Kayleigh Perkins & UL-72 win ULHRA event in South Dakota - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kayleigh Perkins & UL-72 win ULHRA event in South Dakota

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It's tough to beat Paul Becker and Vince Xaudaro to the starting line in Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing.  They are two of the best "starters" in the series.  However, while spotting those two a slight advantage at the beginning, in the end it was all Kayleigh Perkins in the UL-72 Foster Care-Change a Lifetime, also sponsored by Vitamin Water. 

Ms. Perkins first overcame Xaudaro, driving the UL-9 US ARMY-NAPA Auto Parts on the back stretch of the first lap and drove around Becker at the end of lap 1.  She went on to an impressive victory in front of a large throng of fans along Lake Francis Case on the Missouri River at Chamberlain-Oacoma SD.  It was her second consecutive victory at this race which began impressively in 2008 only to be even more impressive in 2009. 

The organizing committee, River City Racin' led by President and Founder Tom Davis again attracted many thousands of fans from several states, way beyond the local population of less than 3,000.  Other race sites are beginning to take notice and looking at the South Dakota program as a model to emulate.

Third place went to Wil Muncey in the UL-00 Warning Power.com-Trafficade after a challenging weekend.  In his first heat on Saturday Muncey's boat failed to leave the pits due to a faulty starter.  On Sunday Muncey won the remaining preliminary heat despite losing the front canard of the hull on the final lap and damaging the propeller in the process. 

In the Final Muncey raced without the canard and with a borrowed prop. Fourth place went to consistent Chris Grant in the UL-3 Miss Pepsi, the renamed T-Machine in honor of the event's Title Sponsor. 

Xaudaro failed to finish the final due to a dislodged battery cable, and Michael Flaherty in the UL-11 K&N Filters-Power Punch Oil Supplements was unable to start the final as the 11 team was plagued by fuel system problems all weekend.As a result of the outcome of the Pepsi Racing Power Cup Challenge, Kayleigh Perkins now holds a better than 800 point lead on the second place team in the Unlimited Lights national points.  Wil Muncey is in second and that's a career best for the Muncey Racing Team. 

Chris Grant and the UL-3 make it three red boats atop the points after 2 races.It was a test of survival for the Thunderboats in the first round of The West Port Series, bringing awareness to the Prader-Willi Syndrome. Dustin Echols in the G-17 Miss Ted's Red Apple Market and Cal Phipps in the G-10 Titeflex-Wiggins Services and Supply had a strong battle in the first heat, won by Echols, with Phipps in second followed by David Warren in the G-329 Shade Vineyards of Volga SD-Block Head Machine in third and RW Dick Lynch in the G-13 Jet Chevrolet.com-Tempo in fourth place.

In the second heat Echols failed to finish, while Phipps drove on to victory over Warren and Lynch was unable to start due to a broken rocker arm in the engine which sidelined the largest boat in the G-fleet for the rest of the day.Prior to the Final, the Wiggins Hydroplane Racing Team was plagued by ignition issues and simply ran out of time to complete repairs before the start of the heat. 

This matched Echols, driving a boat that the co-owner Rick Bridgeman said had an engine the questioned whether it could last the 5 mile distance, and the consistent Warren.  In the end the G-17 engine did survive propelling Echols to a 3 roostertail length victory over Warren.  As the teams head for the next stop on The Gauntlet, Warren leads The Westport Series points race by 25 markers over Echols with Phipps 125 points back in third.  That's a career best for David Warren, from Lake Stevens WA.

The closest racing of the weekend was in the Lighter than LIGHTS 8 cylinder class where Steve Clark in the E-222 Power Punch-Mattson Construction swapped the lead all weekend in 4 heats with Bud McKay in the E-10 West Sound Electric-GEICO of Lakewood WA.  The largest margin of victory was two roostertail lengths.  One heat found Clark winning by 2 boat lengths and in the other two heats, Clark eked out victory in the sprint to the finish line, by less than 5 feet!  Clark was presented the Minox Digital Camera Photo Finish Award. 

Another great story from the LTL event was Chris Dreewes.  He's the crew chief for and son of Debi Muncey, owner of the UL-00 driven by his step father Wil Muncey.  He also spent countless hours with many volunteers completing a brand new hydroplane just in time for the Chamberlain-Oacoma event.  Dreewes was able to successfully complete two heats on Sunday in the E-360 Warning Power.com and was presented the Mechanix Wear "Grace Under Pressure" Award for his efforts and accomplishments.

The USSBA Sprint Boats put on several excellent rounds of their brand of "against the clock" racing on a modified slalom type course set right in front of the fans along the shoreline.  In the end, 17 year old Dillon Cummings, the youngest driver in Sprint Boat racing here in the USA, earned the victory.  The Stout Tool Corporation "Crew Chief" Award that usually goes to the winning crew chief of the Unlimited Light B-Main, this time was presented in the name of Dillon Cummings to the USSBA so all teams in that organization can utilize the amazing Stout Portable Bandsaw.The Gauntlet continues with Round 2 at Polson MT this Saturday & Sunday (July 18 & 19) on the Flathead River just off of Flathead Lake. 

The Anderson Broadcasting Radio Waves Regatta will include the Unlimited Lights, Thunderboats in The Westport Series, plus 3 classes of APBA hydroplanes that will compete both for APBA points and ULHRA Lighter than LIGHTS points.  The classes include 1.0 Liter, 2.5 Liter Stock (4 cyl LTL)  and 5 Liter (8 cyl LTL).  Live coverage both days will be available on this website provided by ULHRA Video.

John Lynch

"Voice" of ULHRA Racing