Andrew Tate in the U-9 Delta Realtrac (left) races side by side with Jimmy
Shane in the Miss HomeStreet as the two head for the finish line in the final heat.

Four unlimiteds begin the season with test runs on the Columbia.

Andrew Tate victorious in a storm-tossed Southern Cup.

by Craig Fjarlie

Andrew Tate drove Delta Realtrac to a thrilling victory in the Southern Cup as the unlimiteds returned to Guntersville, Alabama. The U-9 finished a boat length ahead of Jimmy Shane in U-1 Miss HomeStreet. Tom Thompson took third in U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool presents J&D’s and Brian Perkins was fourth in the U-21 presents PayneWest Insurance. The weather almost won, but nature yielded just enough so the race could be run.

Testing and qualifying

 July 2018

Sunny weather and a slight breeze greeted four unlimited hydroplanes as they kicked off the 2018 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series season with a daylong preseason test session in the Tri-Cities, Washington. The Tri-City Water Follies hosted the event on the Columbia River on Friday, June 1.

     Parked along the shore were the 440 Bucket List Racing, driven by Dustin Echols; Miss HomeStreet driven by national champion Jimmy Shane; U-9 Les Schwab Tires driven by Andrew Tate; and U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool present J&D’s, driven by Tom Thompson.

     The Bucket List Racing was the first and last boat on the temporary 2.5-mile racecourse and racked up the most testing laps of the four boats. The team made four attempts
and completed 16 laps during the day.

      “We are looking good now,” said Echols. “Really good. Each time out we got better and better and I am excited on how fast the boat is
now.” Echols said it was the fastest the boat has ever gone, eclipsing the mandatory 130 mph qualifying lap that is required to qualify at each of the H1 Unlimited races.

                                         Continued, click here...

My read on David Williams’ new book about Mira Slovak.

Testing was canceled on Friday. The seven boats in the pits remained on their trailers, while the wind blew white caps that were almost large enough for surfing. On Saturday morning, PayneWest was the first boat on the course. It was followed immediately by U-27 Greater Gadsden presents Chase Building Group, driven by Cal Phipps.             Continued, click here...

by Chris Tracy

Longtime hydroplane racing fans have been handed a treat: David Williams’ new book, A Race to Freedom; The Mira Slovak Story. It’s a compelling story of how commercial airplane pilot Mira Slovak, as a courageous young man, left his friends and family in Czechoslovakia and in a harrowing escape, defected to the West. He gave up all to flee communism. But that’s only a small piece of Slovak’s fascinating life story told in the book.

     The book is also an account of Slovak’s stories and adventures, including hurdles and curves that Slovak faced and overcame as a refugee and immigrant. Readers will find that Slovak worked with the CIA and the CIA helped Slovak a lot. As the story goes on, readers understand why Slovak learned how to pilot a crop-dusting plane, how he fell into being Bill Boeing,
Jr.’s personal pilot, why Washington Senator Warren Magnuson got a bill through Congress for Slovak, how the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing allowed Slovak to personally thank President Eisenhower for signing Magnuson’s bill, and how Slovak progressed from crop-dusting pilot to a senior captain with Continental Airlines.                       Continued, click here...

[Top] The 440 team was the first to get their boat on the water for testing.
[Bottom] Jimmy Shane piloting the Miss HomeStreet around the racecourse.