1999 Chrysler - Jeep APBA Gold Cup at Detroit

Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup Action Starts Thursday

When the Ralph's 1999 Unlimited Hydro Tour arrives in  Detroit this week,  the most prestigious powerboat trophy will once again be on the line.  The Detroit River will be the site for the Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup with qualifying starting Thursday, July 8.  The big Unlimited Hydroplanes will race on Saturday, July 10 and then again on Sunday, July 11 as the action leads to a winner-take-all final at 3:10 pm.

Who will take the trophy home is truly a legitimate question this year.  Chip Hanauer returned to the hydroplane wars and won the first race on the circuit at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.  Then, on the Fourth of July on the Ohio River, Hanauer took the Miss PICO to its second win on the tour and 60th career triumph with the Jasper Engines and Transmission Governor's Cup title in Madison, Indiana.

Dave Villwock and the Miss Budweiser won two races in a row, taking events in Barrie, Ontario and Evansville, Indiana. As he was looking for his third straight win, Villwock found himself upside down in the final heat of the Indiana Governor's Cup regatta after his Miss Budweiser flipped in the first turn of the first lap.

A total of 11 different unlimited race teams will make the stop in Detroit, the first time in over a decade that many teams will grace the Bill Muncey Memorial Pits.

Steve David in the Miss Chrysler Jeep thinks Detroit could be a turning point for his team. 

"I really think by the time we get to Detroit, we could be poised as the spoiler," said David.  "Our boat is very strong, but we have a challenge to find the right gear and propeller combination to run within the technical rules." 

Owner and team manager Jim Harvey are closing in on that combination.  In Madison the team placed fourth, only a fraction of a second away from giving Hanauer a run for the title.  David just jumped the gun but lead Hanauer and the Miss PICO through  most of the first lap.  A change in the boat's hull along with the addition of canard wings should make the Miss Chrysler Jeep a real threat.

Hometown favorite Mark Weber in the U-10 Young Country presents the Miss Detroit Yacht Club also should prove to be a threat to Hanauer and Villwock.  Weber, a St. Clair  Shores resident, won  the season finale in the Honolulu last year. In Madison, Weber could have had his worst day in racing, hitting three buoys and finding himself on the beach during a preliminary heat as the turbine boat was unable to answer the starting call.  But one week earlier in Evansville, Weber took home a second place finish behind Villwock.

Tickets for the Chrysler Jeep APBA Gold Cup are available at TicketMaster (248-645-6666) or at the Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest Office (800-359-7760).  Eleven viewing locations are available along the Jefferson side of the Detroit River.  Pit tours and group rates are available.  Free viewing is available on Belle Isle.

(Republished from Hydros™)