SEATTLE— A crowd of more than 225 hydroplane fans packed the Pacific Science Center Saturday night (February 20th) for the annual H1 Unlimited Awards Banquet to honor the best in the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing for the 2015 season.
The annual awards banquet is where H1 recognizes not only the achievements of the drivers that fly these magnificent boats at over 200 mph but also the outstanding sponsors, race sites, media outlets, crew members and volunteers that make this sport the fastest on the water.
“Tonight we are honoring those individuals who do so much for our sport,” said H1 Chairman Steve David. “The racing was magnificent, maybe the most competitive racing we have seen in our history, but to put on a great show, we need to honor and thank all those who made this possible.”
Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Oberto team took home top honors. Shane and the Oberto team were recognized for winning their second consecutive High Point Championship while Oberto’s Larry Hanson was named Crew Chief of the Year.
“This is a big night for the Miss Madison Racing Team,” said David. “Not only are we honoring this team for their outstanding 2015 season, it is a great way to honor Art Oberto, ending a 40-plus year run of sponsoring an unlimited hydroplane on the H1 national circuit, and then have this team use this banquet to announce HomeStreet Bank officially as their national sponsor for 2016.”
The top three national high point drivers and teams were also honored. J.Michael Kelly and the Graham Trucking team were second place honorees with Cal Phipps and the Dalton Industries team taking the third spot.
The U-27 Dalton Industries (Wiggins Racing) team also took home the honor for Crew of the Year and Milt and Charlie Wiggins were named as Team Owner of the Year.
Also receiving honors for their performance on the national circuit in 2015 was the U-100 Leland Racing team with the Chairman’s Award and its driver Kevin Eacret named H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year.
The 2016 season gets underway on the Ohio River July 1 through 3 with the Madison (Ind.) Regatta.
H1 UNLIMITED AWARD WINNERS FOR 2015
Crew of the Year: U-27 Dalton Industries (Wiggins Racing)
Owner of the Year: Milt & Charley Wiggins
H1 Official of the Year: Steve Peterson
Rookie of the Year: Kevin Eacret
Crew Chief of the Year: Larry Hanson
Race Site of the Year: Tri-Cities Water Follies & HAPO Gold Cup
Sponsor of the Year: UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest
H1 Outstanding Contribution: Walt Ottenad
Chairman’s Award: Detroit Riverfront Events (Mark Weber, Doug Bernstein, Bruce Madej)
Chairman’s Award: H1 Staff of Volunteers
Chairman’s Award: U-100 Leland Unlimited
Steve Montgomery Award for Media Excellence: Jeff Morrow, Tri-Cities Herald
Steve Montgomery Award for Media Excellence: Scott Sistek entire KOMO-TV news desk
Vic Nelawake Volunteer of the Year Award: Tommy Levitt, UAW-GM Spirit of Detroit Hydrofest
Pro-Action Photo: Chris Denslow
Pro-People Photo: James Crisp
Fan Photo: Tim Johnson
Season High Points 3rd Place Driver: Cal Phipps
Season High Points 3rd Place Team: U-27 Dalton Industries
Season High Points 2nd Place Driver: J. Michael Kelly
Season High Points 2nd Place Team: U-5 Graham Trucking
National Champion Team – U-1 Oberto
National Champion Driver – Jimmy Shane