Seattle 2007: It's the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto and Steve David winning Seafair's Unlimited Hydroplane race
SEATTLE, Wash. - Seafair was the kind of racing we'd been waiting for all season. Six different drivers won the eight preliminary heats. And it ended with an 80th birthday present for Oh Boy! Oberto owner Art Oberto when Steve David drove the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto to victory.
Coming into Seafair, Dave Villwock and the U-16 Ellstrom's Elam Plus had been virtually unbeatable. He had lost only one heat race all season long and had won the trophy at Evansville, Madison, Detroit, and Tri-Cities. His quest for a perfect season was on the line in Seattle.
But Jean Theoret in the U-37 Beacon Plumbing had other ideas. After engine problems shut down his boat in Saturday's heat - and left him with no points going into Sunday - the Beacon Plumbing crew swapped out engines and found some extra speed. Theoret beat Villwock not once, but twice on Sunday leading into the finals.
And that set up some real drama in the winner-take-all-finals.
Jean Theoret and Dave Villwock were side-by-side. Villwock, changing strategy from most of the season, grabbed the inside lane and slowed down. Theoret grabbed lane two. As they came up to the start, Villwock said he got washed down. "Theoret moved in front of me and hosed me," he said. That forced his engine to shut down. He had to re-start and never really was a factor in the race.
Theoret fell back as well. ABRA officials would disqualify him because of the move on Villwock. In fact, Theoret moved over far enough he went through lane one and took out a buoy. After the race, Theoret apologized to Villwock. The team said he was moving so slowly that water came up over the windshield and blurred what he could see.
Meanwhile, Steve David hit the start line perfectly and grabbed the lead. He never gave it up. "A huge day," said David. "Everything came together."
David Bryant in he U-10 Hoss Mortgage Investors put on another great show. He started in fourth place and nearly caught the U-6 to finish second.
"Mike Hansen is the finest crew chief in the businesses," said David.
"They've been knocking on the door all season," said Villwock about the U-6 team. After the race, he went over to congratulate David and gave him a hug.
VIDEO OF FINAL AND HEATS FROM KIRO-TV >>
1. U-6 Steve David
2. U-10 David Bryant
3. U-13 J. Michael Kelly
4. U-16 Dave Villwock
5. U-5 Jeff Bernard
6. U-25 Ken Muscatel (started at trailer)
DSQ U-37 Jean Theoret
Heat 1A: U-6 Steve David
Heat 1B: U-16 Dave Villwock
Heat 1C: U-5 Jeff Bernard
Read stories about Heat 1A, 1B, 1C >>
Chris Bertram in the U-9 flipped nearly 360 degrees, seemingly in slow motion, on Heat 1B. which shut down he race. Bertram was OK and Villwock won the re-start.
VIDEO & PHOTO SLIDESHOW of U-9 Flip >>
Heat 2A: U-100 Greg Hopp
Heat 2B: U-10 David Bryant
Heat 2C: U-37 Jean Theoret
Heat 3A: U-5 Jeff Bernard
Heat 3B: U-37 Jean Theoret
Provisional: U-25 Ken Muscatel
Read stories about Heat 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B >>