2014 Albert Lee Cup at Seafair

J. Michael Kelly Is Seafair Champion

J. Michael Kelly starts the Final Heat in Lane 2.
J. Michael Kelly starts the Final Heat in Lane 2.
Photo by Chris Denslow – H1.

Sunday got off to a dramatic start at the 2014 Albert Lee Appliance Cup and when the roostertails settled on Lake Washington five hours later, there was more drama and a finish that sent H1 race officials to the video review booth.

J. Michael Kelly led all five laps of the Championship Final Heat in the 1 Graham Trucking with Jon Zimmerman second in the 9 Les Schwab Tires/TeamRedDot and Jimmy Shane third in the 6 Oberto, finishing with a broken front wing.

Then word spread of a possible one minute penalty on Kelly for encroaching on Shanes’s lane – a penalty that would have cost Kelly the victory.

After further review – Kelly was ruled to have had a legal overlap on Shane at the point of the possible call and the driver from Bonney Lake, Washington and the Graham Trucking team hoisted the Seafair trophy with Zimmerman second and Shane third.

Kelly said he had a problem with his front wing and was trying to keep the boat on the water while running a wide race course in an attempt to keep Shane and Zimmerman behind him.

“I knew I had to have the inside and make a good start,” said Kelly. “After that I just did what I had to do to win the race. When you’re out front you make your boat as wide as possible. That’s boat racing.”

Both Shane and Zimmerman commented on the wide path taken by Kelly, which worked to Zimmerman’s advantage. With the leaders running outside, Zimmerman was able to move up the inside to overtake Shane.

When Kelly and Shane met at the awards stage, Shane extended his hand and said one word, “Congratulations.”

The initial running of Heat 2A, the first racing on the Sunday schedule, lasted only a quarter of a lap. Kip Brown in the 96 Spirit of Qatar got caught between roostertails in the first turn and rode the skidfin wake of Zimmerman’s boat up and over. Brown freed himself from the overturned boat and was not injured. The hull was not damaged but crew chief Mike Hanson said the team would have to build some parts before the race in San Diego in September.

The rerun was a deck to deck battle between Zimmerman and Kelly, with Kelly taking the win by inches at the finish.

Heat 2B was all Shane as he drove the Oberto away from Cal Phipps in the 7 Graham Trucking. Phipps finished second with Greg Hopp third in the 12 Miss DiJulio.

Tom Thompson needed a strong finish in Heat 3A in the gbr11 West Coast Collision Center/Peters and May to put his team in the final and Thompson delivered. In the middle of the field at the start, Thompson timed his start perfectly and was the leader out of the first turn. Jon Zimmerman got around everyone to take the win with Thompson second and Phipps third.

Shane and Kelly went into Heat 3B with spots in the final virtually assured but still waged a spirited battle for the inside lane. Shane won that contest and the heat and both set up for the final. Mike Webster was third in the 22 Boitano Homes/Performance Tool.

That set up the final where Kelly, Shane and Zimmerman were joined by Thompson, Phipps and Bernard. Bernard finished fourth and Phipps was fifth.

Next stop on the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane tour will be Bayfair on San Diego’s Mission Bay September 12 – 14.

Final order of finish
1 U-1 Graham Trucking J. Michael Kelly
2 U-9 Les Schwab Tires-Team Red DOT Jon Zimmerman
3 U-6 Oberto Jimmy Shane
4 U-21 Fox Plumbing & Heating Jeff Bernard
5 U-7 Graham Trucking II Cal Phipps
6 U-22 Boitano Homes presents Performance Tool Mike Webster
7 U-11 Peters & May Tom Thompson

August 3rd, 2014

[H1 Unlimited]