needs to be done to make this a reality, Cole and Shi agreed that the public awareness of the plan is essential.

"We are excited about engaging Beijing Kingolym to make this expansion happen," Cole said. "They have worked with boat racing in the past, have the support of the leadership of the Chinese Motorboat Association and have opened an office in Beijing to take this to the next level."

Cole acknowledged that there are several hurdles to clear:

• A working agreement with UIM to allow for additional international events

• Changes in shipping procedures for the teams; converting to containers

• Invitations from the appropriate municipalities in China for the exact race location(s)

• Scheduling resolution within the H1 Unlimited series

• Ensuring no conflicts with the UIM World Championship Oryx Cup event in Doha, Qatar