2006 Proboat Models Bill Muncey Cup

Triple Crowns in San Diego

Theoret, Allen, and David Are Winners

by Mac Clouse with Niles Mayfield

During the weekend of the Seattle race, ABRA officials were discussing the fact that the lack of a major sponsor could cancel the San Diego race. A few weeks before the San Diego race, it was announced that Pro Boat Models would be the named sponsor. Also, the race would add a fourth heat and become a UIM World Championship event. Adding to the luster of the World Championship race was the fact that this race would also determine the National High Point Championship and the Driver Championship. At the end of the weekend, the three championships had three different champions. Jean Theoret and the Miss Beacon Plumbing won the World Championship, Mike Allen and Formula II won the National High Point Championship, and Steve David of the Oh Boy! Oberto won the Driver Championship.

Testing and Qualifying

Friday morning had low gray clouds that were supposed to stay all day. However, by noon, they had burned away and the usual sunny mid-70's weather had returned. Eight boats were in the pits. Fred Leland's un-sponsored U-100 arrived in the early afternoon to make it a nine boat field.

The cool weather and calm water in the morning contributed to the best speeds of the day. The first boat out was the Oh Boy! Oberto. Entering this race, the Oberto and Steve David had narrow leads for both the National High Point and Driver Championships. Steve did a lap of 157.502, a fast lap for this hull, the oldest in the fleet. "We used a new gear ratio, but we can't race with it. We will try to loosen the boat a little bit, but that's it for today. We need to conserve our equipment," said Steve. When asked about plans for next year, Steve said "Oberto will be back next year. The only issue is if we have a new boat."

The Oberto team's imminent priority was a new transmission for their truck. Coming to San Diego, the transmission failed in Phoenix. A phone call to Kevin Aylesworth resulted in the "Lucky U-21's" truck going to Phoenix to bring the Oberto to San Diego. A tow truck brought the disabled truck and a $1500 invoice!

Sponsor Larry Oberto had some thoughts about the Oberto team's year. "We are where we are due to dumb luck and circumstances. But dumb luck comes because our team is prepared and is in a position to capitalize on others' mistakes. These guys have earned the right to go faster, and I'm working on trying to make that happen. How do we get them better equipment? The sport's current marketability doesn't justify what I want to do, but the Madison team deserves it. Everyone in the sport is doing what they feel they must, but I don't agree with everything."

The second boat out was Ellstrom, with Dave Villwock. Dave did a lap of 163.490. "We should be in the mid 160's in our next time out," he said.

Ken Muscatel in U-2.25 did a 150.085. He was satisfied. "There is no reason to run again. The boat is as fast as it's going to go. We don't want to salt any more equipment. We want to be ready for tomorrow." Mike Allen in Formula II did a 163.016. "It felt slow, but we went fast. It was deceiving because it seemed easy. We'll try another propeller, but that might be it for our speed," said Mike.

Formula with Jeff Bernard then did 158.584, but lost it due to an N2 violation. Still, Jeff was pleased with his boat. "We had a rudder problem in Seattle. This boat is more driver-friendly than the U-99, but you have to be on your toes. The full canard is also more responsive than the flaps I had on the U-99. Getting to be part of this good of a team was not something I expected this year. Lots of people have given me advice - all my family and Mike Hanson."

The last boat out in Session #1 was the U-3 with Jimmy King driving. King set a new record for a piston-powered boat with his 162.751. "The water was good, and everything fell together. We want a lap like this on Sunday afternoon. I'd trade all my good qualifications for a good Sunday afternoon final heat."

Only five boats participated in Session #2. Both Formula boats had N2 violations. Formula II lost a 164.266, and Formula lost a 158.361. Despite the violations, team manager Mike Weber though this team was ready. "There are so many ways this weekend can playout. We're where we want to be. We want to keep our parts together. We have to build a strategy for the heats because every heat is important. We were just a little over in our N2 violations, but we should be okay in competition since we won'tbe going as fast. We needed the off time since Seattle. We were all burned out. Now we're refreshed!"

Coming off his impressive win in Seattle, Theoret felt different about the off time. After his Miss Beacon Plumbing did 161.406, he said "It's been too long since we raced! It was good to be out there again. With the saltwater, we don't want to go out too much. We want to save things for the race. Having the extra heat will be harder on the boat."

As he predicted, Villwock and Ellstrom hit the mid 160's at 164.901. The next boat out was U-3, running with a red cowling. As has been the case each time the U-3 has used the cowling, the engine temperature went down, but so did the RPM's and the speed. The best King could do was a 150.035. The cowling then disappeared for the weekend. The final boat out in Session #2 was Designer [Glass and Shower]. An earlier fuel control problem was solved as Myers did a 161.348.

Saturday morning had no clouds at all. Temperatures were warmer, in the low 80's. In the morning qualifying session, four boats raised their speeds, Ellstrom, Beacon, Oberto, and U-2.25.

Heat 1

Heats 1 and 2 were run on Saturday afternoon. In heat 1, a strong wind was blowing across the course from the backstretch to the front stretch. The constant 20 mph wind created whitecaps on the course. The wind subsided to about 10 mph in heat 2. In spite of the conditions, Saturday had some great racing.

In 1A, Formula was in lane 1, U-2.25 lane 2, Lakeridge Paving in 3, U-3 in 4, and Designer way outside in 5. Formula was first across the line and to the turn. Bernard had a two roostertail lead going down the backstretch. Designer, U-2.25, and U-3 were side by side in second. U-100 died at the exit of turn 1. By the end of the lap. Formula led U-3 by a half roostertail. King led Myers by a roostertail who led Muscatel by a roostertail. The positions and spacing stayed the same in lap 2.

In lap 3, U-3 pulled even with Formulaboats as they entered turn 2. It was a drag race to the finish with U-3 winning by about 3½ feet. Designer stayed outside for the whole heat and got third.

King was pleased. "I hoped I could catch him (Jeff). I gave him two seconds at the start. I was lucky the boat was ready to run. The water is OK once you' re up and going. It is rougher than I've ever seen it here. Next time I'll try to start on the inside and on time."

Bernard gave it all he had. "At the end, I had to watch my N2 light. I didn't have anything left. I could only run as fast as the N2 light would let me."

The news was not good for the Lakeridge Paving. Owner Fred Leland said, "We're out of motors. We went through three of them. We've withdrawn from the race."

In 1B, Beacon was in lane 1, Formula II in lane 2, Ellstrom 3, and Oberto in 4. Oberto was first across the line, but Formula II was first to the turn. Allen led Theoret by two boat lengths as they entered turn 2. Villwock was within a roostertail in third. Formula II and Beacon ran very close together at the exit of the turn. At the end of the lap Formula led Beacon by about three tenths of a second. Ellstrom was 1½-seconds behind in third, and Oberto was in fourth.

In lap 2, Beacon and Formula II were side by side up the backstretch. Beacon used the inside lane to take the lead in turn 2 and led Formula II by two boat lengths at the end of the lap.

Theoret stretched his lead over Allen in lap 3 and finished a roostertail ahead. Villwock was two roostertails behind Allen.

After the heat, it was announced that Theoret had been fined $300 for encroaching on Allen in turn 1 of lap 2. Allen was fined $300 for encroaching on Theoret in turn 2 of lap 1. It was a fast and competitive heat. Theoret averaged 157.456 for the heat; lap 2 was 158.556.

Theoret had several comments after the race. "The front chute is real lumpy, but our boat ride was phenomenal. It's a race boat, not a qualifying boat. Lots of good people are making the boat work. If you want to win here, you need lane 1. We were early because Mike sped up to get lane 1. I had to go with him to be sure I would get it." When asked about the encroachment fines, Jean said "Squeezing and pushing out are part of racing. It's ridiculous to call anything."

Villwock was not happy with his third place finish. "It's the same problem we had in Seattle. We need more motor.

Heat 2

In 2A, the U-2.25 cut across the infield to take lane 1 from Formula. Oberto was in lane 3, and Designer used lane 4 to go deep into the turn for a flying start from the outside. Oberto was first across the lane, but Formula was first to the turn. Bernard had David on his hip down the backstretch, but used the inside lane to take a roostertail lead at the end of lap 1. Designer was a roostertail behind Oberto. Muscatel got wet in turn 2, died, and then restarted. Oberto challenged in lap 2 pulling to with one half roostertail of Formula in turn 2. Again, the inside lane made the difference, and Bernard pulled away to a one roostertail lead, which he kept to the end of the heat.

Bernard was pleased with his first regular heat win; he won the provisional heat last year in Seattle. "We had some left this time. I just kept in front enough to win. I can't ask for anything more except maybe a little more speed when I have to go against 1, 3, and 37."

Myers explained why he stayed to the outside in both heats. "I want to be in lane 4 to stay out of the salt. We're not in the high points chase so we're just getting points to make the Final. We're having some gearbox and propeller challenges."

Heat 2B was a great way to end Saturday's racing. It had a photo-finish that involved three boats. Even the officials at the finish line had to wait for the photo to announce the winner.

Formula II went early into turn 1 to get lane 1, but Beacon cut across the infield and took it away. U-3 was in lane 3 and Ellstrom in 4. All four boats were very early. They went slowly down the backstretch and slowly through turn 2 before accelerating for the start. Unfortunately for U-3, when the other boats accelerated, U-3 did not respond. King was very late across the line and was never a factor in the race.

Beacon was first across the line and was side by side with Formula II in turn 1. Entering turn 2, Beacon led Formula II by one boat length, with Ellstrom a boat length behind Formula II. The boats finished the lap in that order, all within one roostertail.

In lap 2, Allen pulled ahead as the boats entered turn 2. He led at the end of the lap, but again all three boats were close.

Allen led the boats into turn 1 in lap 3, but Theoret used the inside lane to pass Allen coming out of turn 2. Villwock was on the outside, setting up for a run to the finish. A drag race to the finish provided the photo finish. Villwock beat Allen by about two feet. Theoret trailed Allen by about half a boat length. It was a great race for all 3 laps!

Villwock was pleased with his win and his boat's improved performance. "We fixed it. We were getting low fuel readings all through Seattle and earlier today.

We think we can do some things to make the boat even better. I made a good start and wanted to pass on the last lap. Get within striking distance and wait for the rough water. I was in better position than the other two boats coming out of turn 2."

Theoret didn't know that Villwock had won. "I knew Mike was one-half a boat in front of me, but I couldn't see Dave because of Mike's roostertail. I was first out of turn 2, but it was all about straightaway speed. I couldn't push Mike and Dave out in the turn because the officials are calling things real close."

U-3 had a fuel load problem. Owner Ed Cooper explained, "Jimmy put the hammer down at the start and it wouldn't go. It was a slow start. We were going 47 mph. That slow speed gives us too much fuel in the engine. When the fuel load finally cleared, the boat ran well but we were way back."

King was looking for a solution. "I have some ideas to get through the slow starts. We need to be over 80 mph to be able to go fast at the start."

Weber, Team manager of Formula Boats, was pleased after the first day of racing. "I'm proud of my team. I was spotting for Jeff and telling him what was going on. Then I realized I missed a great race. For some reason, we lost both boats' saltwater air scoops. We've had to tape them back together, but our whole team is working together on both boats."

Saturday's results tightened up the High Point and Driver Standings. Going into Sunday, Oberto's lead over Formula II was 107 points; Ellstrom was in third, 285 points behind. David's Driver lead was 450 over Allen.

Heat 3

Sunday moming had blue skies and no wind until a light breeze in the afternoon. In the morning testing, Ellstrom went out five different times. Villwock ran only one timed lap at 164.841, most of the time they were working on a new fuel control. Beacon tried a new propeller and did an impressive 165.204. The only other boat that tested was Designer, which did a 162.308.

In 3A, Beacon was in lane 1 and Designer in 2. Ellstrom took lane 3 and went deep in the turn for a flying start. Oberto was late to join the others and tried for lane 2, but ended up in 4. Ellstrom was first across the line, but ran side-by-side with Beacon up the backstretch. Beacon used the inside to take a four boat-length lead at the end of the lap. Designerwas in third, with Oberto fourth.

Ellstrom pulled to within two boat lengths as the boats entered turn 2 of lap 2. Again, the inside helped Theoret, and he had almost a one-roostertail lead at the end of the lap.

Lap 3 was the same. Villwock pulled close as the boats entered turn 2, but Theoret pulled away on the inside to win by a roostertail. Designer finished third.

Theoret was pleased with his new combination. "With the new propeller, we have more speed and better cornering." Theoret had another fast heat, averaging 157.015.

David explained his start. "I had no choice but to try to go inside to get lane 2, inside of U-10, but there was no room. So I ended up in lane 4."

In 3B, U-3 cut across the course to take lane 1 from Formula II, which moved out to lane 2. Formula was in lane 3 with U-2.25 in 4. All four boats went slowly through turn 2 before the start. Both Formula boats crossed the line together and the II led the field for all three laps. Allen beat Bernard by two roostertails. A sputtering U-3 finished three roostertail's behind Bernard in third.

It was a good heat for the Formulaboats team. "It went how we planned it. We're real happy," said Jeff. "It was rougher than yesterday. The boat lifted up in the straightaways. I had to give it a lot of wing. Maybe I should have been more conservative, but I'm learning things now that can help in the Final," said Mike.

Weber spotted for Allen. "I told Mike to slow down in lap 3. I guaranteed him that Jeff wouldn't pass him!"

Formula II's win moved it into first place in the High Points Standings, 124 points ahead of Oberto. David still led the Driver Standings.

Heat 4

This heat was the added for the UIM World Championship event. The heat results did have some interesting consequences.

In 4A, Beacon and Ellstrom took lanes 1 and 2 early and moved slowly up the backstretch. U-3 stayed back so it could do a fast start and not have its fuel loading problem. Formula was in lane 4. Ellstrom was first across the line and to the turn. At the end of the lap.

Ellstrom led Beacon by one-half a roostertail. U-3 was a roostertail behind Beacon, and Formula was conservatively in fourth.

In turn 2 of lap 2, Beacon hit the entrance buoy and then went into Ellstrom's roostertail and coasted to a stop. Ellstrom went on to win the heat by three roostertails over U-3. Formula was third.

After the heat it was announced that Ellstrom was disqualified for a flagrant fuel violation that occurred in the moments just before it crossed the starting line. As stated in ABRA Rule #13, Section F, #7, Ellstrom received 0 points and the other two finishers moved up one place, putting U-3 first and Formula second. Ellstrom's failure to get points officially took them out of the race for the High Points Championship.

Theoret was upset about his DNF. "Dave cut me off. I had half a lane as I entered turn 2. It was either hit the buoy or hit him. We thought about a protest, but we're in the final anyway so we saved our money."

Entering 4B, Designer and Oberto were battling for the sixth front-line spot in the final. Designer had 675 points; Oberto had 638. It would be tough for David to win the Driver Championship if he was the trailer in the final. He was going to have to beat Myers in 4B.

The battle between DavidandMyers never happened. An igniter box problem kept Designer at its dock; the engine wouldn't start. Any finish by Oberto would put David on the front-line and make U-2.25 the trailer.

Formula II took lane 1, U-2.25 lane 2, and Oberto in 3. Oberto was first across the line and to the turn, but Formula II took the lead on the backstretch. From there, the race was a parade. Allen finished half a straightaway ahead ofDavid, who was half a straightaway ahead of Muscatel.

The final was now set. Beacon, Formula II, Formula, U-3, Ellstrom, and Oberto would be on the front-line, the trailer U-2.25.

Final

Entering the final, Formula II led the High Point Championship by 164 points over Oberto. David had a 119-point lead over Allen for the Driver Championship.

What kind of strategies did the drivers and teams have for the final?

David - "We'll be an opportunist. We can still win all three things. We can't be early to the start. We have to be within two finish positions of U-7 to have a chance.''

Theoret - "I want lane 1 if I can, but I have to be careful that I don't get pinched. I'll take what the Good Lord gives me. We'll use the same engine and propeller that we used this morning."

King - "I want to start with the engine going fast. I'll look for a hole and then hit the lane fast. We will try to win from the outside."

Villwock - "I'll see what lane opens up and what everyone else does."

Muscatel - "We're running ok, just slow in the corners. A lot can happen in the Final."

Weber - "We're running for the point's championship. We'll go up early to get the outside lanes. We'll let U-37, 1, and 3 fight for the inside. We don't want 5 inside. It's not fast enough to stay out of trouble. We want 5 outside of 7 to protect 7."

Ellstrom entered turn 1 very early to take lane 1. Villwock then went slowly up the backstretch, way in front of the rest of the field. The Formula boats were in their desired outside lanes, Formula II in 5 and Formula in 6. U-3 was in 4, Oberto in 3, and Beacon in 2. Then, while still ahead of the field, Villwock began to move from lane to lane and eventually settled in 3. Oberto moved to 2, and Beacon to 1, which Theoret wanted.

When the boats accelerated for the start, Ellstrom was left way behind. Beacon was first across the line and first to the turn. Theoret jumped to a quick roostertail lead over U-3. Formula II, Oberto, and Formula were close behind U-3. U-2.25 passed a compressor stalling Ellstrom on the backstretch. In turn 2, Villwock pulled Ellstrom into the infield and shut do wn.

The order and spacing stayed the same in lap 2. By the end of lap 3, Beacon led U-3 by two roostertails. Formula II led Oberto by a roostertail. Formula and U-2.25 trailed.

In lap 4, Oberto moved to the inside and passed Formula II in turn 2. Beacon went on to win by two roostertails over U-3. Oberto finished a roostertail ahead of Formula II, with Formula fifth and U-2.25 sixth.

The final resulted in three winners.

Beacon won the Pro Boat Models UIM World Championship. Formula II won the National High Point Championship, and David won the Driver Championship.

Allen talked about their year and the Championship. "This was supposed to be a year for building our team. Our goal was to get progressively better and be prepared for 2007. Give lots of credit to the Oberto team. They don't have the speed, but they do well. Our plan for the Final worked perfectly. We didn't want to get caught in the salt. We knew what we had to do. I didn't try to catch the U-6. It was also hard not to chase the yellow boat, but we wanted to win the National Championship." David talked about this year and the Championship. "It's great for the sport to have three winners. It shows that anyone can do anything. Things didn't look good for us after Evansville and Madison. We just worked harder. We've proven what we can do. Give us the top equipment and let us show what we can do."

Villwock's move out of lane 1 gave Theoret the lane he wanted in the final. Villwock explained, "I didn't want lane 1. I wanted to go up early and take the field with me, but they didn't follow me. I got too much salt. When I hit the gas for the start, it didn't go. When I got to the turn, there was nothing but water. The engine shut down in the turn. I restarted, but it was compressor stalling. Eric told me shut it down."

Theoret was happy to get lane 1. "We are not the fastest on the straightaway, but we corner well. Lane 1 and a good start gave us the win. Dave had lane 1; then he started squirreling around from lane to lane and went to lane 3. That let us take lane 1."

Beacon's third win capped a successful rookie season for owner Billy Schumacher. When asked about his driver and the year, he said, "I don't need to tell Jean anything. He's as good as it comes to getting lane 1. I felt all along we would do well this year. When we acquired the team, we got the best driver and Scott Raney and John Walters. I thought the boat had a lot of potential. I thought we would win more than we did. But I'm very happy with the three we did win. We'll build a new boat this winter. We hope to be faster in both the straightaway and the turns. Beacon Plumbing is happy to be part of us and has committed for five years."

It was a very interesting scene in the pits after the race. With three winners, there were large celebrations going on at three boat camps. Lots of people were happy. With a very competitive and successful 2006 season, there was one other big winner. It was the sport itself and all the people who were a part of the 2006 season. Everyone is looking to an even better 2007 season.

(Unlimited NewsJournal, October 2006)