SEATTLE 2008: Controversy at Seafair; U-37 Jean Theoret finished first, but U-1 Dave Villwock is declared the winner - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SEATTLE 2008: Controversy at Seafair; U-37 Jean Theoret finished first, but U-1 Dave Villwock is declared the winner

SEATTLE, Wash. -  It's moments like these that drive fans on the shore crazy.  One boat can nail the start and outrun everybody to the finish line, but then still lose the race.  But rules are rules, and the officials decided Jean Theoret and the U-37 Beacon Plumbing team was "off plane" in the score up period and hit him with a one-minute penalty.

It was a classic match-up and story-line going into the finals at the Chevrolet Cup at Seafair.

Dave Villwock in the U-1 had won three heats, Jean Theoret in the U-37 won two heats, and Steve David in the U-6 won two.  After the dust settled, it was Villwock making it a perfect weekend, winning all three heats and the Chevrolet Cup.

As the boats ran the course before the final, several boats slowed down running dangerously close to going off-plane (slowing so that water flows over the sponsons).  If you do that for more than five seconds, you can be penalized.  That happened to Theoret, who - despite getting the checkered flag and crossing the finish line first was penalized, opening the door for the U-1 and Dave Villwock, who finished second, but was declared the winner.

Chevrolet Cup - Finals NOW OFFICIAL

  1. U-1 Ellstrom Elam Plus presents Amos W. Hoss, Dave Villwock
  2. U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David
  3. U-5, Jeff Bernard
  4. U-17 Our Gang Racing Team, Kip Brown
  5. U-37 Beacon Plumbing, Jean Theoret
  6. U-100, Greg Hopp

    U-13 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly

The fight for the inside lane meant boats were doing the run-up early and slowly.  Theoret grabbed lane one, Villwock lane two, and David in lane three.  Theoret hit the turn first and came out first.  Villwock had to move out a bit in the last turn of lap one and the U-37 took advantage, stretching the lead out.

Villwock ran second and made a run at Theoret several times, narrowing the gap twice to within a boat length, but couldn't overtake the Canadian.

A great race and a growing rivalry between Defending Seafair champion Steve David in the U-6 and Jeff Bernard in the U-5.  David was leading him for the first lap, but fell behind the U-5 in lap 2.  David took the lead back from Bernard in lap 3 and held on from there.

Theoret got the checkered flag and the crew celebrated on the shore.  But Theoret was penalized and that gave the win to Villwock.

"I was chasing him down there," said Villwock.  "I could've gone around him."   They heard the penalty call in the first lap and knew they didn't have to worry about Theoret.  "We backed off and just worried about keeping the Oberto behind us."

A lot of boats were going slow in the run-up.   "I was going the same speed as everyone else," said Theoret.  "Why am I getting penalized?"

"It was a big disappointment," said Theoret. Muscatel.