North Tonawanda, New York

Thunder On The Niagara

August 29-30, 2009

J and Fae Report

The thunder returned to North Tonawanda this weekend. Strong CBF and American teams joined the Grand Prix monsters to awaken this city bringing back fond memories of many premier races here. People from this area know good racing and a major crowd turned out to enjoy the action. Having said that, someone has angered Mother Nature this year as wind and rain continue to plague nearly every event. While the GP's ran all seven heats, we were robbed of some awesome racing in the other classes. JSS and 2.5 Stockers ran an abbreviated schedule with the 1.5 Stock and 5 Litres getting shut out completely. John and Lauren Krebs along with Liz Barker and several volunteers gave 110% to pull off a good event against many obstacles. Maybe next year they will catch a break after two tough weekends in 2008 and 2009.

T boats were cancelled due to rough water. Here are the boats we saw: (T-26) Dream Weaver (CT-11) Total Chaos (CT-10) Flyin Eagle (T-31) Circus Circus (CT-7) Lucky Seven (CT-43) Metivier Racing (T-72) For Pete's Sake

E boats had a quality field of hulls on hand and here are the boats we saw: (CE-8) Last Minute Again (CE-99) OCR Racing (CE-20) Dynomites (CE-104)Willy's Pub (E-771) Shane Racing (E-500) Centsless 14 (CE-3) Team Project (CE-27) FBL Special (CE-2) Miss Beauhornois (CE-5) Short Fuse/Canadien Tire (CE-666) El Diablo

JSS boats ran one heat on Saturday and two on Sunday. Scoring Saturday's heat as a final with Sunday's two as a qualifier/final here's what happened. On Saturday Jimmy Stewart (JS-100) Southern Storm held off William Darby (JS-13) Geico Darby's Rapture and Johnny Krebs/Joe Less in (JS-721) Gone Skiffin Crazy (is that two total lunatics in the 721?) Sunday saw improved water and Tom Pakradooni hopping in Dave Greenlaw's (JS-99) Veri Cheri to win their 9 millionth race. Dennis Macy (JS-45) The Menace outdistanced William Darby (JS-13) in a spirited battle for second. The Skippers handle the bad water a little better than the hydros.

S boats had a fine field mixing strong American rigs against hot dawgs from Canada. Now, could anyone stop Marc Theoret (CS-444) Miss Virgo? That team is having a great summer. Donald Leduc's team showed the most determination. After their (CS-48) Cannonball sustained a hole in the bottom in the qualifier they packed up for the long trip home. Wait a minute. How about a patch? Someone found ???? a no parking sign to patch the hole. Several teams jumped in to lend a hand and the Cannonball made the final, running fifth! Marc (CS-444) continued on a roll blasting away to the victory. Mark Johnson (S-9) Rewinder and Tom Vielhauer (S-11) Unfinished Business ran fast to the place and show spots. The Stockers were cool.

 Nine beasts showed up for the Grand Prix class. Every boat was loud and fast with the crowd loving all seven heats. These boats handle wild water conditions and they saved the show with some great heats. Qualifier winners were Ken Brodie (GP-50) Intensity, Burt Henderson (GP-77) Steeler, Claude Bergeron (GP-444) GP Valleyfield, Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder and Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone. Obviously, it was anybody's final as seven boats roared away from the dock. The start was awesome as this wide course allowed six boats to blast into turn one at great speed. Forget the water, let's go racing! Tom (GP-88) led Burt (GP-77) up the backstretch with Jimmy (GP-7) a tick behind. As the race developed Tom (GP-88) had the inside with Burt (GP-77) out accelerating him slightly from lane two. At the checkers Burt (GP-77), Tom (GP-88) and Jimmy (GP-7) finished a second apart. Another second back was Ken (GP-50) and Hootie Wolfe (GP-93) Trafficade Renegade (the high pointís leader). Ah, the tape showed Burt and Tom got to the starting line a micro-second early. Jimmy Shane (GP-7) got a well earned victory with Ken (GP-50) and Hootie (GP-93) completing the podium. Ken (GP-50) easily had his best race of the season. Also churning up the water this weekend were Mario Miraldo (GP-59) Baby Doll, Mike Weber (GP-10) Barely Legal and Patrick Haworth (GP-777) Crush. The GP's left the crowd buzzing and hopefully the race sponsors happy as well.

 Well, that is the way we saw it. This event has unreal potential. The park is gigantic, viewing is perfect and a dedicated race committee will never give up until this Regatta returns to the pinnacle it reached 20 to 30 years ago. Already a lot of professionalism is evident from the expert announcing of Dick Delsener to many vendors and static hydros for the people to enjoy. Definitely mark this race on your calendar for 2010.  See ya in the pits. J and Fae