Open letter to fans, media from Sam Cole, ABRA Unlimited Hydroplanes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Open letter to fans, media from Sam Cole, ABRA Unlimited Hydroplanes

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To hydro fans in Seattle and across the country, along with the media covering Seafair, I want to apologize for leaving many of you confused about the Final Heat in Sunday's Chevrolet Cup at Seafair.

We erred in how we failed to get timely information to the fans and the media. This left many of our hydroplane fans that left the race site, turned off your television sets and radios or signed off the internet, wondering who won the race.

We thought we had it covered. After all, for two days we raced on Lake Washington, worked with KIRO-TV, KPTK-AM and many other media outlets, and had no issues letting people know if a penalty had been called. For some reason, this did not happen during the final heat and I pledge to find out what went wrong and make sure it never happens again.

We had ABRA officials with KIRO-TV in the truck and on the tower. Yet, for whatever reasons, even they didn't receive information to pass along.

The racing teams were aware of the warnings and penalties that were issued during the race.  Our fans and the media weren't - and we are sorry for that.

The "one minute" penalty rule is surely not fan-friendly and creates false impressions. A one-lap penalty is more easily understood. The tradition of flags during a race is to let everyone know -- without all of today's electronic wizardry-- when and what is taking place on the course.  When we give a boat the checkered flag and then add one minute to his time, the order of finish changes, but then how do we tell all of you?

We will address these issues in the weeks ahead to avoid the confusion. It is not how we do business. We are proud to have brought competitive racing back to the water these past four years and would never have envisioned that the members of the fourth estate would have not been notified.

I apologize for the informational snafu and recognize the need to ensure that we keep not only the media but all our fans better informed.

Sam Cole
ABRA Chairman