DECATUR, Ind. --- Team Porter Racing has signed Jeff Bernard to pilot the U-7 for the 2016 season. The addition of the U-7 and Bernard gives the MainSource Bank Indiana Governor’s Cup presented by Belterra Casino and Resort (July 1-3) an eight boat H1 Unlimited Hydroplane field.
Bernard, born in Allen Park, Mich. and now living in Kent, Wash., is a fourth generation racer who began racing powerboats in 1993 at the age of nine. In 2002 at the age of 17, he advanced to inboard hydroplane racing. He is still actively racing in the inboard category and has won 9 National Championships, 11 Regional Championships, three Summer Nationals, two World Championships, three Western Divisional, one Eastern Divisional, one North American Championship, and set seven World records.
In 2012 and 2015, Bernard was inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions. He is the nephew of former hydroplane drivers Mark and Mike Weber and is the step son of former driver and APBA Gold Cup Champion Terry Troxell.
Last season, he handled radio race communications for driver, Jimmy Shane and the 2015 Oh Boy! Oberto National High Point Championship hydroplane team.
Bernard drove the U-5 Miss Formulaboats.com hydroplane for Team Porter Racing (2007-11). He earned victories at the 2008 Indiana Governor’s Cup race in Madison, Indiana, the 2008 Bill Muncey Cup in San Diego, Calif. and the 2009 Thunder on the Ohio race in Evansville, Ind. In the 2009 race, Team Porter grabbed the one-two finish with teammate J. Michael Kelly finishing second in Evansville.
Bernard’s first unlimited hydroplane ride was in 2005 in Fred Leland’s U-99 Lakeridge Paving at the Seattle Seafair Race.
Team Porter already has one boat committed for the 2016 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane season. The U-5 Graham Trucking piloted by Kelly. The U-7 sponsor is still to be determined.
The U-7 number will begin the season on the U-57 hull and most likely move to the T5 hull as the T6 boat is brought back into the race schedule as the U-5.
Including the U-57 entry, eight H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes are confirmed to race in Madison with one more boat still in question. The U-1 HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison, U-5 Graham Trucking, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, U-11 Peters & May, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, U-27 Dalton Industries/Wiggins Racing, and the U-100 Carstar Auto Body presents KISW Rock. Ed Cooper’s U-3 Allison-powered unlimited remains a possible entrant as the team continues to look for a sponsor.
OTHER NOTES: Team Porter Racing will continue to work with Corey Peabody to help him qualify as an unlimited hydroplane driver. Peabody drove the U-5 Graham Trucking at a test on the Columbia River in Kenewick, Wash. earlier this month....all H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes will begin testing on the Ohio River in Madison on Friday, July 1. Preliminary heat racing will take place on Saturday and Sunday with the final winner take all championship on Sunday.