1990-10 (Sharkey) / 9010 (UNJ)
The Evans Brothers’ U-57 began life as The Lobster Boat
Jim Lucero had a nifty new idea for advancing the design of an Unlimited hydroplane. Working for Steve Woomer’s Competition Specialties team, Lucero got the OK to build his concept craft. The result was the now-infamous Winston Eagle “lobster boat”.
The design consisted of a center fuselage just wide enough to hold the cockpit area, the engine well, and the turbine exhaust tube. The sponsons were not part of the main hull, but were mounted on deck extensions amidships, and a canard spar at the bow. That was it.
The new U-10 started the 1990 season at Miami in the Marine Stadium. Champion Jim Kropfeld was the driver. Jim qualified the boat seventh on the ladder at 106.727 m.p.h., but it was far off the 146 m.p.h. pace of Chip Hanauer and Miss Circus Circus.
After another anemic performance at the Gold Cup in Detroit, the boat was replaced by the more conventional U-10 hull for the remainder of the year.
The project was abandoned and the boat redesigned into a regular configuration for backup duty for the Winston team. It was nicknamed the Winston Select, but that name never appeared on the hull. In its only race appearance for the Woomer team, it placed fifth in the 1992 Kansas City Hydrofest driven by Mark Tate.
The boat remained on the beach for seven years until new owners Kim and Debbie Gregory joined forces with Jerry Rise in 2000 as USA Racing Partners and fielded the U-5 Appian Jeronimo. With Rookie George Stratton at the wheel, the lilac and ivory charger was having a great season until an untimely blow-over accident in San Diego fatally injured Stratton and wrecked the hull.
The Gregorys rebuilt, and raced the boat as their primary entry, with Mark Weber, and then Mike Weber as drivers for the next four seasons.
The former “lobster boat” scored its one major victory in 2004, and it was a big one. Subbing for injured Mike Weber, Nate Brown won the 100th APBA Gold Cup on the Detroit River in the U-10, Dick Scott presents Miss DYC.
In 2008, Ted Porter bought the boat as a backup for his two-boat Formulaboats.com team. But, starting in 2010, Porter ran a three-boat operation and hired Mark Evans to handle the U-57.
Now, completely refurbished and faster than ever, the boat has found its way to Chelan, Washington and will race the 2012 season under the ownership of Mark and Mitch Evans, but will keep the name Formulaboats.com, under a deal with Ted Porter.
|U-10||Winston Eagle||1990||Jim Kropfeld|
|U-10||Winston Eagle (Select)||1992||Mark Tate|
|U-10||Smokin’ Joe’s [backup boat]||1994-1996|
|U-5||Appian Jeronimo||2000||George Stratton|
|U-10||Miss EMCOR/Miss DYC||2001-04||Mark Weber, Mike Weber, Nate Brown|
|U-57||Formulaboats.com||2010-11||Mark Evans, Jimmy Shane|
[Reprinted from Thunderboat, June 2012]