Evansville, IND. - Jeff Bernard and the U-5 Formulaboats.com team, owned by Ted Porter, had a spectacular weekend, winning three straight heat races and running away with the Thunder on the Ohio crown by holding off teammate J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking.
The U-3 Master Tire team also had a great weekend, winning two heats going into the finals. Jimmy King in the U-3 had a clear lead and looked like he was racing to victory in the finals when he threw a prop and the boat would not be able to finish.
It was a wild weekend in Evansville for the second-to-last stop on the Amerian Boat Racing Association's unlimited hydroplane racing season. The two teams that had been running neck and neck all season went head-to-head in the first heat race of the weekend and it had a big impact on the rest of the day.
Dave Villwock in the U-16 Elam was just 249 points behind Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto for the National High Points championship coming into the weekend. The two boats were fighting for the lead in Heat 1A when Villwock and the U-16 flipped. Officials said David moved out on Villwock and disqualified him.
That put the U-16 out of the racing for the weekend. But owner Erick Ellstrom worked out a deal with Nate Brown and the U-17 ActivWater team. Ellstrom effectively purchased the boat and Nate Brown stepped in to run the U-17 as the U-16 to pick up some points.
With that as the backdrop, the U-16 - winner of all but one races this season - didn't win a single heat. Surprisingly, Steve David won only one heat as well. Meanwhile, Jeff Bernard in the U-5 FormulaBoats.com won three straight and Jimmy King in the piston-powered U-3 Master Tire won two.
And that set up a anything-goes final with the two top teams all season at a sginficiant disadvantage in the final. The U-1 wound up in lane six. The U-16 wound up as the trailer boat.
Winner take all Finals
Jimmy King in the U-3 grabbed the lead right off the bat with Jeff Bernard in the U-5 and J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 right alongside.
At the end of lap one, King had the lead by about three-quarters of a roostertail. Steve David in the U-1, starting in lane 6, was in 4th. Bernard started to put some distance between he and teammate Kelly.
At the end of lap three, tragedy struck for the U-3 team. The U-3 threw a prop and went dead. Bernard took the lead from Kelly and, with King out of the race, moved into first place. Bernard had a half roostertail lead on the back stretch of the final lap. Kelly in second and David in third.
Bernard won by about four boat lengths.
U-5 FormulaBoats.com - Jeff Bernard
U-7 Graham Trucking - J. Michael Kelly
U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto - Steve David
U-100 Mirageboats.com - Greg Hopp
U-25 Mr. Home Loan - Ken Muscatel
U-16 Elam (U-17 running as U-16) - Nate Brown STARTED AS TRAILER
DNF. U-3 Master Tire -Jimmy King
Heat 1A Results
U-3 Master Tire Jimmy King 142.326
U-7 Graham Trucking J. Michael Kelly 136.451
U-37 Renton Coil Spring Jean Theoret 128.054
U-48 Whirlpool Presents Albert Lee Brian Perkins 121.837
DNF - Flipped U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus Dave Villwock
The two teams have battled all year with just 249 points separating the U-16 Elam and the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto coming into the second to last race of the year. In Heat 1A, the two boats were matched up again. In the final turn, Dave Villwock in the U-16 flipped. After review, officials ruled that Steve David moved out on the U-16. David was disqualified. More >>
Sunday, August 23 2009 1:59 PM EDT2009-08-23 17:59:53 GMT
The battle between Dave Villwock / U-16 Elam and Steve David / U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto was in the spotlight Saturday. The Ellstrom team floated down river to the Oberto team a watermelon. Watermelons a known in boat race as bad luck.
That didn't stop David from grabbing the top qualifying spot. "Right before Villwock left for his last attempt at qualifying our team returned the watermelon,"said David. Villwock's top speed was wiped out due to a violation.More >>