Hydroplane Icon Steve David Set To Retire - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hydroplane Icon Steve David Set To Retire

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. -

When fans think iconic athletes they think of people like Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Ken Griffey Jr., Peyton Manning, Muhammad Ali, or Evel Knievel. When fans think of an iconic hydroplane driver, one name comes to mind –Steve David.
Steve David, driver of the ‘U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison' Unlimited hydroplane who has accumulated 18 wins, six Driver's Championships, four National Championships, 11 top qualifier poles, and is the sport's winningest active driver, will announce Friday his retirement. This weekend's San Diego Bayfair race with be his last in his 25 years racing unlimited hydroplanes.
David who turns 60 years old in January had been contemplating his retirement for some time.  He had hoped to win one race on the hydroplane circuit that he doesn't have in his trophy cabinet --the Detroit Gold Cup.  But after a heartbreaking loss this year, having battled for the Gold Cup 22 times, placing second 12 times, David felt maybe the 109 year-old trophy and motorsports oldest active trophy just wouldn't fit in his trophy cabinet or his record book.
"I have dreamed for years of winning the Gold Cup," the modest David said, "but it wasn't meant to be.  I believe that God didn't give me what I wanted, but rather what I needed.  It is fully acceptable to me."
David continued, what "I needed from boat racing was to have met the thousands of fans and friends that have supported me through thick and thin, wins and losses, and some painful crashes.  Everyone I have met in my 44 years of boat racing is part of my record book and in my trophy cabinet. To me that is better than the Gold Cup."
When told of David's retirement, Jerry Jensen a fan and follower since 1988 from Portland, Ore. said, "It seems like just yesterday I met Steve.  He had just suffered a bad fire in the open cockpit ‘Pocket Savers Plus' on Lake Mead (Nev.).  His face wrapped in an ice packed towel from the burns, still in pain, there he was, in the pits, meeting and greeting his fans. That trademark smile pocking out from the towel. After that I have been his fan ever since. My kids and I will miss him and so will the sport."
Paul Erickson a fan and graphic designer from Seattle said, "No, I can't believe it!  He is a sponsor's dream. Once, I heard him attributed the win in an interview after the race to having used T-Plus engine treatment in the boat's turbine engine, a engine treatment not run in turbines, but the fans ate it up. His gracious charm, smile and competitive spirit are an inspiration to all who are privileged to know Steve."
Steve Brandon another fan from Detroit said, "Steve is a guy that has so much experience he knows exactly where that fine line is when racing.  He always brought the boat back in one piece and put it back on the trailer.  Very seldom did you see him on the back of a tow line, a tribute to both Steve and his crew."
As for retiring at 59 years-old David said, "It seems most fitting to pass the torch to Tom Thompson (driver of the ‘U-11 Unlimited Racing Group') as the oldest driver in the sport," David jokingly said.  Thompson who is 51 years-old is in his second season as an unlimited hydro driver has been a worthy boat racing competitor of David's for over 33 years.

Courtesy: Owen Blauman