DETROIT–Maybe, just maybe this two-race Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Hydrofest format for Saturday’s President’s Cup and Sunday’s APBA Gold Cup might just fit Andrew Tate just perfect. The 28-year old from Walled Lake, Mich. is adroit at great competition and his ability to come from behind. And Friday afternoon he proved it again.

Tate drove his U-9  RealTrac H1 Unlimited Hydroplane to the top speed of Friday’s qualifying with a two lap average speed of 163.141 on the 2.73 mile Detroit River course to lead all Gold Cup qualifiers on his last trip around the course.

Jimmy_fridayThe current H1 National High Points leader Jimmy Shane in the U-1 Miss HomeStreet seemed to have grabbed the top spot for both the President’s Cup and Gold Cup qualifying with a two-lap speed of 160.981 and 162.068 in the second qualifying attempt of the day. Shane is considered the top qualifier for the President’s Cup since the first and second runs were for Saturday’s race with the top one lap speed recorded.

But in the third and final round of only the Gold Cup qualifying, Tate took home the top spot for Sunday’s race with the fastest times of the day for all H1 hydroplanes.

“I don’t think I was ever in a qualifying ladder competition for the top spot quite like this,” said Tate. “I know when I heard the fans cheer when they heard Jimmy’s speed for his qualifying attempt in the second round, it kind of got under my skin.  I knew I had to go out there and better that speed.”

Tate and Shane had a wild race in Seattle just a few weeks ago.  Tate caught Shane from behind on the final lap of the championship heat but a pre-race violation for hitting a buoy penalized Tate that gave Shane the win.

Under perfect weather conditions, five of the eight boat H1 field were able to top the 155 average mark.

Tom Thompson in the U-11 Miss DiJulio presents J&D’s Hydraulics turned in the third fastest average time with a 157.988 while the U-12 Graham Trucking with J. Michael Kelly went 156.414 and Jimmy King in the U-3 Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware hit 155.598.

imageThe U-11 team dodged a major disaster when after qualifying, the propeller shaft (at right) almost fell out of the boat as they were lifting it onto the trailer. Further investigation showed that the tip of the shaft that was fastened into the gearbox had broken in half, leaving the long propeller shaft held in with nothing but the thrust from the propeller!

Bert Henderson in the U-7 Spirit of Detroit averaged 148.460.  The U-99 CarStar/Miss Rock had turbine issues while the U-440 Bucket List Racing broke a drive train between the motor and the gearbox and did not qualify for points.  Both teams are working to get their boats ready for tomorrow.

The first heat of the President’s Cup will start at 12:15 tomorrow with the winner take all final scheduled for 5 p.m. EDT.  Saturday and Sunday’s H1 doubleheader will be live streamed.