2006 Régates Molson Dry de Valleyfield
First Victory for Rookie Mike Allen and Formulaboats Owner Ted Porter
By Marc Perrier
The 68th Régates Molson Dry de Valleyfield organizers should say a big "thanks" to Mother Nature as beautiful days delighted the 105,000 spectators, including 45,000 on race day, that attended the three-day event around Bay St-Francois.
Eight boats were in the pits Friday: U-1 Ellstrom, U-2.25 Michigan Mortgage, U-3 Cooper's Express (already in his Miss Chrysler Jeep colors for the Gold Cup), U-5 Formulaboats.com, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, U-7 Formulaboats.com II, U-21 All Access Rentals, and the U-37 Beacon Plumbing driven by local hero Jean Theoret. Three boats missed the call. The U-10 EMCOR and U-100 Mariann Travel Inn were sent West for repairs after damages sustained in Madison the week before. The U-13 "Spirit of Detroit" wasn't ready to compete.
The fans on hand were happy to see Jimmy King and Jean Theoret have a battle on the liquid oval again reminding them the great years of GP hydro racing of the 80s and 90s.
The fleet of eight was rapidly reduced to seven on Friday afternoon when Dave Villwock lost the skid fin of the beautiful orange Ellstrom in turn 2 and went into the rocks damaging the quickest hull on the circuit. It was too much to repair for the weekend and even for the Gold Cup next week. Fortunately, no spectators were close to the shore where it happened.
In the first round of duels, Mike Weber and Formula triumphed over Jimmy King and Miss Chrysler Jeep in A1. Steve David and Oh Boy! Oberto won over Kevin Aylesworth and All Access Rentals in A2 and in A3 Mike Allen beat Jean Theoret, who jumped the gun by maybe half a second. The good doctor, Ken Muscatel in Michigan Mortgage, ran alone on the very tight mile course for points.
In the 2nd round of duels, Mike Weber won over Jean Theoret in Beacon Plumbing in B1. The rematch between David and Aylesworth ended with the same results as Oberto won B2. Mike Allen and Formula II won over Jimmy King and Miss Chrysler Jeep in the best duel of the day, B3. Again, Michigan Mortgage ran alone for points.
In the 3rd round of duels, C1, Formulaboats.com teammates Mike Weber and Mike Allen raced against each other. Formula II won the race after Weber hooked in the second turn (west end of course) and went out-of-bounds, allowing Allen to catch up. According to the rules, Weber had been caught by Allen and had to return to the pits. His chances of going in the final were ruined. In C2, for the third time today, David defeated Aylesworth. Theoret
and Beacon Plumbing beat Miss Chrysler Jeep in C3 after King was penalized for jumping the gun. For the third time, Doctor Ken ran alone for points. Michigan Mortgage did not make the final, but he did thrill the fans watching in the grandstands during last run (C4), cutting close and almost wetting them down.
Sunday afternoon, the finals were set for positions 1 through 6. Jimmy King and Miss Chrysler Jeep defeated Kevin Aylesworth and All Access Rentals to take 5th place.
Jean Theoret in Beacon Plumbing won over Mike Weber in Formula who was received a 30 second penalty for going on the outside of the white exterior buoys and Weber ended up 4th and Theoret 3rd.
In the battle for 1st and 2nd, rookie driver Mike Allen in Formula II defeated the experienced Steve David and Oh Boy! Oberto by a fraction of a second to capture the first ever Valleyfield Unlimited Regatta. The 39-year-old Louisiana native said, "In 1988 and in 1992, 1 was here for the World Championships and I'm so glad I've won my first U race in Valley field." He said to the crowd, "You' re the most extraordinary hydro fans in the world." Mike Allen has won many titles in 5-Litre, KRR, and SS classes over the years.
The local favorite, Jean Theoret, said he was glad to be on the podium after a slow start. Jimmy King, another favorite in Valleyfield, said he loved the experience and this tight course is the place to show which drivers have the best abilities. It should be decided next fall if the ABRA stop in Southern Quebec will happen again next year. The duels format used in the first ever official Unlimited event in Valleyfield—excluding the exhibition last year—proved to be a success and the chances to see the big boats again in '07 look very good.
(Unlimited NewsJournal, August 2006)