Unlimited Hydroplane Heat Races in Seattle - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SEATTLE 2011: Villwock, Liddycoat, David, Perkins win Unlimited Hydroplane Heat Races

by Paul Dughi

Seattle, WASH - Some absolutely great, competitive racing in heats on Sunday and some tempers flaring.  It was a day of attrition as some boats bumped, parts flew, and an odd combination of points causing it to come down to the final heat to set the line-up for the finals.


Heat 3A

The 88 Degree Men had to do some triage to the cowling, bending the frame and using some duct tape to get it back on the boat for Heat 3A.  But the crew worked its magic and got it back on the water and race-ready.  "Duct tape is great," said Kelly.

Scott Liddycoat saw his U-7 Valken.com boat go dead before the start in lane three.  Brian Perkins made another great start, but the officials fired the flare to shut the race down because Liddycoat's boat could have been hidden as boats came around the first turn and could have led to a really dangerous situation.  As such, Liddycoat was unable to take part in the re-start.

Heat 3A Restart

Kip Brown and J. Michael Kelly tangled in an earlier heat and it was a chance for both of them to go head-to-head again. 

The U-9 and the U-25 went dead right before the start; the U-25 showed some damage to the rear wings.  The U-9 actually ran up and over the rear wing of the U-25, who managed to restart and finish the race without the wing and the rear stabilizer.   J. Michael Kelly roared across the start line with a good lead and lane one. But it was Brian Perkins that grabbed the lead away from Kelly going into the final lap.

Coming down to the final stretch run, the 88 and U-21 were deck-to-deck and wow, was it close, less than half a boat length.  But Perkins held off Kelly for the win.  "Running with J. Michael like that, there's no better feeling," Perkins said on KIRO-TV.

"I knew it was close," said Kelly.  "He got me at the end."

Heat 3A Results

  1. U-21 Albert Lee - Brian Perkins
  2. 88 Degree Men - J. Michael Kelly
  3. U-17 Red Dot - Kip Brown
  4. U-100 Beacon Plumbing - Greg Hopp
  5. U-25 Miss PROCRAFT - Ken Muscatel

    DNS.  U-9 Miss VisitTriCities.com - Jon Zimmerman

    DNS.  U-7 Valken.com - Scott Liddycoat

Heat 3B

The U-1 went dead in the water after hitting the score-up buoy and had to restart, well behind the pack at the start.  Dave Villwock started out in lane three, but it was Jeff Bernard in the U-5 nailing the start.

David started well behind everyone else, but roared into third place on the backstretch.  Villwock overtook Bernard in the home stretch of lap one and stayed in the smooth water for the rest of the run.

You can tell the winds have picked up a bit as the boats started to bounce around and get more air than in earlier heats on Sunday.  David tried to run down Bernard, but ran out of time to make it happen.

Earlier in the weekend, David had said he was no fan of the slow trolling starts.  "This 5 mph stuff, that's not boat racing," he said before the race.  It may have proved prophetic as the boat spooled down during the slow trolling period before the race.  "Everyone's having problem's with this stupid start they have now," said David on KIRO-TV after the race.  "Got the points, in the final."

"Steve David flamed out.  That's too bad," said Villwock on KIRO-TV; "it would have been a good one."

"Got lane one and made a great start," said Bernard on KIRO-TV.  "Villwock had a little more speed and there was nothing we could do."

After official review, it was determined that the U-1 exceeded its fuel restrictions.  The boat was tagged with a flagrant fuel violation and the points were taken away.  However, David still had enough points to get into the final.

Heat 3B Results

  1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar - Dave Villwock
  2. U-5 Graham Trucking - Jeff Bernard
  3. U-57 FormulaBoats.com - Mark Evans

    DSQ.  U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto - Steve David

    U-11 U-11 Stevenson Roofing Presents Miss Peters & May - JW Myers

      U-22 Great Scott! Presents Campaign WSU - Mike Webster

Heat 2A

At the start, it was Brian Perkins in the U-21 again hitting the line first.  J. Michael Kelly in the 88 got squeezed down by Kip Brown in the U-17 as he moved into Kelly's lane two coming out of the turn.  Kelly's boat got washed down and lost the cowling.  Meanwhile, Scott Liddycoat grabbed the lead in the U-7.

Teammate Jeff Bernard finished the first lap in second in the U-5 and Perkins in 2nd.  Kip Brown was penalized for encroachment on the 88 and had to take an extra lap.

"We had to redeem ourselves a little from yesterday's start," said Heat 2A winner Scott Liddycoat on KIRO-TV.  The rookie has had a great showing this season, finishing second in Detroit's Gold Cup, and grabbing his first heat win here in Seattle.

"After I took the start, I heard I was cleared for lane two," said Brown on KIRO-TV.  "I don't want to through my radio guy under the bus, but he never saw him (88 Degree Men).  I didn't either."

A visibly angry J. Michael Kelly was on his boat, shaking his first at Kip Brown as the U-17 came back to the pits.  "I want to apologize (for washing the 88 down)," said Brown.

The incident unfortunately meant no points for Kelly and eliminated the 88 from a chance at the front row in the finals.  For Brown, it means his final heat will be critical.


  1. U-7 Valken.com - Scott Liddycoat
  2. U-5 Graham Trucking - Jeff Bernard
  3. U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance - Brian Perkins
  4. U-100 Beacon Plumbing - Greg Hopp
  5. U-25 Miss Procraft - Ken Muscatel

    DSQ.  U-17 Miss Red Dot - Kip Brown

    U-88 Degree Men - J. Michael Kelly

Heat 2B

For the first time this season, Dave Villwock in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar and Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto go head-to-head in a heat race.

Steve David leap-frogged the pack after the score-up buoy and grabbed lane one.  Villwock slid out to lane three.  Once again, Mark Evans rocketed through the final turn and took the boats across the line.

It was the U-1 and U-96 into the first turn.  Within a few boat lengths, the 96 was right on the U-1's hip at the end of lap one.  It was a two boat race, just as you'd expect, in lap two with the two boats side-by-side the whole time.  Villwock out-ran David coming out of the final turn of lap two to eke out the lead at the end of lap two.

David took Villwock a little wide in the final turn of the final lap and pushed Villwock out, but Villwock was able to out-run David, just barely beating him out at the finish.

"We put on a good show," said Villwock on KIRO-TV.  The race was so close that Villwock had to ask if he'd won the heat when he came back as his radio was down.  The final margin of victory was less than a boat-length.

In the final lap, the U-96 hit a competition lap speed of 143 mph.  David in the U-1 ran the final lap at 142 mph.

"Every time, I've got to try to beat him," said David on KIRO-TV.  "Great race."

The U-9 and the U-22 bumped, doing some extensive damage to the U-22.  "Just a racing accident," said Webster.  Webster said water came up of the windshield on both boats and obscured their view.

Heat 2B Results

  1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar - Dave Villwock
  2. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto - Steve David
  3. U-9 Miss VisitTriCities.com - Jon Zimmerman
  4. U-57 Formulaboats.com - Mark Evans

    DNF.  U-11 Stevenson Roofing Presents Miss Peters & May - JW Myers

    U-22 Great Scott! Presents Campaign WSU - Mike Webster


In the first day of heat racing, it was the two veterans grabbing 400 points and first place finishes.

Heat 1A

Brian Perkins in the U-21 hit the start line first, but Dave Villwock in lane three went into the turn first and came out with about a roostertail lead by the time he hit the start-finish line at the end of lap one.

Once Villwock has the U-92 Spirit of Qatar up and running in front, it's just about over unless something unusual happens.  And that was the story here.  The race for second place was a good one.  Perkins stayed in stayed into the final lap, but Kip Brown in the U-17 Red Dot reeled in Brian in the final turn and ran to a second place finish.

"I just wanted to get a clean start and a good start," Heat 1A winner Dave Villwock said on KIRO-TV.

While Perkins finished third, after review H1 Unlimited official's disqualified the U-21's run for a fuel flow violation and awarded no points in the heat to the team.

"I was elated how easy it was," Villwock said with a laugh. "We needed a little breather. We were here late last night getting the boat repaired. Maybe it'll be an early night."

"I tried not to think too much about a streak or anything like that," Kip Brown said. "If we had been winning heats and winning finals like Dave (Villwock) does—that's a streak. We've been very fortunate with good draws and people making mistakes, and we're there to capitalize on them."

Villwock was pushed early by Kip Brown, who was a perfect 5-for-5 in heat victories this season, before drawing Villwock in the same heat. Brown said he knew his streak of consecutive of race wins would eventually come to an end. The team had been fighting some mechanical problems with the boat this weekend but fixed it in time for the heat.

Heat 1A Results

  1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar - Dave Villwock
  2. U-17 Miss Red Dot - Kip Brown
  3. U-7 Valken.com - Scott Liddycoat
  4. U-57 Formulaboats.com - Mark Evans
  5. U-25 Miss PROCRAFT - Ken Muscatel

    DNS. U-11 Stevenson Roofing presents Peters & May - JW Myers
    DSQ. U-21 Albert Lee Appliance - Brian Perkins

Heat 1B

DIfferent heat, same story.  The veteran was in lane three and took the race.  Jeff Bernard hit the start line first in the U-5 in lane one.  Veteran Steve David was in lane three and grabbed the lead on the back stretch and never looked back.

Greg Hopp's boat died on lap three.  Mike Webster's been running stronger this year with a different boat.  He bought last year's backup boat for the U-1 and he managed to just nip Jon Zimmerman in the U-9 at the finish line.

Kelly hit the score-up buoy too early and had to loop back around to get legal.  By the time he did, he was too late to the start line and had to settle for a 5th place finish.  Hopp was able to restart and finish, but the boat limped all the way around, running at maybe 50-60 mph.

"I think we need three more of those this weekend," Heat 1B winner Steve David said on KIRO-TV.

"Once I had the lead, I was just cooling it," David said. "When they backed down late in the race, I could back down. Tomorrow won't be as easy."

Heat 1B Results

  1. U-1 Oh Boy Oberto/Miss Madison - Steve David
  2. U-5 Graham Trucking - Jeff Bernard
  3. U-22 Great Scott Presents Campaign WSU - Mike Webster
  4. U-9 Miss Visit Tri-Cities.com - Jon Zimmerman
  5. 88 Degree Men - J. Michael Kelly

    DNF.  U-100 Beacon Plumbing - Greg Hopp



U-96 Spirit of Qatar

Dave Villwock


U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto Steve David 150.835 80
U-7 Valken.com Scott Liddycoat 149.95 70
U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance Brian Perkins 148.453 60
U-11 Stevenson Roofing Presents Peters & May JW Myers 146.564 50
U-17 Miss Red Dot Kip Brown 145.867 40
U-5 Graham Trucking Jeff Bernard 145.454 30
U-9 Miss VisitTriCities.com Jon Zimmerman 145.316 30
U-88 Degree Men J. Michael Kelly 144.487 30
U-22 Great Scott! Presents Campaign WSU Mike Webster 139.678 30
U-100 Beacon Plumbing Greg Hopp 136.614 30
U-57 Formulaboats.com Mark Evans 130.354 30
U-25 Miss Procraft Ken Muscatel 129.612 0

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