JW Meyers
JW MeyersDriver

Known by his friends as “J-Dub,” Myers had a five-year absence from the sport before returning last year to drive the U-27 Wiggins Racing at Madison, Indiana, and the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto in Seattle. A resident of Kenmore, Washington, the 45-year-old Myers currently has his greatest fun driving little outboard-powered hydroplanes on lakes and rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

His first ride in an H1 Unlimited hydroplane came in 2003 aboard a boat named U-100 Miss Tony Roma’s when he took over for Jerry Hopp in the third heat at the Tri-Cities, Washington race, and remained in that cockpit for the next three races. The following year, he was behind the wheel of the U-8 LLumar Window Film and managed to collect enough points to finish the season fourth in the driver standings, then moved to the Ellstrom Racing Team in 2005, which would become perhaps the most memorable season of his career.

The year started with a second-place finish in Evansville, Indiana, and a victory at the Indiana Governor’s Cup in Madison, Indiana, where he had been the event’s fastest qualifier and went on to win all three preliminary heats.

Two weeks later in Detroit, while making a test run on the Friday before the Gold Cup, Myers was taking the Ellstrom around the Detroit River course when the boat suddenly flew straight into the air and landed with enough force to break a large chunk off the boat’s stern and cause other damage. Remarkably, Myers was not injured and the crew managed to get the boat fixed in time for Myers to claim another second-place finish. But, despite the fabulous start, Myers was fired by team owner Erick Ellstrom just before the next race in Tri-City at the Columbia Cup and was replaced by Dave Villwock.

Myers drove again the following season, earning a second-place finish in Tri-City aboard the U-10 Solutions Plus, then took two seasons off before returning to drive the U- 37 Miss Detroit Yacht Club at Detroit in 2009. In 2010, drove and co-owned the U-11 Miss Peters & May with Shannon & Scott Raney’s new Unlimited Racing Group team.

Driving that boat in Detroit, the skid fin broke as he was rounding the sharp turn on that course, causing the boat to skid out of control and smash into a seawall at over 100 mph. The result shattered most of the bones in his left foot. Nevertheless, Myers stayed with the Peters & May for another two seasons then decided to dissolve his partnership with the Unlimited Racing Group and took time off from the unlimiteds to allow a sore shoulder to heal. That break from the action ended last season when he returned to the Ellstrom team to drive the U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto.

When considering the twists and turns of J-Dub’s career in the unlimiteds, it’s not surprising that when he was asked why he got involved with the sport, jokingly his response was that he “didn’t pay attention in skool.”

Erick Ellstrom
Erick EllstromOwner

The Ellstrom family–consisting of father Sven, sons Erick and Tom, and daughter Lisa–made its debut on the Unlimited racing scene as the sponsor of an experimental four-point hydroplane, owned by Glen Davis, in 1994.

The next year, the family built a boat of its own and, under the leadership of crew chief Erick Ellstrom, the U-16 has racked up 23 victories since 2000 and won the National High Point Team Championship in 2005 and 2007.

The team’s first race victory came in the 2000 Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities, Washington with Mark Evans driving. In 2001, the Ellstroms’ current hull made its debut and quickly showed its speed. Nate Brown piloted the new orange rocket to victories in the last two events of the season at Seattle and San Diego. Brown would win 2 more races in 2002.

After a winless 2003, Terry Troxell brought home the trophy at a wind-shortened event in St. Clair, Michigan during the 2004 season.

JW Myers won the 2005 Indiana Governor’s Cup before flipping the boat during qualifying in Detroit. Dave Villwock took over driving duties for the rest of the 2005 season, collecting victories at Tri-Cities and San Diego and scoring enough points to win the first National High Point Championship for Ellstrom Racing.

Despite a trio of first-place finishes in 2006, MISS E-LAM PLUS was unable to defend her High Points crown. However, with legendary driver Dave Villwock behind the wheel, the Ellstroms were determined to reclaim their spot atop the leaderboard in 2007. And they did.

The Ellstroms followed a reduced schedule in 2008 and only appeared at two races but still took first-place at their hometown Chevrolet Cup on Seattle’s Lake Washington.

In 2010, racing as the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, the team scored victories in the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, the Air Guard Championship in San Diego and the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar on the way to strong second place finish in 2010 Season High Points.

The 2011 season produced another Series Championship with victories in the Detroit APBA Gold Cup as well as the Tri-Cities and a win before the sponsoring country’s home fans in the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar.

The 2012 season had a disappointing finish as Villwock and the team arrived in Doha in a close race with the Oberto team but suffered a series of setbacks that dropped the team all the way to third place in the final standings for the season.

Damage to the boat put it on the beach for 2013, and the Ellstrom team began construction on a new 96 Spirit of Qatar which made its debut in 2014.

In 2015, Jean Theoret took the cockpit and gave the Ellstrom team the top qualifying position in three of the national events. In heat 2-A of the Spirit of Detroit UAW-GM Hydrofest, Theoret crashed the boat in the Belle Ilse Bridge turn sending it to dry dock for the remainder of the season.

Mike Hanson
Mike HansonCrew Chief

In more than three decades of boat racing – Mike Hanson has done it all. He has been a very successful driver, builder and fixer of race boats as well as crew chief of one of the most successful teams of all time.

In 1984, he piloted Dick Neeson’s MADAME BLUE to a National High Point Championship in the 2.5-Litre Modified Inboard Class.

Hanson qualified as an Unlimited driver at the 1986 Tri-Cities (Washington) Columbia Cup with Fred Leland’s U-100, an unsponsored craft with the generic name “BOAT” painted on it.

For ten years, between 1988 and 1998, he drove the community-owned MISS MADISON from southern Indiana. In 1999, Mike began his association with the U-9 racing team of Mike and Lori Jones.

Hanson’s victory in the 2001 APBA Gold Cup at Detroit with the U-9 was one of history’s most popular Gold Cup outcomes. That was the year when the winning Jones Racing Team lost their skid fin and suffered major structural damage the week before at Madison, Indiana. So extensive was the damage to the U-9 hull that the team’s appearance at the Gold Cup seemed unlikely.

In 2003, his final year of competition, Hanson guided the U-9 to second-place in National High Points. He finished second at Evansville with MISS WABX, third at Madison with MISS BELLO’S PIZZA, and third at Detroit with AL DEEBY DODGE.

A call from Mike’s old friend Bob Hughes, President of Miss Madison, Inc., led to Mike’s return to the U-6 camp in 2004 as crew chief. What followed was one of the most dominating runs in the sports history, as Hanson teamed with driver Steve David to score dozens of victories and a series of season championships.

In 2014, Erick Ellstrom gave Mike the opportunity to work closer to his home South of Seattle as crew chief of the new 96 Spirit of Qatar.

U-16 Ellstrom E-Lam Plus
U-16 Ellstrom E-Lam PlusCrew

Trevor Hanson
Rick Swanson
Dan Heye
David Heye
Bob Ross
Sven Ellstrom II
Krister Ellstrom
Joern Pietzko

OH BOY! Oberto
OH BOY! Oberto

Seattle-based, family owned Oberto Brands is the nation’s leading all-natural jerky snacks company, founded by Constantino Oberto in 1918. The company’s brands are found in all retail channels and include Oberto All-Natural Jerky, Pacific Gold, Cattleman’s Cut, Lowrey’s and Oberto Classics. All products are proudly made at Oberto’s HQ facilities in Kent, WA and are available in the company’s factory stores.

Team Website: Ellstrom Racing
Founded: 1994
Home Port: Seattle, WA
Boat Colors: White/Silver/Orange
Primary Sponsor: Ellstrom E-Lam Plus
Associate Sponsors: 5 Axis Industries
Engine: Lycoming T-55/L-7 Turbine
2017 Boat Points: 712
2017 Driver Points: 712
2017 Season Finish: 10th