Big crash spoils Regatta finale
WOODY BUSH PHOTO
Bucket List Racing entry from Snohomish, Wash., brought a stop to racing in Sunday’s Indiana Governor’s Cup on the Ohio River. The remainder of the H1 Unlimited Racing Series event was canceled following the accident and the race winner was declared to be J. Michael Kelly of Bonney Lake, Wash., the driver of Beacon Electric.
The driver of Bucket List Racing, Dustin Echols of Monroe, Wash., was taken to a local hospital for an evaluation but was not seriously injured. Just last weekend in Guntersville, Ala., Echols made headlines when he drove his boat to a qualifying run that was one of the fastest in the sport’s history.
With the cancellation of today’s winner-take-all final heat, Kelly’s victory was determined by the points he had collected in preliminary heat racing during the weekend. He was second in one of his heats yesterday and was the winner of the first two preliminary heats that were held today. Finishing second in points was Jamie Nilsen of Gig Harbor, Wash., the driver of Legend Yacht Transport, and third place went to Echols.
“I’m thrilled to get the win overall for the weekend,” Kelly said. “It was a much needed victory for myself and the team, especially for me—started off slow and got that confidence back. I’m just thankful that we ended on a good note and now we can look forward to going to the Tri-Cities and have some fun.”
In Sunday’s first heat, the Beacon Plumbing hydroplane hooked in the first turn and came to an abrupt stop with a broken propeller strut. Because of the damage, the boat’s driver, Corey Peabody of Covington, Wash., the fastest qualifier for the race and the winner of last weekend’s event, was done for the day.
Kelly, Peabody’s teammate on the Strong Racing Team, then grabbed the lead heading down the backstretch and went on to a comfortable heat victory. He won again in the day’s second heat after pulling into the lead toward the end of a first lap that featured three of the boats racing side by side down the backstretch.
Dylan Runne of Rumson, NJ, won the first H1 Unlimited heat in his career in the day’s third heat. Runne and Echols put on an exciting show for the fans as the two traded the lead for the first two laps, but then Runne pulled ahead and reached the finish line in first place.
It’s the second year in a row that a race in Madison has ended with a blow-over accident and it was the second weekend in a row that an H1 Unlimited race had to be canceled before the final heat was completed. Last weekend, the racing was stopped by an accident and then canceled because of a severe thunderstorm. A similar chain of event happened today. A thunderstorm had delayed action earlier in the day and then, soon after the blow-over accident, forecasters predicted that more bad weather was approaching.
With Nilsen now leading Kelly in the national points race by only one point, the fastest race boats in the world will now head west for the remaining two events of the 2023 H1 Unlimited Racing Series. The unlimited hydroplanes will meet next on the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities, Wash., for the Columbia Cup on July 28 to 30, and then will compete in the biggest of them all, the APBA Gold Cup in Seattle on August 4 to 6. The APBA Gold Cup is the oldest trophy in American motorsports.
Ticket information for both events can be found on H1Unlimited.com.
INDIANA GOVERNOR’S CUP
HEAT 3 — 1, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 141.367 avg. speed, 400 points; 2, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 95.296, 300; 3, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 91.285, 225; Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, DNF.
HEAT 4 — 1, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 140.255, 400; 2, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 124.685, 300; Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, DSQ; Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, W/D.
HEAT 5 — 1, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 144.797, 400; 2, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 125.681, 300; 3, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 86.872, 225.
ACCUMULATED POINTS — 1, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 1395 points; 2, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 1350; 3, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 999; 4, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 854; 5, Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, 500.
NATIONAL STANDINGS — 1, Jamie Nilsen, Legend Yacht Transport, 2315 points; 2, J. Michael Kelly, Beacon Electric, 2314; 3, Corey Peabody, Beacon Plumbing, 1780; 4, Dustin Echols, Bucket List Racing, 1718; 5, Dylan Runne, Miss HomeStreet, 1664; 6, Andrew Tate, Miss Goodman Real Estate, 1070; 7, Jimmy King, Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, 330; 8, Brent Hall, Boitano Homes, 0.