SEATTLE–With Emcee Brad Luce hosting the show, a crowd of more than 170 drivers, owners, officials and fans celebrated the sport of unlimited hydroplane Saturday night at the annual 2016 H1 Unlimited Champions Gala in the Marriott Waterfront Ballroom.
A total of 20 awards were handed out with driver Jimmy Shane and the HomeStreet Bank racing team taking home the top honors of the night, the National Championship trophies for both the pilot and the team. This was Shane’s fourth straight Bill Muncey National High Point Championship driver trophy. The community-owned HomeStreet Bank/Miss Madison race team took first-place honors National Team High Point Championship for the third consecutive year; it also has taken the crown in seven of the last nine years. HomeStreet Bank was also named Sponsor of the Year while the U-1 team also received honors as Crew of the Year and Dan Hoover was named Crew Chief of the Year.
Andrew Tate, the driver of the U-9 race team owned by Lori Jones, was honored as 2016 Rookie of the Year. Tate drove the U-9 to his first career victory in early August winning the Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup on Lake Washington. He was the first rookie to win the Seafair race since Jim Ranger turned the trick with My Gypsy in 1966.
Scott and Shannon Raney of the U-11 Peters & May team were named Owners of the Year while the Tri-City Water Follies organization were named Race Site of the Year.
Two of H1 Unlimited Hydroplane’s great friends were honored posthumously during the ceremonies. Niles Mayfield received the Vic Nelawake Award as the sport’s top volunteer while Fred Farley received a Chairman’s Award. Mayfield, the long-time Director of Public and Media Relations for the Tri-City Water Follies, passed away in December while Farley, the long-time H1 Unlimited Hydroplane historian, passed away in April.
The 2017 H1 season will begin with testing in Tri-Cities, Washington on Friday, June 2 and Guntersville, Alabama on Saturday, June 17.
2016 H1 Unlimited Champions Gala Awards
Sponsor of the Year: HomeStreet Bank
Outstanding Contribution Award: Ted Grange
Montgomery Excellence in Media Award: Mike Brudenell, Detroit Free Press
Vic Nelawake Award: Niles Mayfield
Chairman’s Award: Ken Muscatel
Chairman’s Award: Bruce Madej
Chairman’s Award: Fred Farley
Unsung Hero Award: H1 Rescue Team
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Tate
Official of the Year: Justin Weymouth
Race Site of the Year: Tri-City Water Follies
Crew Chief of the Year: Dan Hoover
Owner of the Year: Scott & Shannon Raney
Crew of the Year: U-1 HomeStreet Bank
3rd Place – Season High Points Driver/Team: Andrew Tate/ U-9 Racing
2nd Place – Season High Points Driver/Team: J. Michael Kelly/ U-5 Graham Trucking
National Champion Driver/Team: Jimmy Shane/U-1 HomeStreet Bank