The new UL-929 Unlimited Light hydroplane will hit the water for 2008Posted: Updated:
PHOTO ABOVE: The 2008 version of the UL-929 will look very close to the design above.
Last year in Silverdale, Washington, Vince Xaudaro in the UL-929 hit a roller and went nose first into the water. Both sponsons were ripped right off the hull. The damage was severe. Vince suffered a broken tailbone.
Vince was able to come back and race in 2007, but the boat wasn't.
SILVERDALE 2007 PHOTOS AT RIGHT: Gold Cup Video & Jay Dailey
More photos are available at ULHRA.org in the August, 2007 news section
But 2008 will be a different story. Xaudaro has teamed up with Jim & Karon Wilmot for the upcoming season. Vince will be driving the former UL-21 hull - the first Unlimited Light to race with a supercharged engine.
"Vince has a great history of knowing how to make a boat fly and get the most out of it, said Jim Wilmot. "Karon and I couldn't be happier to have Vince and the 929 crew in charge of our hull!"
The hull started as a GP built by Steve Balcer called "Canada Boy," according to Wilmot. It was sold and became "The Assassin," was sold again to Thunder Valley Racing and was numbered UL-21. It was driven by Nick Badoloto where it became the first UL to run a super-charged engine.
Thunder Valley made the choice to keep the UL-40 and sell the UL-21 and Nick retired. Carlos Buitron bought it and took it to Mexico where it basically sat in a warehouse for several years.
John Lynch was tapped by Carlos to help resell the numerous hulls he had bought when he began having health problems. Wil Muncey and Joe Souza went to the Mexico/Texas border at Lorado - known as "Wil and Joe's Excellent Adventure" - and picked up the boat (along with the former UL-23 - now Muncey's UL-00) and brought it back to Monroe, WA.
"Karon and I were crewing for Wil at the time as well as doing the live streaming video for the ULHRA," said Wilmot. "We wanted a billboard for our new company and Wil wanted to sell the 21 so we made the deal."
Last year Joe Turner and his crew got the boat into competition as the UL-18 (replacing his boat which was destroyed at last year's Desert Thunder event in Richland). In its initial outing at Silverdale, it made the final and finished 5th out of 14 entrants.
"Wil and some other folks suggested that we (Jim, Karon and Vince) combine forces and we did just that," he said. "We had teething problems at the exhibition in Phoenix but we're determined to really get it all right in '08. "
Improvements to the hull since the 2007 season
"We have two very competitive 509s, mine was originally one of the Alamo team's Roush built engines. I had Ed Trihey freshen and improve it a bit.
Vince is working with Gary Pugh of PED and has perhaps an even stronger 509 than mine.
One really cool thing is that the headers I bought for my engine from Ed Nelson originally were on the famous Jerry Bangs driven "Champagne Lady" 7 liter! The boat has a Jones cockpit and many carbon composite sections including the vertical wings.
The engine cover is essentially the same as the one used by the UL-72 "Red Rocket". We thank Joe Fraueneim and crew for the use of the mould. "
What will it be called?
It will run under the UL-929 designation for 2008. "It's the 929 because Vince's Dad's birthday is September 29th, a tribute to him," said Wilmot. "Karon and I put our UL-21 number on hold indefinitely out of respect for Vince."