SEATTLE---It was August 4, 1951, when over 100,000 fans and scores of reporters ventured to the shores of Lake Washington to watch 11 entries compete for the first unlimited hydroplane race in the Emerald City’s history.
This Friday (August 5), nine to ten H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes will again take to Lake Washington for testing and qualifying for this weekend’s Seafair Albert Lee Appliance Cup (August 6-7) as one the great sports traditions in Seattle continues.
To give one an idea how the sport has evolved, the one-mile straightaway record at the time was held by Lou Fageol in the Slo-Mo IV with a speed of 160.3235 mph. This week, the fleet will be closing in on the 160 mark again but with an average speed on a 2 ½ mile course.
Last week, Jean Theoret in the U-16 Oberto Beef Jerky led all qualifiers with an average speed of 160.000 on the Columbia River 2 ½ mile course in Kennewick, Wash. at the HAPO Columbia Cup.
While Theoret might have led the pack in qualifying, Jimmy Shane seemed to lead the fleet to the checkered flag. Shane, driving the U-1 Miss Homestreet Bank, was first over the line in the championship winner-take-all heat, but upon video replay, Shane was given a one lap penalty that was earlier assessed to Theoret when the two boats collided with each other on lap two of the five-lap final.
The ruling gave the U-5 Graham Trucking boat and driver J. Michael Kelly the championship with Theoret awarded second place.
The penalty halted Shane’s four-race win streak and gave Kelly his first win since last year’s Seafair championship when he out-dueled Shane in one of the best five lap H1 Unlimited championship heats of all time.
This weekend it will be Shane and Theoret trying to end Kelly’s Seattle streak. Kelly and the Graham Trucking boat have won two consecutive Albert Lee Appliance Cup titles.
For information on the H1 boats and the series go towww.H1Unlimited.com or download the NEW “H1 2016” app and get all the updated information for the Albert Lee Appliance Cup as it takes place. Apple users can download the app from the App Store – Android users, please visit the H1 website.
For ticket, parking and more information specifically about the Albert Lee Appliance Cup and Seafair go tohttp://www.seafair.com/
-Jimmy Shane had won 14 consecutive heats until J Michael Kelly defeated him in the third set of preliminary heats last Sunday at the HAPO Columbia Cup.
-While Shane might have lost last Sunday’s race on an official ruling, one year ago in Kennewick, he was the recipient of an official ruling against Jean Theoret. That ruling gave Shane the coveted APBA Gold Cup. Theoret drove through an area known as the DMZ during the milling period. Even though he beat Shane to the finish line, Theoret was DQ’d allowing Shane to win his second consecutive Gold Cup.
-Kelly has seven (7) Unlimited Hydroplane race wins, Theoret has won six (6) Unlimited Hydroplane race titles while Shane leads all current drivers with 12 H1 race victories.
-Seattle wins: Kelly (2-2014, 2015 ), Theoret (2- 2005, 2006), Shane (1-2013)
-Last season, Theoret led all qualifiers in Seattle with an average speed of 150.583 mph over the 2 ½ mile Lake Washington course.
-Last week at the HAPO Columbia Cup, the U-18 Snuskitush Enterprises had gearbox issues and did not qualify. The boat is questionable for Seattle.
-The U-9 Les Schwab Tires boat was the second fastest qualifier (159.337), but the team suffered a setback when one blade of the prop broke off during Saturday’s preliminary heats. Rookie driver Andrew Tate shut down the engine immediately, but the boat still suffered major damage to the bottom of the boat, tearing off the strut, damaging the gearbox and creating some issues with the turbine engine. The boat will be ready to race in Seattle.
Potential Albert Lee Appliance Cup Fleet
U-1 Jimmy Shane, Covington, WA, Miss HomeStreet Bank
U-3 Jimmy King, Wales, MI, Miss DiJulio
U-5 J. Michael Kelly, Bonney Lake, WA, Graham Trucking
U-7 Jeff Bernard, Kent, WA, Graham Trucking II
U-9 Andrew Tate, Canton, MI, Les Schwab Tires
U-11 Tom Thompson, Cambridge, MD, Peters & May
U-16 Jean Theoret, Maple Grove, QUE, Oberto Beef Jerky
U-18 Dustin Echols, Sultan, WA, Snuskitush Enterprises