On a beautiful day in Kennewick, Wash., amidst a lot of confusion and controversy, J. Michael Kelly won the first heat of the 2014 Columbia Cup in the Graham Trucking hydroplane.
The initial call of the heat was that all boats, with the exception of the Bucket List Racing driven by Kelly Stocklin, had jumped the gun. This put all those boats one lap behind Stocklin. Kelly made up the extra lap, as did Jimmy Shane in the Oberto hydroplane. This put Stocklin in third and the other boats behind. An hour after the heat was over, officials made a ruling that in fact no boat had jumped the gun. This cost Stocklin several positions is he ended up being last in the heat.
The final order of the finish was Kelly and the Graham Trucking first and Shane in the Oberto second, with Dave Villwock in the Beacon Plumbing taking third. Fourth place went to our local hydro, the Miss Peters and May. In fifth place was Jamie Nielsen in Lakeridge Paving and sixth was Stocklin in Bucket List Racing.
The other heat was less controversial and contained some good racing action. John Zimmerman in the Red Dot, led the race from start to finish. However, it was a tight fight for positions two through four. In the end, Mike Webster with his Ranch and Home hydro was second followed by Cal Phipps in the Graham Trucking 2, then Jeff Bernard in the Our Gang Racing and Greg Hopp in the Miss DiJullio. Kip Brown was unable to get the brand new Spirit of Qatar started.
Racing starts Sunday at 11 a.m. with two more sets of preliminary heats followed by the final.
–By Harry Gatjens