GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — The H1 Unlimited hydroplane fleet, the fastest race boats in the world, started the 2023 season today by giving race fans a tremendous demonstration of speed. Six of the eight boats competing on Lake Guntersville this weekend turned in test laps of more than 160 mph. The fastest was only five mph short of the sport’s all-time world record, and that mark was set at a time when there were no restrictions on fuel flow, as there are today.
The day’s fastest test run of 168.199 mph was performed by Cory Peabody, 44, of Covington, Wash., the driver of Beacon Plumbing. Peabody won the APBA Gold Cup in Guntersville last year. His boat was completely rebuilt during the offseason after being involved in a blowover accident in last year’s second race.
Peabody’s teammate on the Strong Racing Team, J. Michael Kelly, 44, of Bonney Lake, Wash., had a fastest test lap of 166.066 mph in Beacon Electric, while Dustin Echols, 43, of Monroe, Wash., was the third fastest with a test lap of 165.782 mph in Bucket List Racing.
Other quick times included test runs of over 163 mph by both Andrew Tate, 33, of Canton. Mich., in Miss Goodman Real Estate, and by Dylan Runne, 28, of Rumson, NJ, in Miss HomeStreet. Jamie Nilsen, 38, of Gig Harbor, Wash., had a fast lap of more than 162 mph in Legend Yacht Transport.
Other boats at Guntersville are the Griggs presents Miss Ace Hardware, which is driven by Jimmy King, 62, of Wales, Mich., and Boitano Homes, which is driven by Brent Hall, 53, of Seattle. Hall still must complete a required number of test laps before he will be qualified to enter a race.
The 2023 H1 Unlimited Racing Series gets underway tomorrow when the boats start racing on Lake Guntersville for real. Qualifying attempts will begin at 8 a.m. CDT and the event’s first set of preliminary heats are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The action will then continue on Sunday morning and afternoon, with a winner-take-all final heat wrapping things up at 5 p.m.
Nothing can beat the thrill of watching the H1 Unlimiteds in person as the boats hit speeds approaching 200 mph and throw spray high into the air. Tickets to the Guntersville hydroplane race are still available at guntersvillelakehydrofest.com.
For boat racing fans around the world who can’t attend, the race also will be streamed live on the H1 Unlimited YouTube Channel. You can find the link at H1Unlimited.com.