Graham ends speculation about new H1 Unlimited team


Rob Graham

Rob Graham buys T-6 from Ted Porter, keeps driver J. Michael Kelly

SEATTLE, Wash. – Rob Graham today ended months of rumor-mill speculation by confirming that he has purchased one of Ted Porter’s unlimited hydroplanes and will begin his involvement in unlimited hydroplane racing as a team owner after more than two decades as a sponsor in the sport.

Team Graham Trucking, which will run the final Miss Budweiser (known as “T-6”) with the familiar red paint scheme, will make its debut June 2 at the Spring Training Test Session in Kennewick, Wash.

Graham purchased the T-6 (U-5) unlimited hydroplane, a trailer, hauler and all equipment needed to run the T-6 from Ted Porter. This winter, the team tore the boat down to the frame and rebuilt most of the hull, including new materials and hardware.

The team is based in Milton, Wash.

Graham also announced that the 2016 Gold Cup winning team will stay mostly intact, particularly the team members from Washington state. Tom Anderson will continue as crew chief, while former U-7 crew chief John Walcker will also serve on the crew. Other familiar names staying with the team include Jim Bakke, Brooke Tyler IV, Randy Doughty, Jeff Kelly, Bryan Pyziak, Ken Warren, Dave Bell, Jerry Bowers, Kevin Stoltz, Sandy Pearl, Brian Hajny and Corey Peabody.


J. Michael Kelly

Of course, Graham added, J. Michael Kelly will return to the cockpit for the fourth consecutive season.

“I believe Mike to be the best unlimited hydroplane driver in the sport, he was our driver in 2004 as a rookie in the U-2 boat and got more out of the boat than anyone else had. He’s been winning races consistently since getting the faster boat so he’s my guy,” Graham said. “As for the rest of the team, it became clear that the only way to keep this outstanding team together was for me to take it over. That’s why I purchased the T-6 and all the equipment that goes with it.”

Graham, owner and president of Seattle’s Graham Trucking, Inc., sponsored Porter’s team from 2009 when J. Michael Kelly won the Inaugural Oryx Cup/UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar through the 2016 H1 Unlimited season.

The (T-6 former U-5) Hull is the last hull built by Bernie Little and the Miss Budweiser team at Hydroplanes, Inc.

“Twelve is the sum of five and seven, so it pays homage to the entire history of the hull,” Graham said. His racing operation is formally known as U12 Racing LLC.

Graham Trucking sponsorships date back to 1987 when he sponsored Jerry Hopp’s limited Hydroplanes. Graham followed Hopp through many of the limited boat classes including the unlimited light class in 1995 and introduced Graham to many of the Unlimited owners he would eventually sponsor.

Graham’s history in the sport is deep and famous – particularly in Seattle, where Graham Trucking has, for the past twenty years, hosted VIPs and employees in their hospitality area just inside the pits at Seafair. He’s been a long-time sponsor of various unlimited hydroplanes and has been the title sponsor of the Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair, which has featured everything from Unlimited Lights hydroplanes to Grand Prix West hydroplanes, as well as the Formula 1 boats that have raced as a part of the Seafair race card for the last several years.

For more information about the team, see its website at

Paying Tribute to Ted Porter and the Porter Family

Over more than a decade as an owner in the sport, Porter’s team accumulated more wins than any other start-up team in its first 10 years.

Porter’s success, and influence, in H1 Unlimited over the last 11 years hasn’t been lost on Graham, who was a continuous title sponsor for the Porter team since 2009.

“I am convinced Ted Porter’s contributions to the sport are expansive,” Graham said. “For all of his time in the sport, his team was very competitive. He always had the best drivers, the best crew members and the best presence at race sites.

“The sport will find itself missing Ted Porter,” Graham added.

Here’s part of the reason why: In his 11 years as an owner, Porter accomplished the following:
• 18 race wins
• 5 UIM World Championships in six years
• 2 H1 Unlimited National Championships
• 1 Gold Cup
• Numerous podium finishes

As the owner of three unlimited hydroplanes in running condition, Porter also was frequently helpful to race sites and H1 Unlimited, as he would often run three boats to help fill fields at various race sites when boat counts were low.

The 2013 season may have been Porter’s signature season, when the team won four of seven races including the World Championship in Doha and closing out the season with three straight wins in Seattle, Coeur d’Alene and San Diego to clinch the national title.

“Ted Porter set a very high standard for his team, and that started when he dove in as an owner and purchased the last two Miss Budweiser’s ever built,” Graham said. “His contributions to the sport are second-to-none and he should be recognized for that.

“It will be one of our goals to uphold those standards and drive even higher.”

“My philosophy has always been that success only comes after planning and preparation,” Graham said. “Success is never guaranteed but without planning and preparation, failure is.”


Rob Graham founded Graham Trucking in 1983 and was a driver, mechanic, billing clerk and dispatcher until he had purchased enough trucks and hired enough drivers to support a staff. Based at the time at terminal 115 in south Seattle, Graham was primarily focused on the Alaska barge trade. Graham Trucking was one of the early pioneers of heavy containerized cargo and built many of their own super chassis to accommodate these heavy ocean containers. Graham now has one of the largest super chassis fleets for its port and barge division. They also have refrigerated and flatbed divisions dedicated to “local” short haul for perishables, seafood and construction.

Visit Graham Trucking at

April 28th, 2017|