Scott Liddycoat Will Drive U-9
Liddycoat was H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year in 2011, and UIM World Champion. In 2012 he drove the 88 Degree Men for USA Racing Partners and drove the U-37 for Schumacher Racing for part of the 2014 season.
“I want to thank Lori and Mike Jones for giving me the opportunity to drive one of the fastest boats on the circuit and asking me to be a part of one of the most well respected teams on the beach.” said Liddycoat. “I think with Jeff Campbell and the knowledge, dedication, and teamwork surrounding the U-9 we will be a tough team to beat. The sport seems to be heading in a positive direction with the leadership of Steve David and I am glad I get to be part of it. My son Grant is super excited to be a part of the ‘snow cone’ team and is looking forward to Madison.”
Prior to moving up to the unlimited ranks, Scott was one of the country’s top inboard racers.
In 2010, he won both the Alton Pierson Memorial Trophy and the Eddie Cannon Memorial Trophy for Best Overall 5-Litre class performance, as well as the National High Points Championship in the 2.5-Litre class.
He also won series championships in 2007 (both 5-Litre and 2.5-Modified), 2006 (5-Litre), 2004 (National Modified), and 2002 (2.5-Litre Stock).
He is also an accomplished boat builder and used his experience from time with Jon Staudacher, Carter Parrish and Henry Lauterbach to design and build record-setting hydroplanes for himself and other drivers.
Big Crowd Honors H1 Stars At Annual Banquet
Chairman Steve David had a smile on his face and excitement in his voice Saturday night. More than 200 individuals in attendance along with emcee Brad Luce celebrated the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing at the Annual H1 Unlimited Awards Banquet at the Seattle Aquarium on Pier 59.
“I always enjoy the annual banquet, but this year it is very special,” said the new H1 Chairman David. “I believe we have a realistic outlook at the standing of our sport, and we had two days of high energy, team oriented meetings during our annual meeting. And tonight, we honor and thank the individuals and the teams who gave this sport an extraordinary effort in 2014.”
It was probably apropos that David in his first year as H1 Chairman and retired driver of the Oberto boat was able to hand out the top awards to the night to driver Jimmy Shane and the Oberto team. Shane won the 2014 National High Point Champion while his Oberto team was awarded the Martini and Rossi National High Point Championship Trophy for winning the high point boat championship. The Oberto brand was also named as H1 Unlimited Sponsor of the Year.
Larry Hanson, crew chief for the Oberto team, and Graham Trucking crew chief Tom Anderson were named co-recipients of the Mechanix Wear Crew Chief of the Year Award.
Ted Porter, the owner of the two Graham Trucking hydroplanes, also took home some hardware honored as the Owner of the Year. And the entire Graham Trucking crew was named Crew of the Year. The two Graham Trucking teams along with drivers J. Michael Kelly and Cal Phipps were runner-ups to the Oberto team this past season in the high point chase.
Director of Operations Ted Grange was honored for his outstanding contributions not only as the ‘Pit Boss’ but for all the extra work he provided helping teams with travel to and from Doha, Qatar and providing the plan and hard work to ensure the races run as a professional event.
Brian Hajny not only was named Chief Referee for 2015 on Saturday, he was also awarded the Official of the Year honor at the banquet while the Tri-City Water Follies were named Site of the Year as it prepares to host their 50th annual unlimited hydroplane race and the APBA Gold Cup, July 24 thru 26.
Kim Forsell was honored with Vic Nelawake Spirit Award. She attended her first race at the age of 14 and started volunteering at Seafair in 1995. To fill her time between races she takes on volunteer positions such as Royal Order of The Turbine (R.O.T.T) banquet coordinator, Seafair Boat Club Commodore, Seafair Milk Carton Chairman, Seafair Landside Section Chief as well as volunteering with Tastin’ & Racin’ and Mahogany & Merlot. And she also works as a volunteer for the U-17 team.
Steve Montgomery, the longtime broadcasting, media and PR man for the unlimited hydroplanes, was taken by surprise Saturday night when Luce not only announced Montgomery with the Lifetime Achievement Award, H1 Unlimited also named the annual media award for the Washington State alumnus.
Dave Goricki, a sports writer for The Detroit News and a graduate of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, was then named the winner of the Inaugural Steve Montgomery Excellence in Media Award.
Goricki has covered the Super Bowl, the World Series, the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup finals, a plethora of college sports including basketball and football and, of course, motors sports. A fixture at the auto races in Michigan, Goricki has also become a fixture in the Bill Muncey Memorial pits in Detroit over the last decade. Not only has he has helped publicize the sport of unlimited hydroplane for almost a decade with his outstanding coverage in The Detroit News, he is a journalist who cares about the sport and would like nothing better than to see the unlimited hydroplanes back on The Detroit River.
The 2015 H1 Unlimited season is scheduled to start with the Madison (Indiana) Regatta on the Ohio River, July 3-5.
THE 2014 H1 UNLIMITED AWARD WINNERS
Crew of the Year – Graham Trucking
Mechanix Wear Crew Chief of the Year – Larry Hanson (Oberto) and Tom Anderson (Graham Trucking)
Owner of the Year – Ted Porter
Race Site of the Year – Tri City Water Follies
Sponsor of the Year – Oberto
Official of the Year – Brian Hajny
Vic Nelawake Volunteer Spirit Award – Kim Forsell
Outstanding Contribution – Ted Grange
Lifetime Achievement to Steve Montgomery
Inaugural Steve Montgomery Excellence in Media Award – David Goricki
High Points 3rd Place Driver & Team – Cal Phipps and Graham Trucking 7
High Points 2nd Place Driver & Team – J Michael Kelly and Graham Trucking 1
National Champion Driver – Jimmy Shane
Martini and Rossi National Champion – Oberto
Annual H1 Meetings Held In Seattle
The annual H1 Unlimited winter meetings got underway Friday in Tukwila, South of Seattle. Meetings will continue on Saturday and the weekend of activity will conclude with the Annual Awards Banquet Saturday night at the Seattle Aquarium.
David’s personality and energy provided those in attendance with a glimpse on how he plans to lead the sport. The next Chairman’s Corner blog will provide some of the details of this weekend’s meeting.
H1 Works To Keep Detroit Race
With the Detroit River Regatta Association (DRRA) announcing Friday (February 15) that it will cease operations effective Saturday, February 28, H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David is already working on a plan to keep unlimited hydroplane racing on the Detroit River.
“The DRRA has been the host organization for the Detroit APBA Gold Cup unlimited hydroplane since 2003 and we need to thank the DRRA for their support for the past 11 years,” said H1 Unlimited Chairman Steve David. “It is important to recognize Bill Rands, Tom Bertolini, Mark Weber and all the volunteers who worked and sacrificed so much to keep the boats racing on the Detroit River.
“Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined ‘revitalization initiatives’ for the city during his State of the City address, and we too are putting our ‘revitalization initiatives’ together for the boat races in Detroit,” added David. “DYC’s (Detroit Yacht Club) immediate past Commodore Fred Carr will co-lead a new organization that will work to bring the unlimited hydroplanes to Detroit in 2015. We owe it to our fans and the Motor City to do what we can to keep this great Detroit tradition going.”
The nearly century-old boat racing tradition for Detroit started in 1915. Johnny Milot and Jack Beebe piloted the community-owned Miss Detroit (designed by the legendary boat designer Christopher Columbus Smith of ChrisCraft fame) to a Gold Cup victory on Manhasset Bay in upstate New York. By virtue of this victory, the City of Detroit earned the right to defend the trophy on its home water in 1916.
Since ’16, the City of Detroit hosted a boat race until the onset of World War II. From 1941 until 1945, the boats did not race in the Motor City.
In the years following WW II, Detroit reigned supreme as the hub of big-time power boat racing in North America. Between 1946 and 1961, the Motor City traditionally hosted two Unlimited events per year. The Detroit Yacht Club sponsored the Silver Cup, and the Windmill Pointe Yacht Club offered the Detroit Memorial Regatta. Both the DYC and the WPYC dropped out of the sport when prize money became mandatory at all Unlimited races, starting in 1962.
With the sport facing extinction in Detroit, the Spirit of Detroit Association was hurriedly formed in the summer of 1962. Jack Adams (General Manager of the Detroit Red Wings), Joe Schoenith, Jack Love, and other community leaders formed the organization and within the space of two months, SODA hosted the Spirit Of Detroit Trophy on the Detroit River.
SODA was the host unlimited organization until 2003 (changing its name to Spirit of Detroit Thunderfest in the mid 90’s) when internal financial issues took down Thunderfest and placed the event in jeopardy once again.
Boat racing legend Tom D’Eath and his wife Judy returned to Michigan from Florida to spearhead the creation of the Detroit River Regatta Association in 2003. The race didn’t take place until August of ’03, but the race remained a part of the city’s sports tradition.
“We are going to need another effort like we witnessed in 2003, but I am confident we can keep Detroit as a race site for our series,” said David. “Detroit has a tradition of hosting boat races going back to 1916, and this city is important to the sport.
“The boat owners, drivers and everyone involved in H1 will work with local business and community leaders to keep hydroplane racing alive in the Motor City for the thousands of fans who have made this race a Detroit tradition.”
Phipps and Robertson To New Teams
Team Porter Racing and the new Wiggins Hydroplane Racing unlimited team have announced drivers for the 2015 season and the announcements are related.
Cal Phipps will move from team Porter to the new Wiggins team based in Gadsden, Alabama. Milt and Charlie Wiggins recently purchased Our Gang Racing’s U-17 boat and support equipment.
Phipps drove Porter’s U-7 Graham Trucking to a strong third place finish in 2014 season high points behind Jimmy Shane in the U-6 Oberto/Miss Madison and teammate J. Michael Kelly in the U-1 Graham Trucking.
The move created an open seat in the U-7 which will be filled by third year driver Jesse Robertson. Robertson qualified as an unlimited driver during the 2013 season, driving Mark Evans’ 57 FEDCO in Seattle. He also drove two heats – including a fourth-place finish in the final at the 2013 Diamond Cup in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He also drove the 12 Miss DiJulio at the 2014 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship.
Wiggins’ choice of Phipps was not unexpected, as the Sterling Heights, Michigan driver and the Wiggins family have a long history.
“We go back about 30 years,” explaned Charlie Wiggins. “Cal and I raced against each other in 1 Liters, then he bought our boat and we built motors for him. After I retired from driving, we got back into racing with our Unlimited Lite and Cal drove for us. We moved up to the G Boats and the Grand Prix Series and Cal moved up with us.”
Wiggins added, “My dad and I are very excited about racing in the H1 Unlimited Series and there is no driver in the world we would rather have in the boat than Cal Phipps.”
In announcing the new driver for the U-7, Ted Porter said, ““Jesse has a great attitude and his driving ability continues to improve, so bringing him in is a very good fit for our team. I look forward to seeing him drive the T-5 so he can truly have fun driving an unlimited.”
“When I was with the 57 team back in 2013, we frequently pitted next to Team Porter Racing and I saw first-hand their professionalism and the success their team celebrated,” Robertson said. “Driving for them now is going to be awesome!”
Robertson has raced everything from outboard and inboard hydroplanes to unlimiteds and has enjoyed success on the way to his first full-time ride, with Team Porter Racing.
“Jesse will continue to be a great face for the sport as well as a force to be reckoned with on the race course,” Porter said. “I am looking forward to having Jesse as part of our team in 2015.”
Porter said the support from the team’s title sponsor has been critical to the success of Team Porter Racing.
“A big thank you to Rob Graham who has fully supported our driver choices, and our team, throughout the years,” Porter said. “A large portion of our success is due to Rob’s continued support.”
Porter added, “Cal was an awesome member of our team last year. He will be missed, and we appreciate everything he did. I truly am happy for Cal and the opportunity he has with his new team.”
History Of Grand Prix Racing
Officials of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series and the Grand Prix West Hydroplane Series recently announced that they have entered into a “Memorandum of Agreement” which will lead to increased participation and exposure for the GPW series at H1 Unlimited events.
H1 Unlimited Historian Fred Farley takes a look back at the colorful history of Grand Prix Racing.
GRAND PRIX: IN THE BEGINNING
By Fred Farley
Grand Prix Class hydroplane racing has long been considered the epitome of automotive-powered inboard racing. The sight and sound of these magnificent boats with their souped-up V-8 engines at full song is an experience like no other in motorsports.
Grand Prix boats began making their presence felt on the Canadian Boating Federation (CBF) circuit in the 1960s. There was a considerable fleet of them in and around Valleyfield, Quebec. The GPs were an outgrowth of the old 7-Litre Class that rose to prominence in the late 1940s.
Nicknamed “The Big Iron,” these boats were a minimum of 20 feet in length with engines of up to 500 cubic inches in piston displacement. Many were supercharged, and any kind of fuel was permitted.
An early star of Canadian Grand Prix racing was the legendary Art Asbury. Driving Aubert Brillant’s Chrysler-hemi-powered CANADIANA GRAND PRIX, Asbury set a UIM world straightaway record of 153.746 miles per hour in 1965 at Beloeil, Quebec.
The American Power Boat Association (APBA) first took notice of the Grand Prix phenomenon in 1974. The GPs made their United States debut on the narrow Scioto River at Columbus, Ohio. The original winner of a non-Canadian GP race was Larry Lauterbach, driving John Stauffer’s EDELWEISS, designed and built by Larry’s father Henry Lauterbach of Portsmouth, Virginia.
Lauterbach hulls dominated the first few years of Grand Prix racing in the United States. In addition to EDELWEISS, such notable Lauterbach entries included the likes of LAUTERBACH SPECIAL, GOLDEN NUGGET, DEEPWATER SPECIAL, BOOMERANG, ADVANCE UNITED, HEAVY HAULER, and EL CONDOR.
No one ever complained about the quality of workmanship on a Lauterbach hull! These boats were built strong to last long! And they loved horsepower! These were conventional hulls with the driver sitting behind–rather than ahead of–the engine well.
At a time when the sport in general was changing over to cabover–or forward-cockpit–hulls, popularized by Ron Jones, Sr., the old-style Lauterbach hulls remained surprisingly competitive.
Some of the biggest names in boat racing associated with Grand Prix racing in the early days. Many of these made reputations for themselves in Unlimited hydroplanes as well. These included Larry Lauterbach, Chip Hanauer, Tom D’Eath, Jim Kropfeld, Howie Benns, John Prevost, Ron Snyder, and Terry Turner.
The class received its first major league shot in the arm in 1977 in Detroit, where they performed before an audience of a quarter million. The Spirit Of Detroit Association (SODA) invited the GPs to be the co-feature together with the Unlimiteds. This race came about largely through the efforts of SODA board member John Love. Love had attended several Canadian Grand Prix races with his friend Tom D’Eath and was impressed with the competitiveness of the Grand Prix Class.
Love soon became GP Chairman for APBA. Nicknamed “The Boy Commissioner,” John did much to smooth out the differences between the APBA and CBF factions of Grand Prix. No longer was conflicting race dates assigned to the detriment of all. More teams from both countries began patronizing each others races.
Terry Turner won the first Detroit GP race with LAUTERBACH SPECIAL. It was the first time that the Unlimited Class and the Grand Prix Class had ever occupied the same pit area with each other. It would not be the last. Turner defeated such formidable challengers as Stover Hire in MOONSHOT, New Zealand Champion Peter Knight in GONE HEAVY, “crown/clown prince” Jules LeBoeuf in BOOMERANG, and Bill Hodge in LONG GONE.
Turner and the Chevy-powered LAUTERBACH SPECIAL likewise won the GP race at Madison, Indiana, and went on to claim the Grand Prix Class National High Point Championship in 1977. They had stiff opposition from the Ron Jones-designed LONG GONE, which won that year’s Guadalajara, Mexico, and Mexico City, Mexico, Grand Prix races.
The Chrysler Hemi-powered LONG GONE emerged as season points champion in 1978. LAUTERBACH SPECIAL, co-driven by Chip Hanauer and Tom D’Eath, was back on top in 1979.
Perhaps the most eloquent showcase of Grand Prix racing in the early days of the class was the GP Nationals on the Ohio River at Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1979. Hanauer and LAUTERBACH SPECIAL, owned by Don Ryan, reeled off three first places in as many heats to claim the title.
The start of the Final Championship Heat was close with four boats pouring into the tight first turn together. LAUTERBACH SPECIAL and DEEPWATER TOO with Tom Baker duked it out down the backstretch with Baker keeping the pressure on Hanauer until hull damage forced the DEEPWATER entry out of the race.
Marty Niles stayed in contention with OLYMPIAD but was disqualified for missing a marker. Tom “Butch” Kropfeld and GOLDEN NUGGET took runner-up, and Bill Hodge finished third with LONG GONE.
Defending champion Larry Lauterbach, who had captured the 1978 GP Nationals at the Minneapolis Aquatennial Regatta, never recovered from a late start with PEANUT and managed only a fourth in the furious competition, ahead of Ty Cobb in FLYIN’ LOW and 62-year-old Paul Bauer in BIG KAT-N-NAN V.
Hanauer posted heat times of 100.334, 94.467, and 99.938 in the Bellingham, Washington-based entry. Fastest heat of the day went to Baker and DEEPWATER TOO, who did 101.930 in the 2-B section. Hodge and LONG GONE also cleared the century mark with a 100.649 reading in 1-B.
Grand Prix boats of today have little in common with their predecessors of yesteryear. A modern GP craft is a technological marvel with a cabover configuration and an aircraft-style safety canopy.
A 1970s GP was, more often than not, a beefed-up 7-Litre with the driver sitting behind the engine in an open cockpit.
Given the increasing number of active boats in recent years, the Grand Prix clan’s best sale point is an individual heat of racing. That is when the level of competition can be absolutely incredible–hardcore, auto-powered race boating at its gut-wrenching best.
Some of the finest inboard teams around the world are flocking to join “The Big Iron.” The real winners, the fans, eagerly await the results.
The Chairman’s Corner
As I return to my office in Fort Lauderdale, I remain convinced in the belief that H1 is regaining its’ integrity and poised to give you the best season in years.
I believe this deeply for a number of reasons:
1. For the first time in our sports history, we have teams that are signing a competition contract with H1. These contracts guarantee appearance, behavior, readiness and number of races they will attend.
2. Prize purses will be based on performance, not merely showing up.
3. We will have 11 national teams committed to the entire tour.
4. We will have a new contract for a web-based TV program from a highly successful producer with approximately 1.2 million viewers, and it’s FREE to you. (More on the production company in the near future)
5. We are united as never before. Ted Porter has always said two boats one team. With Ted’s help, we’ve coined the phrase “H1, Every Team United.”
6. Our rules are wide open for new power plants of any nature, all we ask is proof of sustainability, and that it will run when it shows up. (The current T55 turbine rules remain intact.)
7. What you see in the final heat, is how we’ll call the event. If we discover something amiss, we’ll assess the penalties the week following the race.
8. We’re bringing GPW and stock outboard into our family wherever feasible. At many races, we’ll run the gambit from 9-year old kids in J Universal up to Unlimited. My friend Scott Pierce refers to the 2015 tour as Thunder & Lightning (GPW and reciprocal powered Unlimited) and Lightning (Turbine Unlimited).
9. We’re taking a ‘no harm no foul’ approach to making calls. This includes eliminating the 1-minute buoy and putting more of the race into the cockpit.
10. Our race sites are now integral partners in our mutual success
In summary, no more is it ‘us and them.’ It’s ‘We.’ And ‘We’ includes the fans, our sites, our race teams, our owners, our sponsors, our vendors, our officials and me. We still have mountains to overcome, but we’re going to make it, together.
Seattle Aquarium Will Host Annual H1 Banquet
H1 Unlimited Awards Banquet
Saturday February 21, 2015
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
1483 Alaskan Way – Pier 59 – Seattle
One package available per driver and will be awarded to the highest bidder at the close of the auction at
9pm EDT / 6pm PDT on February 18, 2015.
All proceeds to benefit the H1 Unlimited Drivers Fund. This fund is designated to help with expenses incurred by drivers and their families after a racing accident.
1. Bidding requires registration with BiddingOwl.com
2. Must be 21 years of age or older to bid on a package. Your guest may be any age
3. Driver availability subject to change. Should a driver of a winning auction package become unavailable, H1 will attempt to substitute or refund the bid.
4. Highest bidder will be contacted by H1 via email on February 19, 2015 with instructions and details
5. H1 is not responsible for any technical difficulties that void any bids
6. H1 Management reserves all rights