2010 Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup

Steve David, Oh Boy! Oberto three-peat in the Tri-Cities

by Fred Farley - H1 Unlimited Historian

The third stop on the 2010 HI Unlimited Series tour emerged as a repeat triumph for the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison team and driver Steve David. On July 25, they captured their third straight Tri-Cities Lamb Weston Columbia Cup at Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Washington, on the Columbia River.

The community-owned U-1 from southern Indiana maintained its lead in National High Points with three down and two events remaining on the 2010 H1 calendar. Earlier in the season, Oh Boy! Oberto had placed first in the Indiana Governor's Cup at Madison and second in the APBA Gold Cup at Detroit.

Dave Villwock and Spirit of Qatar (U-96), the Gold Cup winners, appeared to have the Tri-Cities race won but were called for a driving infraction in the final turn of the Final Heat and had to run a penalty lap. This dropped them from first to fifth-place in the corrected order of finish.

Oh Boy! Oberto finished well ahead of second-place J. Michael Kelly and Graham Trucking (U-7) in the Columbia Cup Final Heat.

Twelve Unlimited teams attended the 45th annual Tri-Cities race. These included a third entry from the Ted Porter organization, the recently re-activated Formulaboats.com II (U-57). This particular boat had last raced in 2008 as a back-up hull. Taking the wheel of the U-57 at the Tri-Cities in 2010 was veteran Mark Evans in his first Unlimited appearance since 2003.

Billy and Jane Schumacher's Miss Peters & May (U-37) team appeared at the Tri-Cities with a hull borrowed from Fred Leland to replace the boat destroyed at Detroit. The Schumachers hired Jon Zimmerman to drive in place of the convalescing J. W. Myers.

A quartet of Vintage Unlimiteds also set up shop in the Columbia Park pit area. These were the 1962 Miss Bardahl, the 1980 "Griffon" Miss Budweiser, the 1982 Atlas Van Lines, and the replica 1955 Miss Thriftway. The Vintage boats entertained several times over the three-day weekend on the 2.5-mile Tri-Cities race course. The replica 1955 Gale V was also on display in Columbia Park but was not put in the water.

Spirit of Qatar qualified fastest for the Columbia Cup at a speed of 163.579. Oh Boy! Oberto was next at 162.928.

Then came Red Dot (U-17) with Nate Brown at 157.199, Graham Trucking with Kelly at 157.062, Superior Racing (U-25) with Dr. Ken Muscatel at 156.513, Spirit of Detroit (U-13) with Cal Phipps at 156.296, Miss Albert Lee Appliance (U-21) with Brian Perkins at 155.566, Formula Boats.com (U-5) with Jeff Bernard at 154.974, Fleury Auto & Truck Parts (U-100) with Greg Hopp at 152.322, Miss Peters & May with Zimmerman at 150.763, Matrix System Automotive Finishes (U-22) with Mike Webster at 136.622, and Formulaboats.com II with Evans at 132.747.

Victory in the Unlimited Light Racing Series event for the Atomic Cup went to Kayleigh Perkins at the wheel of Joe Frauenheim's Foster Care/Triad Technologies (UL-72). Ms. Perkins had won the 2009 Tri-Cities UL race as well. She finished ahead of second-place Wil Muncey, Jr., in Atomic Screenprinting/Warning Power.com (UL-00) and third-place Rod Bourke in Miss Kim (UL-5) in the Final Heat.

All preliminary heats for the Unlimited Class consisted of three laps; the Final Heat comprised five laps.

DASH-FOR-CASH HEAT

(1) U-1; (2) U-21; (3) U-100.

Three boats participated in the traditional Dash-For-Cash exhibition heat on Friday afternoon.

A ragged start with U-1 first across in lane-three. All three boats exited the first turn together. All three boats were dead even at the end of lap-one. U-21 led down the second backstretch. U-1 moved back into the lead at the end of lap-two. The boats were side-by-side at the exit buoy of the final turn. It was a drag race to the checkered flag with U-1 taking it by two boat lengths over U-21. U-100 finished third within the roostertail length of U-1 and U-21.

HEAT 1-A

(1) U-1; (2) U-17; (3) U-21; (4) U-22; (5) U-57; (DNF) U-5.

A ragged start with U-17 first across. U-17 led out of the first turn but was quickly passed by U-1. U-1 led U-17 by one roostertail length after lap-one and by two roostertails after lap-two. U-1 then pulled away. U-21, U-22, and U-57 trailed. U-5 stopped in the first turn.

HEAT 1-B

(1) U-96; (2) U-7; (3) U-13; (4) U-37; (5) U-100; (DNF) U-25.

A blanket start with U-96 first across.. U-96 led out of the first turn and throughout. U-96 pulled away from the field at the end of lap-one. U-7 and U-13 battled for second-place for two laps. U-37 and U-100 trailed. U-25 became airborne in the first turn of lap-three and came down hard, shattering the starboard side of the boat. The heat was stopped after the U-25's crash and declared a contest on the basis of two completed laps. U-25 was towed back to the pits in sinking condition. Pilot Muscatel escaped serious injury.

HEAT 2-A

(1) U-21; (2) U-13; (3) U-37; (4) U-22; (5) U-57; (6) U-17.

A blanket start with U-13 first across. U-21 led out of the first turn and throughout. U-13 stayed within U-21's roostertail for one and three-quarter laps until U-21 pulled away. U-13 took a bad bounce in the first turn of lap-three but recovered to finish second. U-17 made a very belated start and was not a factor.

HEAT 2-B

(1) U-96; (2) U-7; (3) U-5; (4) U-1; (5) U-100.

A blanket start with U-5 first across. Four boats exited the first turn together and see-sawed for the lead for two and a half laps. U -96, after starting in lane-five, overtook the U-7 and the U-5 in the final half lap. U-1 took fourth and U-100 was a distant fifth. U-96 and U-7 were both assessed a monetary fine for encroaching on the U-1.

HEAT 3-A

(1) U-1; (2) U-7; (3) U-21; (4) U-17; (5) U-57; (DNF) U-13.

A blanket start with U-1 first across. U-1 led out of the first turn and throughout. U-7 stayed withinn U-1's roostertail for two and a half laps. U-21 ran close behind the leaders but fell off the pace on lap-two. U-17 and U-57 trailed. U-13 conked out on lap-one.

HEAT 3-B

(1) U-96; (2) U-5; (3) U-100; (4) U-37; (5) U-22.

A blanket start with U-5 first across. U-96 led out of the first turn and throughout. U-1 pulled away on lap-one and won by two roostertails. U-5 and U-100 see-sawed for second-place with U-5 taking it. U-37 and U-22 trailed.

After three sets of preliminary heats, Spirit of Qatar (U-96) had 1200 points for three first-place finishes. Oh Boy! Oberto (U-1) had 969 for two firsts and a fourth. Graham Trucking (U-7) had 900 for three second-place finishes. Miss Albert Lee Appliance (U-21) had 850 for one first and two thirds. Red Dot (U-17) had 564 for a second, a fourth, and a sixth. Miss Peters & May (U-37) had 563 for one third and two fourths. These six were admitted to the front line in the winner-take-all Finals. Formulaboats.com (U-5), with 525 points, was designated as the trailer boat on the strength of a second, a third, and a DNF.

FINAL HEAT

(1) U-1; (2) U-7; (3) U-5; (4) U-17; (5) U-96; (6) U-37; (DNF) U-21.

The lane choices for the Final Heat, from inside out, were U-96, U-1, U-7, U-21, U-17, U-37, and U-5 in that order.

A ragged start with U-17 and U-37 jumping the gun. U-1 led out of the first turn, closely followed by U-96. U-96 passed U-1 after three-quarters of a lap and pulled to a one-roostertail length lead. U-96 led U-1 by two roostertails until lap-five. On the fifth back-stretch, U-1 began closing in on U-96. U-1 moved to within U-96's roostertail in the final turn. U-96 moved from approximately lane-four to lane-two, cutting off U-1 and incurring a one-lap penalty. This dropped U-96 from first to fifth-place behind U-1, U-7, U-5, and U-17. U-37 placed sixth with U-21 stopping on lap-three.

U-1 averaged 146.842 for the 12.5-mile Final Heat distance, compared to 141.988 for second-place U-7.

According to Steve David, "I knew it was tight in the last turn, but my radio was out so my crew couldn't tell me about the call on the U-96. Then I saw that Dave was running an extra lap and I thought maybe the officials had seen the turn the way 1 did.

"Winning the three-peat was our goal," David continued. "It’s a tremendous accomplishment for our whole team and I am very proud of all of them."

This marked the sixth race win for the current Oh Boy! Oberto hull, built in 2007, which won at Seattle and San Diego during its debut season, at Madison in 2010. and at the Tri-Cities from 2008 onward.

Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison driver David increased his victory total in the Unlimited Class to eleven at the 2010 Columbia Cup. Among active drivers, only Dave Villwock has more (with 60).

[Reprinted from Thunderboat, October 2010]