2010 Lucas Oil Madison Regatta

Oh Boy! Oberto victorious in Home Town Race

By George Schulz

The 61st edition of the Madison Regatta, this year sponsored by the Lucas Oil Company, was a great American 4th of July event. Thirteen Unlimiteds made the scene for the 2010 season opener and, although the race was exciting and on time, it wasn’t without controversy.

Qualifying ended with Steve David, in the hometown Oh Boy! Oberto, topping the field at 154.575 mph for a lap on the 2½ mile Wild Bill Cantrell Memorial Race Course. Next was Dave Villwock in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, the renamed and repainted Ellstrom E-Lam Plus, in at 153.152. Ed Cooper pulled into the pits along the Ohio River with his all red U-3 Go3 Racing. Driver Jimmy King did a lap at 143.241 to get the piston boat into the show.

No sooner had qualifying ended and the Drivers’ Meeting begun, when Cooper argued that H1 Unlimited officials had changed the rules and would not allow qualifying on Saturday. He packed up his equipment and pulled out of the race. Stunned officials were at a loss, but they had a race to run.

Eleven boats qualified, minus the U-3. The U-57 Formulaboats.com, a last-minute entry from Ted Porter’s camp, to be driven by Jimmy Shane, was ill-prepared and didn’t make the water.

Saturday’s heats led off the 2010 season well. Steve David took Heat 1-A easily after a first-lap charge by J. Michael Kelly in U-7 Graham Trucking. Rookie driver Cal Phipps debuted in Dave Bartush’s U-13 Spirit of Detroit, taking third, and Jeff Bernard came in fourth in a balky U-5 Formulaboats.com.

Heat 1-B saw an on-the-money start by Brian Perkins in his new ride, Miss Albert Lee. Perkins led into the tight first turn, but Dave Villwock powered out of the turn and outdragged Perkins down the Kentucky backstretch to take a commanding lead. Rookie Jon Zimmerman in Ken Muscatel’s Superior Racing held third, and Mike Webster tooled along in fourth in his U-22 Miss Broadway.

Three boats were scheduled for Heat 1-C: J.W. Myers in Bill and Jane Schumacher’s U-37 Miss Peters & May, Greg Hopp in U-100 Leland Unlimited, and Kip Brown in his Uncle Nate’s U-17 Cruisin' Auto. Hopp didn’t start, and Brown blew his gearbox, so Myers finished alone.

With the U-17 withdrawing, that left 10 boats for Sunday.

Heat 2-A led off the festivities with a tremendous run by J. Michael Kelly and Brian Perkins. The two Seattleites battled deck-to-deck for three laps, giving the sweltering crowd on shore something to cheer about. In the end, Kelly’s Graham Trucking outlasted Perkins’ Albert Lee entry and won, 140.181 mph to 139.457. Miss Peters & May held with them for a lap before backing off, and Superior Racing was last. Once again, the U-100 did not start.

2-B was expected to be the showdown between Oh Boy! Oberto and Spirit of Qatar. Jeff Bernard and Steve David blasted to the front, but they were caught up by Villwock in the turn. It was a scary three-boat duel up the backstretch, with Villwock’s Qatar entry sailing along like a kite, while the Oberto and Formula battled it out for second. Cal Phipps was third in Spirit of Detroit, and Webster’s U-22 didn’t start.

As Villwock crossed the finish line, David and Bernard came charging out of the last turn with roostertails flying. Was it close! Bernard eked out the second place finish by a nose: 139.615 to 139.046. David finished third, and Phipps was fourth.

Graham Trucking and Oh Boy! Oberto were side-by-side going into the first turn of Heat 3-A. Spirit of Detroit was third but was passed by Miss Albert Lee. Great racing for first and second, and third and fourth.

Under the Madison-Milton Bridge, David took a good lead and began pulling away from Kelly. Phipps’ U-13 lost a prop in the east turn and stopped. Oberto won by ½ a straightaway over Graham. Albert Lee finished third. Spirit of Detroit DNF’d, and U-100 DNS.

U-5 Formulaboats and U-37 Miss Peters & May came our for Heat 3-B.

U-22 Miss Broadway came out in front of Spirit of Qatar, who was floating out with Villwock trying to fire up his turbine. As the seconds ticked away with no life in Villwock’s Lycoming, it was a DNS!

With the U-96 floating right in the middle of the front straight, officials let the race begin.

Myers and Bernard blasted around the first turn together. On the first lap, U-5 led U-37 by a boat length. Broadway trailed. Beautiful side-by-side racing down the back chute, with Bernard’s red boat and Myers’ day-glo yellow boat tearing up the course. It was all for naught because Bernard’s boat was disqualified, so Myers won, with Mike Webster second. No points for Bernard.

The final heat was exciting, with the favored Dave Villwock’s boat as the trailer.

J. Michael Kelly in Graham Trucking took the flying start. Three boats came rocketing out of the turn together: Graham, Peters & May, and Oberto. Steve David came out of lap #1 with the lead. Miss Albert Lee was fourth, followed by a slow-moving Qatar and a slower-moving Broadway.

Kelly kept the pressure on Steve David as Myers kept the same pressure on Kelly, but it was turning into a route for the hometown boat.

By lap five's finish, the partisan crowd rose to their feet to salute Steve David as he won his second Indiana Governor’s Cup in the community-owned U-1.

J.W. Myers pushed Kelly all the way to the checkered flag, but couldn’t get by for second place. Brian Perkins brought the Miss Albert Lee home in fourth. Dave Villwock was fifth, just saving his equipment for the Gold Cup in Detroit. Mike Webster brought up the rear in Miss Broadway.

Another regatta goes in the books on this sweltering day in Madison, Indiana, with the local crowd going home happy.

Lucas Oil Indiana Governor’s Cup, July 3-4, 2010 Madison, IN
U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, Steve David 1525
U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly 1300
U-37 Miss Peters & May, J.W. Myers 1320
U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance, Brian Perkins 1034
U-98 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock 1007
U-22 Miss Broadway, Mike Webster 594
U-5 Formulaboats.com, Jeff Bernard 469
U-25 Superior Racing, Jon Zimmerman 424
U-13 Spirit of Detroit, Cal Phipps 454
U-l 7 Cruisin' Auto, Kip Brown 50
U-100 Leland Unlimited, Greg Hopp 30
U-57 Formulaboats.com, Jimmy Shane DNQ
U-3 Go3 Racing, Jimmy King withdrew
*Includes qualifying points


[Reprinted from Thunderboat, September 2010]