The Board of Directors for H1 Unlimited has suspended the formal qualifying process for this weekend’s Gold Cup race at Guntersville. The move was made because of time constraints in the event schedule that will leave the race teams with limited access to the racecourse prior to the event.

The race committee at Guntersville has done a fabulous job organizing what promises to be a great show for race fans. Not only will the H1 Unlimiteds compete in the Gold Cup, the event also will include large groups of Grand Prix hydros and Pro-Lite hydros, as well as an exhibition run by the Miss U.S. IV vintage unlimited. In addition, like many race sites, the committee at Guntersville also must deal with budget limitations and environmental issues that limit the number of days and hours that boats can be on the water. As a result, each boat will have limited access to the racecourse for testing.

Time for testing is always precious to the H1 race teams. Setting up a boat is a complicated process and race teams especially want to get it right for the Gold Cup, which many view as the most important event on the schedule. In addition, when the Gold Cup is the season’s first event, getting the boats fully prepared is an even greater challenge.

At the same time, the formal qualification process demands a great deal of attention from the race teams. Many teams set-up their boats differently for qualifying than they do for the race. Some even build gearboxes specifically for qualifying at a particular location.

To allow the race teams to focus their attention on what is most important to them and to provide them with as much time as possible to prepare for the Gold Cup, the H1 board has suspended qualifying for this year’s race. That time will instead be used for testing.

As the boats are circling the racecourse during those test runs, they will be timed by the officials, those speeds will be recorded, and those lap times will be used to determine eligibility to compete in the race. To be eligible, a boat must complete two consecutive laps of at least 130 mph, but points for qualifying will not be awarded. Chairman options also may be granted, if necessary.