Mark Weber

The Mark Weber Story

Mark Weber
Mark Weber

A hydroplane competitor since 1979, Mark Weber is a third-generation boat racer.

His father and grandfather drove Limited hydroplanes. Mark is the brother of Unlimited driver Mike Weber and Limited pilot Steve Weber. His brother-in-law is Gold Cup winner Terry Troxell.

Mark stepped up to the Unlimited ranks in mid-season 1996 after winning the 1995 National High Point Championship in the Unlimited Light Class with Bob Larimore's Pegasus.

Weber joined the Miss Exide Unlimited team, owned by Mike and Lori Jones, and was named co-Rookie-of-the-Year along with teammate Rick Christensen.

Mark credits much of his success as a driver to his father, the late Ray Weber, who was a top competitor from the 1950s to the 1970s.

"Dad's impact on my career is more so now than when I started in 1979 at age 15. He told me I was going to run in the middle of the pack. That way, when and if I was ever good enough to run out front, I would have respect for the other drivers. Being 15 years old and having wanted to race since I was about five, I thought Dad was crazy. But he was absolutely right."

In early 1997, Weber picked up a couple of third-place trophies at Madison, Indiana, and the Tri-Cities, Washington, with Fred Leland's U-99 team.

When Miss Budweiser pilot Dave Villwock was seriously injured at the 1997 Tri-Cities race, owner Bernie Little needed a replacement driver in a hurry. Mark Weber stepped in and finished the season. He kept Budweiser in the National High Point lead and scored his first Unlimited victory at the Las Vegas Cup on Lake Mead.

The 1997 Seattle race with Miss Budweiser is not one of Mark's fonder memories. Jimmy King and Miss E-Lam Plus collided with Budweiser shortly after the start in one of the heat races and climbed right on top of Weber's boat! The Bud and the E-Lam literally rode piggy-back around the first turn before coming to a stop. Both boats suffered damage but fortunately neither driver was injured.

After starting the 1998 season with Ed Cooper's piston-powered U-3, Kim Gregory offered Weber the driving job with his new U-10 racing team. Mark accepted and drove the last three races of the year. He claimed his second Unlimited win at Pearl Harbor, driving Wild FIRE.

Weber guided the U-10 to third-place in National High Points in 1999 and second-place in both 2000 and 2001. He took second at the 2000 APBA Gold Cup on his hometown Detroit River race course, driving the locally sponsored Miss DYC.

Mark was shaken to the core by the death of his close friend and teammate George Stratton, pilot of Appian Jeronimo, at San Diego in 2000. Stratton was lost in a "blow-over" accident during a test run. Following the announcement of George's passing, Weber took the U-10 out onto Mission Bay for a one-lap tribute to his fallen comrade. Mark then returned to the pits and withdrew from the race.

In recent years, Weber has concentrated on business interests. He did "unretire" long enough to take sixth-place in the 2003 Gold Cup with Miss Chrysler Jeep.

Mark still takes the wheel of his 5-Litre Class hydroplane, which he campaigns with brothers Mike and Steve. (Mark has twice won the 5-Litre Inboard Nationals--in 1992 with My Way and in 1997 with Bad Frog Beer.)

For 2007, Weber was appointed Director of Operations for the Detroit River Regatta Association.