The H1 Unlimited Series heads to the Tri-Cities this week to battle on the Columbia River. Who do you think will be hoisting the Columbia Cup late Sunday afternoon?
Craig Fjarlie (Unlimited News Journal Writer & H1 Unlimited Volunteer)
Predicting the winner of an Unlimited hydroplane race is a task fraught with pitfalls. Accidents, breakdowns, and driving errors can leave an obvious favorite with a day to forget. The most important thing to keep in mind is the old adage, “If you want to win, you have to finish.” With that in mind, I expect Corey Peabody will emerge victorious in the Columbia Cup. His boat, Beacon Plumbing, is fast and he clearly drives with one goal in mind, to win the race. I may be going out on a limb with that choice, but he is the one I predict will win.
Brad Luce (H1 Unlimited Public Address Announcer)
Honestly, I have no idea who will claim this year’s Columbia Cup. It is wide open. But I have a pretty good idea who the big winner will be… the fans! The racing should be spectacular.
Jeff Morrow (Former Sports Editor of the Tri-City Herald)
I really like one of the Strong Racing boats to win the Columbia Cup.
Corey Peabody has won there a few years back, and he needs to get going again in the U-9 if he’s to be a factor in the season points race.
- Michael Kelly has had multiple victories on the Columbia River. His ability to settle into Lane 1 before a race and use the short course has been effective for victory. So don’t count U-8 out.
Andrew Tate (driving the U-91) has also experienced success here. He’ll be ready to race.
And Jamie Nilsen in the U-11 is battling for a season title. He knows how to stay out of trouble and still be near the front.
Everyone knows how rough that first turn on the racecourse can be in the Tri-Cities. The question is who can get through it with the least amount of damage.
If I had to pick the race favorite, though, I’m going with Peabody.
Andy Muntz (Unlimited News Journal Editor & H1 Unlimited Board Member)
I predict that it will be one of the most exciting finishes in the history of racing on the Columbia River. Five boats are incredibly fast and almost equal in their performance. The final result of the Tri-Cities race will be as close as the final heat at Madison was before Bucket List Racing blew over. Miss HomeStreet, Bucket List, and Beacon Electric were side by side and it was shaping up to be thrilling finish. Then, add into that mix the Beacon Plumbing, which also was often just as fast, if not faster, than the other three. And, don’t forget Andrew Tate in Miss Goodman Real Estate—one of the sport’s most successful boats in the hands of a very skilled driver. The bottom line is, I think it’s too hard to predict which of those five boats will get across the starting line first.
David Newton (Publisher of Roostertail Talk Podcast)
Predicting our next race victor is not an easy task this year. All of the teams have shown that they have contentions to win at any moment. Unfortunately, several teams have broken equipment along the way and needed the break to prepare for the Columbia Cup in Tri-Cities, Wa.
I believe we are going to see a different winner raise the Columbia Cup trophy at the end of the day. I am predicting that with his fast race craft, Dylan Runne will be victorious in Tri-Cities. We will see the final heat be run (weather will not cancel our Columbia Cup!). Dylan has shown he knows how to handle a boat in the Unlimited rank, with his impressive lap times and racing in Guntersville and Madison. More impressively he has stayed clean for his first 2 races avoiding penalties and getting mixed up with any boats to avoid getting hull damage. He received his first heat victory in Madison. He seems very comfortable driving his U-1 Homestreet. The Columbia Cup final will be a great one for fans to watch as we will see Dylan’s first victory in the H1 Unlimited ranks!