Andrew Tate (Walled Lake, Mich.), driving the U-9 Les Schwab Tires, was never threatened in the winner-take-all final of the HAPO Columbia Cup, held in 100+ degree heat in Kennewick, WA. His victory was his first on the Columbia River 2-1/2 mile course. At the beginning of the race, he was briefly challenged by Brian Perkins (North Bend, Wash.) in the U-21 PayneWest Insurance, however, Perkins hit a buoy, resulting in a one minute penalty. That dropped Perkins back to fourth place overall. Cal Phipps (Avon Lake, Ohio), in the U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, finished second. J. Michael Kelly (Bonney Lake, Wash.) in the U-12 Graham Trucking, who overcame a weekend of issues, placed third.
“When I came out of turn two near the blue bridge I let out a sigh of relief,” Tate said. “We kind of watched what all the drivers were doing this weekend and we were taking notes.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Les Schwab Tires, Lori and Mike Jones, and the entire team,” said the 28-year old driver Tate. “The team worked their butts off. They stayed late Saturday night and were back in the pits at 5:00 a.m.”
Jimmy Shane (Maple Valley, Wash.) was in the hunt and crossed the finished line second, but H1 Unlimited hydroplane officials determined he encroached on Tom Thompson in the U-11 J&D’s, causing him to lose power, “affecting the outcome of the race,” said Doug Shelton, chief referee. He was disqualified from the final.
Thompson, later restarted and finished fifth, and Dustin Echols in the U-440 Bucket List Racing finished sixth.
“All five boats were going up the back stretch tight,” Shane said. I saw the U-9 moving back and forth in lane two and three, and I needed to make a move before I got boxed in. It was 100 percent my fault. I feel terrible that I affected the outcome of U-11. I never wanted to do that. I truly apologize.”
The win for Tate increases his H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series national points lead over Shane by 1,920. Thompson now takes over second in the standings, but is also far behind Tate by 1,173.
The H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series now moves to Seattle, for the Albert Lee Appliance Cup next weekend on August 3-5.
2018 HAPO Columbia Cup Final Results
1) U-9 Les Schwab Tires, Andrew Tate, 145.385 mph avg.
2) U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, Cal Phipps, 137.610 mph avg.
3) U-12 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 128.455 mph avg.
4) U-21 PayneWest Insurance, Brian Perkins, 116.775 mph avg.
5) U-11 J&D’s, Tom Thompson, 116.230 mph avg.
6) U-440 Bucket List Racing, 104.808 mph avg.
H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series National High Points
1) Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 5,280 points
2) Tom Thompson, U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool presents J& D’s, 3,507 points
3) Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 3,360 points
4) Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 2,221 points
5) Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 2,213 point
6) Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 2,135 points
7) J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 895 points
8) Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 225 points
9) Jimmy King, U-3 Ace Hardware, 146 points