HYDROS: Ellstrom and Oberto families trash talk at 2011 Awards Banquet

29 Feb

The two dynasties of Unlimited Hydroplane Racing – The Ellstrom Family (Spirit of Qatar) and Oberto Family (Oh Boy! Oberto) set the tone Saturday night (Feb. 25) for the upcoming 2012 H1 Unlimited season.

The Oh Boy! Oberto (owned by the city of Madison, Ind.), had their three straight national high points championship run stopped in 2011 when Dave Villwock (winningest driver of all-time with 64 wins) drove the Spirit of Qatar to the seasonal championship.

While accepting the award for second-place, Oberto driver Steve David bet $5,000 (representative owner Bob Hughes added another $5,000) that the Oh Boy! Oberto team will finish higher than Spirit of Qatar in the 2012 points standings. Erick Ellstrom took the bet and said if they win, the money would most likely go to charity.

“We’re not going to let them beat us again next year,” David said. “We knew after the crash in Madison, that it was going to be an uphill fight.”

That was the key moment in the 2011 season as Villwock lost control of his boat in the turn of the final heat at Madison and David couldn’t avoid crashing into the Qatar hull.

Villwock and the Ellstrom family fixed the Qatar boat in time for the Gold Cup the following week and they ended up winning the race. The Oberto team wasn’t as fortunate as they had to use a back-up hull at Detroit and fell too far behind in the points race (2,600-2004).

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