U-25 Unlimited Hydroplane Team has new driver for 2010 Season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

U-25 Unlimited Hydroplane Team has new driver for 2010 Season

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Dr. Ken Muscatel made his status very clear when he said, "I am not retiring from driving, but I think its time to see what it's like to manage the team from the shore and watch someone else drive the boat."

Muscatel and partner Ron Jones, Jr. have selected 5 Litre record holder Jon Zimmerman to drive the U-25 in Madison and in some heats in Tri-Cities. 

Muscatel will be at the controls in the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, the Albert Lee Cup at Seafair in Seattle, and the rest of the heats in the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup.

Zimmerman had a chance to get some seat time in the U-25 during a test session on Lake Washington Tuesday, as the team also debuted their new "low profile" cowling. 

The plan to run the boat without a horizontal rear wing hit a bit of a glitch when the left upright collapsed behind the exhaust outlet and was singed. It was repaired in time for third run.

The 45 year old Zimmerman grew up in Burien and says, " Boat racing consumes a huge amount of time and my wife Jo Anne is an angel for putting up with it. We have a son Jack who is four years old."

Jon explains, "Hydroplane racing started for me when I saw the ‘73 Pak on TV.  I have been a fan ever since. I started racing scale electric hydroplanes in 1991.  I still have a 1/10th scale Vacationville that I try to race a couple of times a year as time permits.

I later raced A stock style hydroplanes with a group of friends Thursday evenings in the summers at Stan Sayers.  We only had two rules.  You had to run an 18HP fishing boat motor and it had to be painted like an Unlimited.  I had a Renault and the Miss Rock.  Lots of fun.

In 1994 My friend Dave Bibby traded his A stock outboard for a 2.5 stock inboard.  You can imagine how nice that boat was.  We worked on it for a couple of months before keeping the trailer and throwing the boat in the landfill.  Dave bought a 2.5 that was built by John Watkins in the eighties and we raced that for a year.  We had no idea what we were doing.  I think I was disqualified the first four times because I couldn't figure out how the start worked.

After that I bought my own 2.5 stock, a boat built by the Campbell brothers in the eighties.   Over the years I figured a few things out, rebuilt the boat a few times, and it became one of the fastest boats in the country.  We won four regional championships and finished second in the nation a couple of times.  That boat is now owned by Brian Perkins.

In 2004 Ron Jones Jr. opened the doors of his shop to me so I could build a new 5 liter.  We have set all four world records with it and missed a national championship by 13 points.  That number 1 is elusive. 

If it wasn't for JR I would still be running in the middle of the pack in a wooden boat.  He has taught me things about construction and set up that I would have never figured out.  If you want a fast boat go see JR. 

JR also convinced Ken Muscatel to give me an opportunity in the U-25.  I am very grateful to both Ron and Ken for the chance to pursue my dream."