By Harry Gatjens
The U-11 Miss Peters and May unlimited hydroplane is headed to the Gold Cup this weekend in Detroit after a sixth-place finish during its maiden run in Madison, Indiana.
The 6,000-pound racing boat, headquartered in Edmonds, got off to a conservative star. Qualifying sixth on its first run ever, driver JW Meyer took the boat to third-place finishes in the first two preliminary heats.
Scott and Shannon Raney’s boat was just outside of the qualifiers and needed a good finish in the third preliminary heat to make the top group. Unfortunately, they never got the chance: During the heat scheduled before the Miss Peters and May race, the U-21 Lakeridge Paving spun inside the course and while trying to return to racing, driver Brian Perkins — temporarily blinded by spray — ran over one of the volunteer patrol boats. The people on the patrol boat were thrown into the river and injured, one critically.
The decision was made that due to time constraints, the remainder of the preliminary heats would not be run. Only the final would be run and positions based upon the earlier rounds. This left our local challenger on the sidelines.
In the final, another boat spun in the turn and this time directly in front of one of the other hydroplanes. David Vilwock, driving the Spirit of Qatar, was leading when his boat hit a hole in the water causing him to spin directly into the path of the hometown Oh Boy Oberto. Oberto driver Steve David had no place to go and T-boned the Spirit of Qatar. Both boats were damaged although luckily neither driver suffered serious injuries.
In a curious ruling the officials decided to declare the Oberto the winner, which more probably more deservedly should have gone to the boat running third at the time, The Miss Red Dot, driven by Kip Brown and headquartered in Fall City, Wash.
Al the boats head to Detroit this weekend, including the Spirit of Qatar, after being repaired, the Oh Boy! Oberto with a borrowed boat, and our own local favorite, the Miss Peters and May, searching for incremental improvement in its second race.