Andrew Tate’s flying start for Saturday Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Hydrofest President’s Cup championship final heat was reminiscent of the late, great hydroplane driver Bill Muncey. Muncey was known for great, flying starts as he blew by the opponents to go and win a race.
With Tate in his U-9 RealTrac/Delta Gear staying behind the pack prior to the start, picking up major speed, finding a lane and then hitting the start-finish line on the nose as the clock hits zero the results were ‘Muncey like.’
While J. Michael Kelly in the U-12 Graham Trucking and Jimmy Shane in the U-1 Miss Homestreet were leading a pack of boats to the start, Tate held back then flew by the opposition in lane three with major speed to take the early lead, continuing to lengthen his lead lap after lap and win the President’s Cup . The last time the unlimited hydroplanes raced for the President’s Cup was 1977 and the winner was Bill Muncey, of course.
“We knew Jimmy and J Michael were going to fight it out for lane one,” said Tate the 28-year old from Walled Lake, Mich. “We just wanted to keep our nose clean and run our own race.
“It’s kind of nice when it all comes together.”
Kelly took second in the final while Shane placed third, Bert Henderson, competing in his first H1 Unlimited race, in the U-7 Spirit of Detroit was fourth and rookie Dustin Echols in U-440 in Bucket List Racing was fifth. Tate averaged 150.654 in the five-lap final on the 2.73 mile Detroit River course.
Tate and Shane both won their two preliminary heats with Kelly and Henderson taking second in both of their heats.
The day started out poorly for the eight-boat fleet when Tom Thompson in the U-11 Miss DiJulio presents J&D’s Hydraulics lost a propeller and the shaft in heat 1A while Kevin Eacret in the U-99.9 KISW Miss Rock sponsored by CarStar suffered a spectacular, blow over accident in heat 1B. Eacret escaped injury but both his boat and the U-11 are out for tomorrow’s APBA Gold Cup.
The Detroit format is racing two races in two days, the first time in modern history of the sport.
Racing on the Detroit River will start at 11 a.m. with the first of three sets of preliminary heats. The APBA Gold Cup Championship final will take place at 4:30 p.m.
For all qualifying, heat and current H1 Unlimited high points, go to the ‘Results’ tab on H1Unlimited.com.