Unlimited hydro drivers to compete in Tastin' n 'Racin
June 9, 2011 · Updated 3:28 PM
Unlimited hydroplane pilot J. Michael Kelly and four fellow H1 drivers will be racing in the 5-litre inboard class of mini-hydroplanes at the 15th annual Tastin' n Racin' on Issaquah's Lake Sammamish this weekend.
The deck-to-deck action Saturday and Sunday at Lake Sammamish State Park is sure to be a preview of the racing that will happen at this year's Albert Lee Cup at Seafair in August.
Kelly will be driving the E-15 Wingin' It, owned by Kirkland's Mel and David Cossette. The mini-hydro is capable of reaching speeds of 110 mph.
"Race fans will love watching us race because this is just a mini-version of what will be happening this year in the H1 unlimited circuit, except the boats are a little slower and smaller," said Kelly, a 31-year-old Bonney Lake resident. "The concept is the same – strategies, fighting for lanes, racing and then the trophy."
Kelly is the American Power Boat Association's national high-points leader in the 5-litre class.
"We have a little bit of a disadvantage because our boat is as old as I am, but that just makes me drive harder," Kelly said.
This will not be the case when Kelly begins the H1 Unlimited season in Madison, Ind., on the Fourth of July weekend when he will be driving the new state-of-the-art No. 88 Schumacher Racing hydroplane.
In addition to Kelly, the field includes unlimited drivers Brian Perkins in the E-77 and Jon Zimmerman in the E-72. Jeff Bernard and Kip Brown will share driving duties in the E-55.
"This is just practice and seat time for me when I am not driving our U-21 Miss Albert Lee in the H1 series," Perkins said. "This will give me a feeling for how and what the other drivers will be doing in the big boats. It should be a thrill for fans to watch."
In addition to the 5-litre class, a reference to its motor size, there will be smaller 1-litre and 2.5-litre hydroplanes racing.
There also will be larger classes of hydroplane racing, including National Modified and Grand Prix, vintage and two H1 Unlimiteds.
The 5-litre mini-hydros are scheduled to race at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The GTO Legends Car Club will be there Saturday to show off its automobiles. The Seafair Pirates invade the park at noon Sunday.
In addition, Tastin' n Racin' offers music, arts and crafts vendors, food booths and a family area. Music will come from local and regional singers and bands.
The family fun area has an inflatable children's slide, face painters, pony rides and a giant slide.
General admission is $10, juniors (6-16) and seniors (65 and older) are $5, and children 5 and under are free. Pit passes also are available.
Tastin' n Racin' will go on, whether it rains or shines. Last year, the event drew a record 60,000 people, and event organizers hope to break that record.