2014 Detroit APBA Gold Cup
Gold Cup For Shane – Oberto – Madison
The one prize that eluded Steve David in one of the greatest careers of any driver in the history of Unlimited Hydroplane Racing was the APBA Gold Cup. David won many races and multiple championships for the community owned Oberto/Miss Madison before retiring at the end of the 2013 season and turning the seat over to 2013 National High Point Champion Jimmy Shane, but was never able to put it all together in Detroit.
On Sunday, Shane and the Oberto/Madison team headed by crew chief Larry Hanson gave the city of Madison their first Gold Cup win since Jim McCormick’s storied win in 1971. In doing so, Shane put his name on the historic Gold Cup trophy and gave indications it won’t be the last.
An excited Shane said, “It feels amazing and I am so happy to be able to win a Gold Cup for everyone at Oberto and the city of Madison. They waited for this since 1971 and we finally get them another one in 2014.”
Asked when he knew about the penalty on Kelly, Shane said, “I heard the call at the start but I wanted to make sure it was real, so I didn’t want him to get too far ahead. He was really fast all weekend.”
Could he have caught Kelly? Shane answered, “No one will ever know. We could have run harder but the important thing was to keep the boat together and win the Gold Cup. And we did! We won the Gold Cup!”
Sponsor Larry Oberto calle the win a relief, saying, “It’s a big relief and really, really neat. My dad started sponsoring boats 40 years ago. It’s been 43 years since Madison had a Gold Cup win and 14 years that we have been partners. Those are all big numbers.”
Asked if he had talked to his dad, Oberto added, “Yes. He said he would so somersaults but that would be dangerous at 86 years of age.”
Sunday morning dawned gray and rainy on the 2.7 mile race course at the 2014 Detroit APBA Gold Cup on the Detroit River. For three of the H1 Unlimited race teams who had entered the weekend with high hopes, the news was even gloomier. Both the 11 Peters and May and the 12 ServPro Miss DiJulio were forced to withdraw with mechanical issues. The 9 Team Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar was on the trailer showing a lot of damage from a blow over accident in Heat 3A on Saturday. Driver Jon Zimmerman was unhurt but very disappointed as the boat had been running very well prior to the accident.
As the skies cleared and conditions improved, the remaining five teams each had two preliminary heats standing between them and the winner-take-all championship Final Heat that would add a new name to one of the most prestigious trophies in all of motorsports. Jimmy Shane in the 6 Oberto looked to continue a perfect weekend in Heat 3A, after adding two Saturday heat wins to the points he earned as top qualifier on Friday – and did so by leading all four laps. Cal Phipps joined Shane in the 7 Graham Trucking II in the heat and scored the 300 points for a second place finish.
The remaining three boats lined up and made a perfect start to Heat 3B with J. Michael Kelly in lane one in the 1 Graham Trucking. Brian Perkins was right on his hip in the 21 Miss Al Deeby Dodge and that’s where he stayed throughout the heat, finishing second. Mike Webster started on the outside in the 22 Auto Value/Webster Racing and finished third.
Shane and Phipps hooked up in a great duel in 4A after Phipps put the Graham Trucking II on the inside. The lead changed several times and the two came off the final corner deck to deck. Shane won the drag race to the checkered flag to take the win by a boat length. Webster was penalized a lap for jumping the start and finished third.
That left only two boats to run in the final prelim of the weekend. Kelly and Perkins were matched up again and staged a spirited battle for the inside. Kelly won that battle and started in lane one. Perkins surprised by leading the first lap and taking the lead at several points in the race before Kelly took the win by two boat lengths.
That left only the five lap final and the race to decide whose name would go on the Gold Cup for the first time.
The final field was set with Shane, Kelly, Perkins, Phipps and Webster all away from the dock at the five minute mark under blue skies with fluffy white clouds. Maneuvering for the preferred lanes began immediately with Kelly putting the Graham Trucking in lane 1. But Kelly and Webster both picked up penalties for score up violations before the start, meaning Shane only had to stay ahead of Perkins and Phipps to win the Gold Cup and that’s what he did. Kelly led all five laps, leaving fans wondering what could have been.
Shane ran the final lap with a broken rear wing but got the boat to the checkered flag for the biggest win of his young career and the first Gold Cup for the team’s long long-time.Perkins and Phipps joined Shane on the podium, finishing second and third.
H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole capped off the Gold cup weekend saying, “Congratulations to Jimmy Shane and the Oberto/Miss Madison team on a historic victory. Attrition took a toll on the Detroit River as it often does, but I want to congratulate the race committee and our race teams on a great event.”
“Now we all look forward to heading out to the West Coast,” added Cole. “When we meet again in the Tri-Cities in two weeks we should see a lot more great racing like what we had here in Detroit.”
The H1 fleet moves to the Pacific Northwest for the Hapo Columbia Cup on the Columbia River in South Central Washington July 25 – 27.
July 13th, 2014