DETROIT 2010: Unlimited Hydroplane Heat 3A 3B 4A 4B - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

DETROIT 2010: Dave Villwock, Steve David, J. Michael Kelly win Unlimited Hydroplane Heats 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B

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PHOTO - Jim Simpson PHOTO - Jim Simpson
PHOTO - Dave Mabry PHOTO - Dave Mabry
PHOTO - Jim Simpson PHOTO - Jim Simpson
PHOTO - Jim Simpson PHOTO - Jim Simpson
PHOTO - Jim Simpson PHOTO - Jim Simpson

Detroit, MICH - (July 11, 2010) Fast water and fast boats.  What more could you ask for?  How about heat 4A which featured multiple lead changes and a flat-out sprint to the finish by a pair of teammates finishing with tenths of a second of each other.  Heat 4A gets the award for Best Race of the Weekend. 

[ NOTE:  I just made that award up, but it's appropriate - Paul Dughi ]

Heat 3A

Dave Villwock, who won his last heat from the outside, had the chance to win from the inside this time, starting in lane one.  J. Michael Kelly was in lane two.  Jeff Bernard in lane three.  Ken Muscatel in four and Brian Perkins in lane five.

Brian Perkins knew if he was going to have any chance in this heat, he needed to absolutely nail the start.  It appeared he did, leading the five boats in heat 3A across the line and raced to the lead into turn one.  But he was just early and the great start got wiped out.  "I think I was over by a tenth-of-a-second, which isn't much," said Perkins after the race.

Perkins had jumped the gun and got hit with a one-lap penalty.  Dave Villwock on the inside grabbed the lead.  With the penalty, J. Michael Kelly took over second.

Villwock scooted to a huge lead, running away from the field.  Kelly and Bernard stayed in 2nd and 3rd. 

Heat 3A Results

  1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar - Dave Villwock
  2. U-7 Graham Trucking - J. Michael Kelly
  3. U-5 - Jeff Bernard
  4. U-25 Boyland Nissan - Ken Muscatel
  5. U-21 Miss Gil Chiropractic - Brian Perkins*

"Boat's running good," said Villwock.  "It's all good."

"Had we been on time, I think we would have been up there with him," said Perkins.

Heat 3B

It had been quite a weekend for Greg Hopp so far with a first and a second in heat racing and the third fastest qualifying time in the U-100.  But in Heat 3B, he was matched up with Steve David for the first time this weekend.  He also had to contend with Nate Brown in the U-17, who beat Hopp to the finish to win Heat 2B on Saturday. 

On Sunday, Steve David had lane one.  Greg Hopp had lane two.  Nate Brown in lane three; Cal Phipps in lane four and Mike Webster in lane five.

Nate Brown was across the start line first in lane three.  With the boat speed of the U-1, it was Steve David coming out of the first turns in the lead.  Brown was a close second, but Greg Hopp nipped past Brown coming out of the last turn heading back to the start line.

In the second lap, David went out to a roostertail lead over Hopp.  Cal Phipps found some boat speed as well and slipped past Nate Brown into third.  By lap four, David had a four roostertail lead.  Hopp finished second, continuing his strong performance for the weekend.

Heat 3B Results

  1. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto - Steve David
  2. U-100 Jarvis Construction - Greg Hopp
  3. U-13 Ambassador Magazine presents Miss Detroit Yacht Club - Cal Phipps
  4. U-17 Miss Red Dot - Nate Brown
  5. U-22 Matrix Systems Automotive Finishes - Mike Webster

"Both that little fellow in the 17, Nate, and Greg in the 100, are really running strong," said David.  "I had a couple of things up my sleeve if we needed them.  I could have thrown water bottles at them, or balloons, if we had to."  Fortunately, he didn't need to.

Heat 4A

Heat 4A looked to be a very competitive heat and it did not disappoint.  Based on what we've seen all weekend, all five boats had a reasonable chance for the win.  And it turned out to be  the best boat race of the weekend with multiple lead changes and a flat out sprint to the finish by teammates J. Michael Kelly and Jeff Bernard. 

Cal Phipps drew lane one in Heat 4A with Jeff Bernard in lane two, J. Michael Kelly lane 3, Greg Hopp in lane 4, and Nate Brown in lane 5.  Greg Hopp grabbed the lead at the start line.  Cal Phipps hit the turn first, but it was J. Michael Kelly coming out of the first set of turns in first place.  Phipps was in second and Hopp in third.

Phipps grabbed the lead in the second set of turns as they raced toward the start line.  On the backstretch of lap two, both boats hit some rough water.  Phipps was about three boat lengths ahead of Kelly.  In the third lap, the two were deck-to-deck with Kelly grabbing the lead.  Meanwhile, Jeff Bernard managed to close the distance on the leaders and challenged on the inside.  Kelly hit the start line in first and Bernard was able to overtake Phipps.

It was a race to the finish for the two teammates.  Bernard closed quickly, but Kelly was able to hold him off by perhaps a boat length or less.  Phipps grabbed third place.

Wow.  Great racing out there.

Heat 4A Results

  1. U-7 Graham Trucking - J. Michael Kelly
  2. U-5 - Jeff Bernard
  3. U-13 Ambassador Magazine presents Miss Detroit Yacht Club - Cal Phipps
  4. U-17 Miss Red Dot - Nate Brown
  5. U-100 Jarvis Construction - Greg Hopp

"I'm four for four at making bad starts," said Jeff Bernard.  "But our guys are working their butts off and we're excited to be in the front row of the finals."

"The boat's been strong all weekend long," said Kelly.  "Great to have Jeff in second.  Pretty close second."

Heat 4B

In a preview of the finals, Dave Villwock and Steve David squared off head-to-head in lanes one and two of Heat 4B.  Brian Perkins started in lane three with Mike Webster in lane four.  Ken Muscatel and the U-25 Boyland Nissan withdrew from the heat.

The U-96 left the pit are for a while in Sunday getting some welding done, but was back in the water and ready to go for Heat 4B.  Mike Webster got the U-22 wet, but was unable to keep it lit. 

Dave Villwock led them across, but Steve David grabbed the lead on the front stretch.  Our of the corner, Villwock was back in front with David behind and Perkins in third.  Villwock screamed up the backstretch in clean water and lengthened out the lead.  Running in the churned up water, David slowed a bit opening the door for Brian Perkins.

The afternoon Detroit River water was starting to get a little rough and the boats were bouncing a bit around the course.  But it was a straight run for Villwock from here on out.  David was comfortably in second place as the U-1 outpaced the U-21 in lap two.

For Villwock and the U-96 Spirit of Qatar team, it was a clean sweep so far - four first place finishes in four heats.

Heat 4B Line-up

  1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar - Dave Villwock
  2. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto - Steve David
  3. U-21 Miss Gil Chiropractic - Brian Perkins

    DNS.  U-22 Matrix Systems Automotive Finishes - Mike Webster

 "It's getting rough everywhere," said Villwock.  "Lane one wasn't bad there."