Columbia Cup: An unlikely 1-2 finish

30 Jul

TRI-CITIES, WA – Sunday’s running of the 47th unlimited hydroplane race on the Columbia River was one for the ages.

Jimmy Shane driving the U-5 Graham Trucking, edged out J. Michael Kelly in the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing by roughly eight feet after the 12 1/2-mile final heat. The two boats dueled side-by-side most of the race. “It’s amazing,” Shane said to the media afterwards. “I can’t explain it in words. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. “I didn’t realize Steve was out of it until the last lap. At that point I knew the race was between J. Michael and myself. He was pulling us in the corners, but we had the straightaway speed and I was hoping we had just enough to win.”

The two hot-shot boats both had problems prior to the start:

Steve David in the Oh Boy! Oberto was penalized 1-lap for crossing the 1-minute score-up buoy a fraction to soon.

Dave Villwock  driving the defending champion Spirit of Qatar 96 got sprayed down by another boat’s roostertail prior to the start and was never in contention. “But we took a gulp (of water), and with the system we have it killed the fire, and I knew we were in trouble,” said Villwock.

Kelly has now finished second in the Columbia Cup in two of the past three years. Kelly was second in 2010 driving of all boats – the Graham Trucking.

No Villwock or David 1st or 2nd?

Here are the prior years that neither Villwock or David either finished first or second:

2003 – Mark Evans (LLumar Window Film), Nate Brown (Miss E-Lam Plus)

2002 – Nate Brown (Miss E-Lam Plus), Mark Tate (Miss Trendwest)

2000 – Mark Evans (Miss E-Lam Plus), George Stratton (Appian Jeronimo)

How about no Villwock, David, Ellstrom Family or City of Madison, Indiana boats 1 or 2:

1997 – Mark Evans (PICO American Dream), Mark Tate (Close Call)

The most unlikely 1-2 finish in the last 30 years happened in 1989.

Cooper’s Express won the race and finishing second was the Holset Miss Mazda.


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