Detroit 2007 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing: U-16 Dave Villwock wins the Gold Cup - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Detroit 2007 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing: U-16 Dave Villwock wins the Gold Cup

U-16 Photo: Jim Simpson U-16 Photo: Jim Simpson
Photo - Jack Lowe Photo - Jack Lowe

DETROIT, Mich. - Dave Villwock went out and made it three-for-three for 2007, winning Madison, Evansville, and now Detroit.  He served notice in Heat 1A, winning the first heat of day.  Then he won his next two heats to lead the pack into the finals. 

Detailed results of Heat 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B >>
    Includes racing action and driver interviews

Villwock was leading in the finals when Mike Allen in the U-1 went 360+ degrees and landed upside down, shutting down the course.  Allen was brought back to shore by rescue crews and pronounced in stable condition.

Read the full story on Allen's flip and treatment >>

Since three laps hadn't been completed, it wasn't an official race.  That prompted a re-start.  Since the U-1 wasn't able to continue, that put the U-3 and Jimmy King in the front row and J. Michael Kelly moved from alternate-to-trailer-front row when the U-5 could not make the re-start.

Detroit Gold Cup Final Results

  1. U-16 Dave Villwock - 147.687 mph
  2. U-6 Steve David 0 146.526 mph
  3. U-13 J. Michael Kelly - 142.56 mph
  4. U-25 Greg Hopp (subbing for Ken Muscatel) - 125.841

DNF.  U-3 Jimmy King
DNS.  U-5 Jeff Bernard

Kelly led the racers across the start line, but Villwock grabbed the lead before the first turn.  Steve David grabbed second and tried to make it a race, but Villwock ran away with the Gold Cup.   It was Villwock's 54th win.

"I would have to say this was the best," Villwock said of his 6th Gold Cup win. "This one was really special."  For team owner Erick Ellstrom, it his first Gold Cup trophy.  "Many owners have raced for 25 years and never won the Gold Cup," said Ellstrom. 

It was also a bittersweet win for the Miss Elam team.  Ellstrom's mother Kerstin passed away on July 11.  "She was the type who would bring us cookies and always be around," said Villwock.  "She died on 7/11 and today we ran the 7/11 propeller and won the Gold Cup.  I don't think we'll ever run that prop again."

The third place finish for the U-13 Spirit of Detroit team was huge.  Kelly didn't have enough points to make the finals, but put the boat on the water as an alternate in case someone couldn't make the start.  When the race was re-run, the U-1 could not start due to the flip.  That gave Kelly a place as the trailer.  When the U-5 couldn't get out of the pits, Kelly got moved up to the front row.  He finished 3rd in a race he wasn't even supposed to run.


Ellstrom Elam team celebrates the win at Detroit. VIDEO: Dan Brandon