North Tonawanda, New York
Thunder On The Niagara
August 21-22, 2010
J and Fae Report
Well, the Grand Island Navy finally got some good luck with water conditions this year. A small group of racers, who remember the glory days of this event, have put on a huge effort in recent years to bring back this great race. Their dedication was obvious but Mother Nature kept slapping them down with wind. Not this year. For two days the Niagara River was as calm as it gets, at least on the surface. A tremendous fleet took advantage of the calm air to put on a wild show. This course is nice and wide which allowed room for some side by side action. Many superb elimination heats led to several manic finals and a huge crowd went home happy both days.
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-8) (PS-8) (S-22) (E-14) (GP-11) (Vintage-5) total-68
T boats presented a nice, colorful field. Steve Armstrong (CT-11) Total Chaos and Jonathan Abbott (CT-10) Flyin Eagle dominated the heats as whoever hit the start won. Come the final and Steve (CT-11) was determined to nail the start. Uh oh, he was a tick early just like Cambridge. Jonathan (CT-10) hit the line and cruised to a fine victory. Patrick Morneault (CT-15) Trimax had his best finish of 2010 finishing second while fiesty rookie Leah Hoosnick (T-27) Chaotic Dream took a strong third. The excellent speed the T's generated emphasized the decent water.
PS boats had a strong contingent although gremlins cut the field to five for the final. These hulls have a ridiculous weight to power ratio featuring that big 427 cubic inch engine. It is a real talent to keep them on a straight path. Dale Hernandez (PS-4) Widow Maker is a grizzled flat bottom veteran and he blasted away to another win. Hugh Monahan (PS-163) Yellow Rush and Dominic Cournoyer (PS-122) Blue Thunder completed the podium. The sound of this class is like Corvettes on water.
S boats are a very deep class in Canada. When you add some quality American hulls the field gets absolutely sick. This weekend we could have run two excellent finals as many hot dawgs sat on the trailer during the final. The championship heat had ten boats- all bombs. The start was going to be critical. As usual, what we saw was not real due to penalties. Five boats battled for the lead. They were Rob Stevenson (CS-10) Wet Spot, Mike Monahan (S-9) Rewinder, Sylvain Maheu (CS-19) Top Gun, Dominic Billette (CS-22) All In and Kent Henderson (CS-00) Bank On It. Mike (S-9) hugged the pins and picked off everybody except Rob (CS-10) who had jumped the gun. Therefore, Mike (S-9) took the title. Sylvain (CS-19) and Kent (CS-00) followed him home. It was a war as the tenth place boat could win many races. Fantastic show gang! Footnote: a bright orange and white boat, number (S-242), name Crush, debuted driven by Bobby King. Hmmmm..... Did ya catch those connections?
E boats in this series are crazy good. Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) El Diablo has had an awesome season, including dominating Valleyfield. Tough challengers included Norm Ensbury (CE-99) OCR Racing, Kelly Shane (E-77) Shane Racing, Marc Lecompte (CE-104) Wily's Pub, Jim Martin (E-43) Keen's Machine, Samuel Morin (CE-16) Cargo Tec 2, and Richard Heinhault (CE-2) Miss Beauhornois. Every heat was strong which led to great anticipation for the final. Could anyone beat Marcoux? At the start Jim Martin (E-43) roared down the inside with Marc Lecompte (CE-104) and Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) on his hip. After one it was a three way tie. Ghislain (CE-666) faded to third as Jim (E-43) and Marc (CE-104) raced nose to nose all the way. Off the last turn
Marc (CE-104) held Jim (E-43) close scruffing off a tick of speed and accelerated to a boat length win. That was as good a heat as 2010 has produced. Wow!
GP boats have put on an amazing show this summer. The action has been fast, loud and very competitive. Several boats have contended at each event and it is hard to predict a winner, which is true racing. However, one team has shown true consistency and that is Pierre Maheu (GP-46) Adf Diesel. Pierre, in one of the older hulls, runs wickedly fast and usually finishes a formula for winning high points. The rest of the field has flashed some incredible speed as well, making 2010 a great season. This weekend's heat racing produced some incredible three wide battles which set us up for a cool final. After an overcast day, the skies got a little darker for the final. (See Cambridge) Eight monsters shook the neighborhood as they left the dock. The start saw Pierre (GP-46) flying down the inside with Mike Monahan (GP-777) Crush on his hip. Everyone else was late. Mike (GP-777) led up the backstretch with Pierre (GP-46) ripping along side the buoys. They battled for four laps before Pierre (GP-46) prevailed despite Mike's great drive. Bert Henderson (GP-77) Crush 2 took a hard earned third. Another great GP show.
The roostertails died down and the noise subsided. The crowd started to leave and we feel like most people believed they had seen a special event, just like the old days. This area has so many great race fans that grew up watching the hydros back at Niawanda Park. If you race, they will come. Here's hoping this regatta continues for a long time because it is a beauty. See ya in the pits. J and Fae