Driver Profile: Brian Perkins
29 year-old Brian Perkins grew up in the Seattle area dreaming of driving an Unlimited hydroplane like his boyhood heroes. As a fifteen year old, he was a crew member on Bill Wurster’s U-8 LLumar Window Film team.
A short time later, he found a ride in a friend’s 2.5 liter and his driving career was underway. Brian and his race boats, with sponsorship from the family business – Perkins Glass – became well known in inboard racing circles.
His Inboard resume includes victories in the Unlimited Light Class at Issaquah, Washngton in 2006 and at Silverdale, Washington in 2009.
In 2007, Perkins qualified as an Unlimited driver and drove the U-21 for San Diego’s Freedom Racing Team. That boat was later purchased by Greg and Brian O’Farrell and is the same boat Brian drives now for Go Fast Turn Left Racing.
Drivng for GFTL, Brian scored podium finishes at the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities in 2008 and the Albert Lee Cup at Sefair in Seattle in 2010.
The first race of 2013 ended in a near disaster at the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar when Tom Thompson in the 11 Peters and May collided with Perkins in the 21 Snoqualmie Casino in a crowed first turn. Thompson’s boat flew over Perkins’, bouncing off the canopy of the 21. Brian was not injured, but his boat was damaged and forced to withdraw.
Brian works with his family in the glass business and met his fiance Erin Stafford at the San Diego Race, where she worked as an animal trainer at Sea World. They live in North Bend, Washington with two dogs.
Driver Profile: Jamie Nilsen
Jamie Nilsen, a 28 year old native of Federal Way, Washington, is a crew member on the GFTL team and has been racing boats for over 15 years. Primarily an outboard driver, Nilsen has won two outboard national championships and set eight competition world records. He was inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions in 2000 and again in 2002.
An outstanding college baseball player, Jamie gave up pursuit of a professional career in baseball to devote his energy to boat racing.
As a member of the Schumacher racing team in 2010, he successfully completed 11 laps testing in Tri-Cities and Seattle with a best lap over 148 mph. Nilsen also has inboard experience in the 1 Liter and 5 Liter classes in the Pacific Northwest over the past two seasons and teamed with Brian Perkins to win the 5 Liter National Championship in 2013.
He went through the H1 Unlimited driver’s qualification process in one of the team’s boats at the 2013 Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities the week before the Seattle race. That process requires 15 laps on the course with 10 of the laps over 130 mph.
Jamie then drove the team’s 48 Snoqualmie Casino to a spot in the final heat at Seafair.
Team Profile: GoFastTurn Left Racing
Owner: Greg & Brian O'Farrell
Greg and Brian O’Farrell were born with boat racing in their genes. The father-son team represent the second and third generation within the family to have such a strong connection to hydroplane racing. As a kid, Greg attended every Seafair, except for the year he was in boot camp. “I got hooked early. My father was friends with Willard Rhodes who owned the Thriftway team. Bill Muncey gave me a ride in Thriftway Too and there was no turning back!”
As he built the very successful Lakeridge Paving Company, Greg couldn’t escape the lure of hydroplaning. In 2005, Lakeridge Paving sponsored a Fred Leland hull which was driven by Jeff Bernard. In front of a huge Seafair audience and on live television Miss Lakeridge Paving made news by passing Jeff’s uncle Terry Troxell who had just won the APBA Gold Cup.
Encouraged by the success of sponsoring a boat, Greg stepped up and bought two Leland hulls including “Lucky.” With Brian Perkins behind the wheel, the U-50 “Spirit of the Navy” made every final heat on the eastern circuit and the team garnered the respect of everyone in boat racing.
The next move for Greg and Brian was to step up to a more competitive ride for 2010, so they purchased the U-21 from Kevin Aylesworth and Jeff Johnson. After a winter of tuning, the U-21 became a contender on the H1 Unlimited circuit.
Brian’s son Gunnar and his daughter Makenna have jumped into racing and both of them are doing very well racing J Stock outboards.
Not content to sit back, Greg and Brian O’Farrell commissioned Dale Van Wierengen to build a “state-of-the-art” unlimited, debuting in 2012. While unlimited racing is a family activity for Greg and Brian O’Farrell, make no mistake, these two are intent on making it to the top of the sport. Each year, Go Fast Turn Left Racing has improved. Expect 2013 to be another year of improvement for the father-son team of Greg and Brian O’Farrell!
- Follow the Team:
- Boat Name: Albert Lee Appliance
- Team Website: http://www.gofastturnleftracing.net/
- Home Port: Maple Valley, WA
- Driver: Brian Perkins
- Driver Rookie Year: 2008
- Boat Colors: Green/White
- Primary Sponsor: Fox Plumbing & Heating
- Crew Chief: Jim Harvey
- Engine: Lycoming T-55/L-7 Turbine
- 2013 Boat Points: 1440
- 2013 Driver Points: 1440
- 2013 Season Finish: 10th