San Diego’s Mission Bay was the setting for the most recent installment of the UIM World Championship series. In terms of boat-to-boat action, the 2006 race produced some of the finest competition imaginable.
Photo finishes in preliminary Heats 1-B and 2-B bordered on the unbelievable.
Jimmy King, driving the Allison-powered COOPER MOTORSPORTS, edged out Jeff Bernard in the FORMULABOATS.COM entry by three feet at the finish of Heat 1-B. No, that’s not a misprint. Three feet!
In Heat 2-B, Dave Villwock in MISS E-LAM PLUS, Mike Allen in FORMULABOATS.COM II, and Jean Theoret in MISS BEACON PLUMBING shared the same roostertail for 7.5 miles and finished .02 seconds apart with Villwock outrunning Allen by two feet.
The San Diego event happened to be the last race on the 2006 Unlimited hydroplane calendar. In addition to the World Championship, the National High Point Boat Championship and the National High Point Driver Championship were likewise up for grabs.
Five teams had a mathematical chance of winning the High Point Championship. Everybody was going all out. The preliminary heats seemed like Final Heats.
Five boats qualified at over 160 miles per hour on the 2.5-mile Mission Bay course with MISS E-LAM PLUS going fastest at 165.660.
The race format consisted of four sets of preliminary heats instead of the usual three. The preliminary heats were three laps each; the winner-take-all Final Heat was five. Eight preliminary heats were run and five different boats won them.
Six boats crossed the starting line virtually even in the Final Heat. Theoret and MISS BEACON PLUMBING used a 154.257 mile an hour first lap to lead the field and posted a winning average speed of 148.066 for the 12.5-mile distance.
King and COOPER MOTORSPORTS finished second to Theoret in the Final Heat at 146.650 and Steve David in OH BOY! OBERTO/MISS MADISON took third at 142.159.
FORMULABOATS.COM II driven by Allen took fourth and his teammate Bernard finished fifth in FORMULABOATS.COM I, followed by Ken Muscatel in SUPERIOR RACING. Villwock and MISS E-LAM PLUS failed to finish.
Three different teams celebrated victories following the Final Heat: MISS BEACON PLUMBING was the World Champion; FORMULABOATS.COM II was the National High Point Boat Champion; and OH BOY! OBERTO driver Steve David was the National High Point Driver Champion.
It was a great way to conclude the season.