Two boats damaged, Kelly and Shane win heats in first day of racing at HAPO Columbia Cup

KENNEWICK, Wash. — In a day where two hydroplanes were knocked out of the race with damage, J. Michael Kelly aboard Lynx Healthcare presents Miss Tri-Cities and Jimmy Shane in Miss HomeStreet came away as heat winners in the first day of competition in the HAPO Columbia Cup. The fastest race boats in the world will continue racing tomorrow on the Columbia River in the Tri-Cities, the third stop of the 2022 H1 Unlimited Racing Series.

The most spectacular event of the day happened at the start of Heat 2 when Miss Beacon Plumbing suddenly went airborne, flipped in midair, and crashed into the river. Driver Dave Villwock, 68, of Monroe, Washington, climbed out of his enclosed cockpit, was checked by medical personnel, and was found to be uninjured. The boat, however, suffered enough damage that it will likely not return for tomorrow’s second day of racing.

The Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware also met misfortune earlier in the day during a test run. The boat, a fan favorite that is the only craft in the field powered by a World War II fighter plane engine, lost a propeller blade as it crossed the start/finish line and that flying blade caused enough damage to also end the race team’s weekend.

As for the action on the racecourse, Kelly, 43, of Kent, Washington, drove Lynx Healthcare presents Miss Tri-Cities to victory in the day’s first heat, with Villwock placing second in Miss Beacon Plumbing. After the heat was restarted after Villwock’s accident in Heat 2, Shane, 36, of San Antonio, Texas, drove to a comfortable victory over Kelly.

The “Greatest Show on H-2-O” will continue with three preliminary heats tomorrow and a winner-take-all final in the afternoon to determine this year’s HAPO Columbia Cup champion. Tickets are still available for those who want to watch the action in person.

For those who can’t attend, the race also will be streamed live on the H1 Unlimited YouTube Channel beginning at 7:30 a.m. PDT. You can find the link at H1Unlimited.com.

HAPO Columbia Cup

at Kennewick, Wash.

HEAT 1 — 1, J. Michael Kelly, Lynx Healthcare presents Miss Tri-Cities, 400 points, 146.525 avg. speed; 2, Dave Villwock, Miss Beacon Plumbing, 300, 142.472; Jeff Bernard, Miss Goodman Real Estate, DSQ; Jamie Nilsen, Miss Joker’s Casino, DSQ.

HEAT 2 — 1, Jimmy Shane, Miss HomeStreet, 400, 154.105; 2, J. Michael Kelly, Lynx Healthcare presents Miss Tri-Cities, 300, 151.356; 3, Jamie Nilsen, Miss Joker’s Casino, 225, 131.197; Dave Villwock, Miss Beacon Plumbing, DSQ.