Oldest boat ever wins championship final
Andrew Tate (Walled Lake, Mich.), driving the U-9 Delta/Realtrac H1 Unlimited hydroplane captured the inaugural Southern Cup Championship Final. The five-lap race on the 2-1/2 mile racecourse turned into a two-boat duel between Tate and Jimmy Shane in the U-1 Miss HomeStreet. Tate pulled a early lead and at one point was a over half of a roostertail ahead.
But on lap four, Tate hit some rough water and he said, “the boat just didn’t want to settle in and wanted to get away from me. I knew Shane was coming, so the gloves came off, so to speak, and I worked the front wing”, Tate said. “My canard was my best friend.”
As Tate exited the last turn, Shane had pulled up along side of Tate as the two made one last effort to be the first to the finish line. The two were deck-to-deck all the way to the end, as Tate narrowly beat Shane by one boat length.
Tate averaged 152.004 mph and his fastest single lap in the final race was 153.272 mph.
Shane averaged 151.960 mph and set the fastest single lap of the race at 156.092 mph on the last lap.
“This is one I will never forget, that was one hell of a final. I think that was the best boat race I have ever been in,” the 28 year-old Tate said after the race.
With the win, the U-9 Delta/Realtrac becomes the oldest race hull ever to win an H1 Unlimited hydroplane race. The hull is 26 years old. It first ran as the 1992 Coors Dry and is two years younger than its driver.
Crew chief Jeff Campbell said the last lap scarred him. “I thought we had him covered but Shane snuck up on us. I am so excited. We had a perfect weekend, we scored every point we could earn, and I just got to hug the Mayor.”
Campbell said his crew wasn’t real happy with him because he had the crew change gearboxes about eight times this weekend. In the end his judgment paid off, and his team provided the 10,000 fans along the Lake Guntersville shoreline a race they are not going forget any time soon.
Second place finisher Shane said, “It was an amazing final heat.”
Third place went to U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool presents J&D’s (134.370 mph average) driven by Tom Thompson (Cambridge, Md.), fourth went to U-21 Payne West Insurance (124.260 mph average) driven by Brian Perkins (North Bend, Wash.).
The next stop on the 2018 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series is in Madison, Ind. July 7-8, 2018.