The defending national champion in the H1 Unlimited Racing Series, Jimmy Shane, 35, of Covington, Washington, won two preliminary heats today during the first day of racing at the HAPO Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities, Washington.
Driving Miss HomeStreet, Shane not only was a convincing victor in both of his two heats but was also the event’s fastest qualifier.
Also winning preliminary heats on Saturday were J. Michael Kelly, 42, of Bonney Lake, Washington, the driver of Miss Tri-Cities, and Andrew Tate, 31, of Canton, Michigan, the driver of Graham Trucking.
Racing will continue on Sunday with two more sets of preliminary heats and a winner-take-all final heat.
The H1 Unlimited Racing Series features the fastest race boats in the world, capable of speeds approaching 200 miles per hour.
The event on the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities is the third stop on the 2021 campaign. Shane, the winner of the Gold Cup three weeks ago in Madison, Indiana, won his first heat at an average speed of nearly 147 miles per hour, won his second with a nearly identical performance, and in the process turned in the day’s fastest competition lap of nearly 155 miles per hour.
His best run of the day came during his qualification attempt, when he drove Miss HomeStreet to 163.203 miles per hour.
The day’s closest race came in Heat 2A when Kelly crossed the finish line just ahead of Tate and had the best heat average, finishing with a speed of nearly 152 miles per hour. In the day’s first heat, the two drivers finished in reverse order, with Tate claiming the victory.
Dave Villwock, 67, of Monroe, Washington, the sport’s greatest champion who has made a comeback appearance this season, led the field in the early stages of that first race, but later was disqualified for violating the fuel-flow limit.
Driving Miss Beacon Plumbing, he later finished second behind Shane in Heat 2B.
The day of action turned out to be busier than originally scheduled. Time for testing
and qualification attempts was originally set for Friday, but the course had to be closed all day because a thick patch of weeds growing from the river’s bottom had covered an area on the racecourse about the size of a football field.
Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers who worked late into the night to remove the weeds, the course could be opened for racing on Saturday morning.