July 9-11, 2010
J and Fae Report
Hold on to your chapeau Jeff Ayler. Valleyfield 2010 was once again tres excellente! J and Fae set up camp in our usual location on the back stretch and did we ever see some action! Side by side battles roaring up the back stretch, as well as a perfect view of the entire course, made a ridiculously exciting three days. The crowds were huge, seemingly the best in several years. The water was generally smooth, even though the boat wakes make turn two treacherous, as usual. The competition was so fierce that a few drivers got a little anxious (36 gun jumps) but if you were a second late you were toast anyway. Picture three days where every heat was a war. To make the final was an accomplishment to be proud of. Yes, this was a boat race!
Here are the J and Fae boat totals: (T-12) (S-23) (PS-10) (Vintage-9) (E-18) (GP-12) Total-84
Vintage boats thrilled the crowd again this year. Ben Lemay is a long time boat racing fan and he puts on a good show. Here are the vessels we saw: (GP-222) Canadiana, (GP-115) Scorpio, (J-444) Edelweiss, (H-62) Tool Crib, (H-1) Crazy Thing, (GP-1001) Dynomytes, (N-75) Specialist, (JS-47) My Precious, (JS-603) Ofwego.
PS boats had a strong ten boat field. Dale Hernandez (PS-4) Widow Maker dominated the early qualifiers. Tom Richmond (PS-9) Raven and Chris Thompson (PS-41) Janet's Second Choice also showed some speed. Seven boats stormed the line in the final. Dale (PS-4) and Tom (PS-9) put on a spectacular battle all the way with Tom (PS-9) edging ahead at the checkers. Uh oh, in a sign of things to come, five boats jumped the gun. Hugh Monahan (PS-163) Yellow Rush ran fast and legal to the victory in his quick, yaller bomb. Tom (PS-9) and Dale (PS-4) had to settle for second and third respectively. Oh well, it was fast and exciting.
T boats had to have elimination heats. How many times do you see that? This class is coming on in Canada and several strong American rigs helped create quite a field. Three teams appeared to have an edge starting the event. Brandon Kennedy (T-1) Shameless Say What, Steve Armstrong (CT-11) Total Chaos and Jonathan Abbott (CT-10) Flyin Eagle are all monstrous. Alexis Weber (T-10) Flirtin With Disaster and Mathieu Lemelin (CT-7) Sortilege Racing are quick as well. The final saw most of the field wanting lane one. Brandon (T-1) decided to go with boat speed on the outside. Out of turn one Jonathan (CT-10) led Brandon (T-1) and Steve (CT-11) up the back stretch. Steve (CT-11) faded to third as Brandon (T-1) stalked and finally roared by Jonathan (CT-10) for a superb victory. Brandon is beginning to enjoy the post race interview as he was spraying the crowd with bubbly like the Formula One racers do. That looked cool from a distance.
S boats had a bevy of contenders promising a maniacal show. Some top speeds were posted by Bobby Kennedy (S-1) Playin Again, Kent Henderson (CS-00) Bank On It, Tom Villhauer (S-11) Unfinished Business, Nicolas Rousse (CS-225) L'oiseau Bleu, David Metivier (CS-43) Gariepy Leger, Eric Langevin (CS-12) Long Shot, Dominic Billette (CS-22) All In, Marco Poirier (CS-33) AMA Demolition and Tom Diabo (CS-20) Sonic Wave. Heat 2a eliminated three other top contenders in a wild collision. Rob Stevenson (CS-10) Wet Spot hooked in turn two. Claude Bergeron (CS-26) GT Racing swerved to avoid him with Robert Leduc (CS-48) Cannonball hurtling over Claude (CS-26). Everybody was ok but the three boats were out. Sunday's final saw eight top notch hulls roar out with lots of absolute bombs on the trailer. Eric (CS-12) nailed the start in lane two after being forced to win the consolation heat just to get into the final. He exited turn one with a four way tie for second breathing down his neck. Marco Poirier (CS-33) in his vastly improved hull, chased Eric all the way with Nicolas (CS-225) taking third. Eric (CS-12) won a tremendous victory against a super deep field.
E boats rolled into town with too many top dawgs to handicap. Just wait and enjoy the mayhem. The "kamikazes" are prettier these days but the action is just as crazy. You must have to fail several tests to drive in this class. It didn't take long to get wild as Ken Brodie (E-500) Centless 14 battled Kelly Shane (E-77) Shane Racing in heat 3a. Ken (E-500) was peddling hard to get by an ever improving Kelly (E-77). Next thing you know he is taking off in a classic blowover. Ken is ok but Don Less will be busy in the shop this week. Every heat was extremely competitive but one boat stood out this weekend. Ghislain Marcoux (CE-666) El Diablo won five heats including the final. Bert Henderson (CE-8) Last Minute appeared to pull the upset in the final but he took a score up penalty. Richard Heineault (CE-2) Miss Beauharnois and Stormin Norman Ensbury (CE-99) OCR Racing completed the podium. Ghislain (CE-666) has become a certifiable lunatic just like the rest of these five litre drivers and his vessel is fast and consistent. The fives were cool.
GP boats are in a tremendous renaissance. A dozen fantastic boats with a who's who of drivers promised a great race. The race committee decided to run two sets of six boats each in the elimination heats. This was pure genius as it was like watching seven finals! Every heat was awesome with so much action and noise it seemed like your eyes could not follow everything going on. It was a dizzying experience. Bert Henderson (GP-77) Crush 2, Pierre Maheu (GP-46) ADF Diesel, Marc Theoret (GP-444) GP Valleyfield, George Kennedy (GP-25) Shameless and Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) Rolling Thunder won heats with Pierre (GP-46) winning two. An exciting development was George (GP-25) escaping early season gremlins. Anyone who has followed the hydros for a while knows he is one of the greatest drivers of all time. Now the final had Jimmy Shane (GP-7) Long Gone, Ken Brodie (GP-50) Intensity, Marc (GP-444), George (GP-25) and 2009 high point champion Marty Wolfe (GP-93) Renegade on the front line. The three trailers were Pierre (GP-46), Tom (GP-88) and Bert (GP-77). Nothing like having fire breathing dragons as trailers. The start was wild and four boats exited turn one tied. They squeezed up the back stretch so close I could have spit on the outside boat. The noise was deafening. George (GP-25) and Marc (GP-444) got in a side by side battle all the way to the checkers with Marc winning by a few feet. But, how about the start? Did anyone jump? Uh yea, the whole front line. Bert (GP-77), Pierre (GP-46) and Tom (GP-88) took the podium as trailers. Have you ever seen that happen? Anyway we were now deaf and stupefied as all eight boats finished within seconds. What a show!
Now, here are some final thoughts on Valleyfield 2010. This Regatta is always fantastic. Here are a few reasons why. The Valleyfield Race Committee pours vast resources into racing. With government tourism dollars helping, they own 22 boats worth about 1.2 million dollars. The teams do the engines. The volunteers on the course are pros from the judge's tower to rescue to officials in the bird houses as well as tow boat drivers and divers. Lost buoy, no problem, it was replaced in 90 seconds. Accidents, rescue was on top of the craft in 10-20 seconds. Champions are interviewed in front of the fans like car racing. And don't forget the cast of hundreds doing security and other essential things. The whole experience is top notch. If you like boat racing you have got to get here someday. J and Fae started coming in 1988 and we will be here as long as we can drive and remember how to get back home. That's all folks. See ya at Waterford.