By Bruce Madej/H1 Unlimited Series
Jimmy Shane knew he had the team and boat to make some noise at the Detroit Hydrofest.
And when he did put it all together, Shane came home with the most prestigious trophy of the weekend.
Shane in the U-1 Miss Homestreet made a perfect start in Sunday’s five-lap championship final heat from Lane 2 and then ran away from the field to capture one of the oldest active trophies in motorsports – the APBA Gold Cup – for the third time in four years.
“This is my favorite Gold Cup win,” said the 31-year old from Renton. “I consider this to be the first outright Gold Cup win for me. I won in 2014 when J. Michael Kelly was penalized and in 2015 Jean Theoret was penalized to give me the win.
“This time there were no penalties, it was a clean race, and it feels good to hold this Gold Cup.”
The win comes three weeks after Shane captured his first Seafair win on Lake Washington since he drove the Graham Trucking in 2013. Shane, a five-time APBA national high-point champion, is an integration engineer at Blue Origin, LLC, in Kent.
On the Detroit River, it was not an easy weekend for the Homestreet team and it wasn’t a clean start to the first attempt at a final. Despite winning four of the five preliminary heats over the doubleheader weekend that featured two H1 Unlimited hydroplane races for the time in the modern history of the sport, Shane was edged late by Andrew Tate for the top-qualifying spot for the Gold Cup on Friday.
Then on Saturday in the first of the two races — the President’s Cup – the Miss Homestreet captured its preliminary heats then had to settle for third behind Tate in the U-9 Realtrac/Delta Gear boat and Kelly in the U-12 Graham Trucking in the championship final heat.
On Sunday in the Gold Cup first final attempt, Shane survived a collision with Bert Henderson in the U-7 Spirit of Detroit, coming out of the Roostertail Turn seconds before the start of the race. Henderson’s boat then swerved hard to the left in front of the Kelly in Lane 1. Kelly’s Graham Trucking boat had nowhere to go and ran up and over Henderson’s cockpit of the boat. The top of Henderson’s safety canopy was torn off. Both drivers escaped injury, and Kelly’s team was able to get his boat ready for the restart of the final heat.
This time, four boats answered the bell with a clean start and a clean race. Shane then showed everyone why he is the defending national high-point champion and now a three-time winner of the Gold Cup. His average speed of 152.579 over the five lap, 2.73-mile course easily outpaced Tate and Kelly.
Kelly’s Graham Trucking crew and many other H1 Unlimited race team crews worked feverishly to change an engine, replace a canard wing and a propeller to get the boat back for the restart.
“It was unbelievable,” Shane said of the effort to get the Graham Trucking back on the water after the accident. “It was a marvelous spectacle to watch maybe 50 people from all the different teams work together to put that boat back together. That is just one aspect of what makes this sport great.”
In fact, Kelly fought back in the final to grab Lane 1 and fight Shane and Tate for three laps. Then when Shane was taking full control of the race, Kelly ran through the wake of two boats losing his canard once again. Tate ended up placing second and Jimmy King in the U-3 Griggs presents Ace Hardware took third. Kelly who won the APBA Gold Cup in 2016 then received even more bad news after the race. He was disqualified for a fuel violation.
The H1 fleet now heads to San Diego for the Bayfair Regatta on Sept. 15-17.
For full results of the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Hydrofest doubleheader with the President’s Cup and APBA Gold Cup, go to H1Unlimited.com.