MADISON, Ind.--As the ABRA unlimited hydroplane series gets ready for this weekend's Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup on the Ohio River, it is going to be hard to imagine how the sport is going to be able duplicate the action of this past ...
MADISON, Ind.--As the ABRA unlimited hydroplane series gets ready for this weekend's Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup on the Ohio River, it is going to be hard to imagine how the sport is going to be able duplicate the action of this past weekend in Evansville.
Six different boats won six different elimination heats (the first time in the sport's history) before Jean Theoret (Maple Grove, Que.) in the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing captured the winner take all final championship during the 30th running of the Thunder on the Ohio
Deck-to-deck battles in almost each race brought the Evansville Freedom Festival crowd to their feet time and time again.
"I don't think I have ever seen that competitive racing in each and every heat," said ABRA Chairman Sam Cole. "And it wasn't even the optimal racing conditions."
Strong winds created major chop on the Ohio River for the ten-boat fleet.
This weekend, nine boats are expected to make the call for the Indiana Governor's Cup.
Theoret might have become the odds on favorite for the 2008 Indiana Governor's Cup but Steve David (Lighthouse Pt., Fla.) in the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto truly has the home 'field' advantage. Not only was David the faster qualifier last week in Evansville, the City of Madison, Ind. owns the boat and the Oh Boy! Oberto team does all of it's testing on the Madison course.
And there is an advantage. Unlike the two-mile 'D' shaped course in Evansville, the Madison course has some of the longest straight-aways on the national circuit.
The racing action will begin with practice and qualifying sessions Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5 with all racing action taking place Sunday, July 6.
MADISON-THE BOAT: It is one of the most unique stories in all of sports. The City of Madison (Ind.), population 13,000 not only hosts a major unlimited hydroplane race, it also owns a boat that races on the ABRA national circuit. Sponsored by Oh Boy! Oberto, the city has been racing an unlimited hydroplane since 1961--. Steve David and the Oh Boy! Oberto team also teamed to become the fastest qualifier in the Thunder on the Ohio race, the first time they have accomplished that feat together.
MASTER TIRE: The U-3 Master Tire had it share of gremlins in their hometown race. The Evansville boat burned a piston on Saturday in the first set of elimination heats and then blew an engine in the second set of elimination heats. Ed Cooper, Jr. decided at that time to put the boat on the beach and get ready for the next race. In Madison and Detroit, the boat will be the Miss Chrysler Jeep.
GRAHAM TRUCKING UPDATE: Initial reports from the U-13 camp have hinted that the boat might not be able to race in Madison. The team was allowed to be the trailer boat in the Thunder on the Ohio final heat and ended up throwing a propeller and severely damaging the bottom of the boat.
DAVID, THEORET AND ALLEN: Without the Ellstrom Elam Plus hydroplane team and Dave Villwock racing the first three events, Steve David, Jean Theoret and Mike Allen will be the only drivers with unlimited wins heading into this weekend's event. David has seven wins while Theoret has six. Of the three, only David has ever won in Madison, taking the championship in 2001. Villwock leads all active drivers with wins. He has 55. Bill Muncey holds the record with 62 wins and Chip Hanauer is second with 61.