SAN DIEGO — The world’s fastest race boats will wrap up the 2021 H1 Unlimited Racing Series in San Diego this weekend where they will not only compete to win the HomeStreet Bank San Diego Bayfair event, but also to be crowned the season’s national champion.
The boats, which are capable of speeds reaching 200 miles per hour, will race on Mission Bay Friday through Sunday, September 17 to 19. The “Greatest Show on H-2-O” has so far produced three different winners in the three races held so far in 2021, making this one of the most competitive campaigns in recent memory.
Driving Miss Tri-Cities, J. Michael Kelly, 42, of Bonney Lake, Washington, took first-place honors at the year’s first event, held in Guntersville, Alabama. Jimmy Shane, 35, of Covington, Washington, then drove Miss HomeStreet to victory at the Gold Cup in Madison, Indiana. Most recently, Corey Peabody, 42, of Kent, Washington, won his first race on the H1 Unlimited Racing Series circuit by claiming the win at the Tri-Cities, Washington, while driving Pinnacle Peak Consulting.
Also in the mix this weekend will be Dave Villwock, 67, of Monroe, Washington, who will drive Miss Beacon Plumbing. Villwock has won more races and more national championships than any other driver in the sport’s 118-year history.
Rounding out the field will be Jamie Nilsen, 36, of Gig Harbor, Washington, who will drive J&D’s, and Kelly Stocklin, 70, of Edmonds, Washington, who owns and will drive his Bucket List Racing entry. Stocklin and his wife, Sharon, also are the owners of the Miss Beacon Plumbing boat.
Heading into the season’s final race at San Diego, J. Michael Kelly holds a narrow 210-point lead over Jimmy Shane, the current defending champion, and a 572-point lead over Corey Peabody in the national driver’s standings. With the drivers and boats earning 400 points for a first-place heat finish, 300 points for finishing second, and 225 points for placing third, the final winner will be up for grabs as the boats compete in four heats during the weekend.
As for the team standings, the defending champion Miss HomeStreet team holds an 819-point advantage over the Miss Tri-Cities and a 1,391-point lead over Pinnacle Peak Consulting. The Miss HomeStreet team is based in Madison, Indiana, and the latter two boats are both part of a new race team being campaigned this season by Vanessa and Darrell Strong of the Tri-Cities.
Nothing compares to the unique visual beauty of watching the H1 Unlimited hydroplanes live. Testing and qualifying is scheduled for Friday with racing action on both Saturday and Sunday that will culminate with a winner-take-all final heat on Sunday afternoon. Tickets for the HomeStreet Bank San Diego Bayfair event are still available at sandiegobayfair.org.
If you’re not able to attend the race, you also can enjoy the action by watching live-streamed broadcasts on the H1 Unlimited YouTube Channel.