MADISON 2009: Dave Villwock wins Unlimited Hydroplane racing season opener - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

MADISON 2009: Dave Villwock wins Unlimited Hydroplane racing season opener

PHOTOS:  Jim Simpson

The winningest active driver in the hydroplane ranks did it again, making it a perfect race weekend - top qualifier, sweeping three straight qualifying heats and winning the final.

A good start with four boats abreast crossing the start line.  Dave Villwock in the U-16 came out of the first turn in first place, but just ahead of U-5 and Jeff Bernard.

Villwock held the lead after the first lap with Bernard in second and U-7/J. Michael Kelly in third.  The U-5 went dead, adding to the U-16's lead.  Villwock took a rooster tail plus lead after pushing Kelly wide in the final turn of lap two.

It stayed pretty much that way for the rest of the race.  Steve David in the U-1 pushed past Bernard, who was able to get the boat re-started, but dropped back to 5th place.  Bernard lost power again in the final lap.

In the final turn, the U-3 was running third after making a big run to try to reel in Kelly.  The U-3 went dead in the water.  David moved up into third place. "We thought by starting as a trailer we would just conserve our equipment for next weekend's Detroit Gold Cup," U-1 driver Steve David said.  "There is a Madison legacy you have to live up to when you race here and you have to do a good job.  I was happy to see I was picking them off."

Bernard moved into 4th and Greg Hopp to 5th.

Final Results - Madison Regatta

  1. U-16 Elam - Dave Villwock (avg speed 138.054)
  2. U-7 Graham Trucking - J. Michael Kelly (avg speed 136.515)
  3. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison -Steve David (started as trailer - 5 seconds back) (avg speed - 130.713)
  4. U-5 - Jeff Bernard (avg speed - 121.486)
  5. U-100 Shoreline Propellers - Greg Hopp (started as trailer - 5 seconds back) (avg speed - 118.434)

    DNF. U-3 Chrysler-Jeep - Jimmy King

In an ironic twist of faith, Villwock broke his canard peddle in a earlier qualifying heat and went to the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison shop to fix the pedal.   Villwock, thanked the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison race team for the help in his victory.  This is Villwock's eighth Indiana Governor's Cup making him the driver with the most Governors' Cup in the races 59-year history.

"The crew did an unbelievable job.  We had to change it (the U-16) more to get into the final," said Dave Villwock on WORX.  "We had to have enough speed to get into the turns."

"I'm terrorized by this place.  Everytime I come here, I'm worried about making mistakes," he said.

David said after, "Once again I am going home broke."


For Villwock, it was career win 57, placing him first among active drivers by a wide margin, and third on the all-time win list behind Bill Muncey (62) and Chip Hanauer (61).  Villwock's career .500 winning percentage is the best the sport's ever seen.


Complete coverage of the weekend, including all heat races, continues below the comments section.

PHOTO:  Jim Simpson ~Dave Villwock & Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman hold up the Madison Regatta trophy. Villwock and the U-16 Elam won ABRA's season opener in Madison, Indiana last weekend.

PHOTO:  Jim Simpson - U-16 Elam takes the checkered flag at Madison, 2009