Records, Rebuilds, Race Sites, and Rumors

No Comments 31 October 2012

This is that time of year when you’re liable to hear anything. What’s that saying? Don’t believe half of what you hear!!!!!

Record: Job well done by Marty Wolfe and the GP-93 Renegade crew. APBA started something new this year with 1/4 mile straightaway records. I don’t know if they are doing away with their Kilo records but from the speeds at New Martinsville last month, they should only run 1/4 mile speeds mainly because it’s a whole lot safer than the longer kilo record runs. Our hero Marty Wolfe ran one way at 172mph (plus that was in racing trim) to set the new GP 1/4 mile record at a 166 mph average. His return run was slowed by a loss of power. That didn’t stop him from winning the GP APBA Eastern Divisional Championships in Wildwood three weeks ago with Mr. Dependable Mike Monahan doing the driving chores. One of our old time GP drivers, Larry Lauterbach also went out and set the National Mod record at 152 mph and he too won the Eastern Divisional class in Wildwood.

Rebuilds: most of you readers have already heard this but now it’s official from ACHA. Both George Kennedy and Patrick Hayworth will be getting new design Henderson sponsons on their GP boats this winter. These modifications will now update all the ACHA GP Henderson hulls (except Ken Brodies, he did his own) with the new sponsons.

Race sites: I don’t want to jump the gun but ACHA officials are looking at two possible USA race sites right now.

Rumors: Probably the hottest rumor at the moment is who is going to get Tom Pakradooni’s old GP-88 boat. Several names have been mentioned but the new name on the list is a 350 class owner who’s waiting to hear from a major new sponsor. If this deal goes through this will be a very good addition to our GP family as this is a class team from the H350 class. Speaking of Tom Pakradooni by now everyone’s probably heard he’s getting a brand new Bergeron GP hull. Claude says this one will be 2 to 300 pounds lighter than Tom’s present hull which will probably put him right up to the front of the class running for the 2013 GP high point championship. Tom always runs first class equipment and has over the last five years been one of the fastest Bergeron hulls. A lot of our fans are wondering what happened to “The Charger” of Dean Rojas. The latest I’ve heard is he’s looking for a driver and new crew and their rebuilding the boat after their fire in Valleyfield this past summer. As far as running in our series, that’s up in the air as of now. More on this team and other good gossip in my next newsletter. Until then, take care.



Bert Wins GP Championship and the Battle of the Blowers!

No Comments 24 September 2012

The GP points championship came down to the last race of our season, the final at Beauharnois and everyone showed up with their best combo of the year ready to get it on! Ghislain (GP101), Hootie (GP93), Marc (GP444), and Eric (GP12) all showed up with their new bigger version 8:71 blowers, some experts say they are good for another 200 horsepower, and the game was on! Those big blowers really came alive with Eric, Marc, Ghislain, and Hootie easily taking heat wins. Eric also had the fastest time of the weekend with his heat win. Those big blowers really lived up to their advanced billing. Bert had his problems but did manage two heat wins to put him tied with Ghislain for the inside lane for the final. Because Bert had more Championship wins he started the final in lane one and the race was on. The crowd (estimated at over 5000 people) were on their feet and stayed there for the entire final. Bert, Ghislain, and Patrick hit the first turn together and all three hit each other. Out of the turn Bert held a slim lead over Ghislain and they stayed that way for the first lap. When all three boats hit each other Patrick got knocked out and slowed to a stop. Nobody knew until after the race had ended because everyone just thought he had broken down and drifted off the course. He was taken to the hospital with a concussion and now is ok but said he had a headache for a couple of days. Lap after lap Bert and Ghislain stayed 1 and 2 with Bert pulling away on the last lap to not only win the final but also win the GP championship. After winning 5 of 7 GP finals Bert finally won his first GP championship after coming in second the preceding three years. The crowd were still standing and cheering after watching one of our best finals all year. What a fitting ending for the ACHA series as all four class champions were crowned at this season ending race.

And what about the battle of the blowers? At a cost of over 10,000 dollars to put on one of these monster blowers Bert proved that all you really need is one of the standard (like the rule book states) 8:71 blowers that cost less than 3,000 dollars to be competitive.

Speaking of great finals the weekend before at Webster, Mass Tom Pakradooni nailed the start and stayed out in front to win his first race of the year backing up his win at Webster in 2011.

Tune into my next newsletter when you’ll find out who’s in and who might be leaving our series next year. Things change fast in our sport so “STAY TUNED IN” See you in Wildwood, next month continued safe racing.




No Comments 01 August 2012

After five ACHA GP races the Steeler team and Bert have dominated the action with four wins in their GP-777 Henderson hydroplane. I usually don’t talk about my own team much in these newsletters but I have to give credit to our whole team for a job well done this year. From Bert’s driving to Mike Endres tuning our motors it’s been a total team effort this season. Our crew chief Jeff Richards and Joe Marley spend their entire week between races working on the Steeler and it sure shows! The rest of our crew consisting of Don, Doug, Gary, Sam, and Tom keep the Steeler running during the race weekends. Also, special thanks go out to Terry and Bobby back at our race shop in Cincinnati for building some awesome engines. Thanks go out to all our Steeler team because we wouldn’t be on top now without each and every one of your efforts. Now with that being said let’s talk about our three other topics for discussion this racing series.

Biggest Surprises!!!! I have to put the GP-104 at the top of the list for this one. Norm Shannon and Marc Lecompte have literally been driving their butts off in our first five races. In St. Felicien they proved their third place finish in Valleyfield was no fluke. Norm gave Bert all he wanted and I believe if Norm had the inside lane he could have beaten Bert as well as he was running. Claude has that boat haulin’ ass, period.

My second biggest surprise has to be Patrick Hayworth in his GP-57 “WHY”. We all knew the boat was fast but Patrick coming back after being off for a couple of years and starting a new team had everybody wondering what would happen this year. Well, the smartest two things Pat did were to hire “Serge” to do his motors and he bought all of Pierre’s engine parts. The results are several heat wins and a solid third place in our ACHA championship point’s race.

The third biggest surprise has to be the Mike Grendell’s GP-79 “Bad Influence”. Two weeks before our first race in Long Sault all Mike had was a cockpit and a tail section with both sponsons being cut completely off to make room for Bert’s new design sponsons. Thanks to Bert, Ralph, Marc Perrier, Joe Sovie, and his dad Cal, and a little bit of a miracle they all worked their butts off and got the boat ready for its first race of the season in Brockville. Since Joe had to be on restriction for several races and had to start on the outside – the boat finished all their heats and all our finals and if they hadn’t missed the first two races it could very well be sitting in fourth place in the points chase and I might add ahead a some of our bigger money teams.

My fourth surprise and my first biggest disappointment has to go out to Ghislain and Dan’s ABS-101. Coming into our 2012 race season they had the fastest GP from last year (the Crush) and with Dan’s drag racing team behind them everyone thought this would be the boat to beat. But, finishing only four out of twenty four heats and tenth in our point series the team has been struggling, mostly with major engine problems. Hopefully this team can get their act together for the last two races of the season!!!! The second disappointment is Dean Rojas’s GP-10 Charger. After winning the shorten race in Arizona in April a lot of race fans thought this could be one of the top running boats on our circuit, but due to several mechanical problems and a fire on board in Valleyfield (also due to these same mechanical issues) this boat has failed to live up to its preseason predictions. Hats off to Ken Brodie’s GP-50 team. Ken started off slow but has come on strong lately and should finish in the top three in our points chase if he keeps having solid finishes. Marc Theoret started off like a house a fire but he too has had his problems. This team better get their act together if they hope to overtake Bert for the series Championship. Marty Wolfe started off the season in great shape and even got a strong second in the final at Valleyfield but he decided to leave our series to race the APBA Worlds in Michigan and not follow our group to St.Felician racing on the same weekend and consequently dropped to sixth place in the ACHA point’s chase. Speaking of that Michigan race it was nice to see Jerry Hopp coming all the way from Seattle, Washington to attend but two boats had problems and couldn’t make the start so no one was awarded the World championship. They did tell me though Mike Monahan (driving Marty’s boat) and Jerry put on a great show for the fans with Mike taking the win.

Now for the big controversy! If you haven’t heard a couple of teams have stretched the blower rules and come up with what we all call a “Super Blower” Our GP tech rules call for a “standard 8/71 blower” period. These new super blowers have the case and rotors modified so the case is two inches more towards the back of the engine than the standard blowers we’ve been using these past five years. Doing this requires you to use an offset mag assembly to make everything fit, clearly not what the rule was intended, and to make matters worse if you wanted to buy this custom blower and offset mag they tell me it would cost well over ten thousand dollars or about 30% what a complete blown engine costs. In St.Felician we had an owners and drivers meeting and agreed to let these teams that spent over 10 grand to run their deal for the next two races but everyone else agreed to outlaw these blowers come convention time. Talking to Eric at the Blower Shop and Lee at Littlefield’s they both agree given the right combination this could amount to over 200 horsepower in our engines. Obviously when ACHA wrote our engine rule they never intended this blower rule to be interrupted this way. Stay tuned to my next Newsletter cause I’ve got some other good gossip coming. Continued safe racing!!!!!




No Comments 11 June 2012

It sure seems like Marc Theoret has figured out the one mile course at Long Sault. After a slow start in his heat races, Marc got it all together in the final for his second win in the past two years. This was the first year where 12 GP boats showed up to do battle in ACHA’s first race of the season. Early season favorites Ghislain Marcoux and Bert Henderson had their problems. Both ran out of fuel in their first heats and Ghislain broke a blower belt in his second heat keeping him from qualifying for the final. Bert did make the final and finished third behind Marc and George Kennedy who finished second.  Jimmy Shane finished fourth while Marty Wolfe lead the final until he blew up his gearbox half way through the final heat. It sure seemed like old times in Saturday’s heats as 7 out of 12 starters had problems. By Sunday everyone had their acts together and were running great and the final was very exciting as 7 out of eight boats finished the race.

Daniel Mercier, Bert Henderson, and Patrick Haworth showed up with awesome paint schemes on their boats. The kids had a ball with Bert’s shark face and machine guns painted on the nose of Huey’s new “STEELER” machine. Besides the weather, the weekend turned out to be a great test session for our GP fleet of 12 boats getting ready to do battle for the 2012 ACHA world championship points season. Forgot to mention Ken Brodie also showed up with a cool new paint job but blower problems all weekend kept him out of the finals. After all the smoked died down, it looks like we’ll have another great competitive GP race season. It’s way too early to pick any one boat as a season favorite. Time will tell but this is ACHA’s first season where all the boats left Long Sault in one piece and except for a few minor problems everyone will be a go for our next race this coming weekend in Syracuse.

Until then continued save racing,



Only 35 more days til the five minute gun sounds off in Long Sault!

No Comments 30 April 2012

Wow! Talk about anticipation!!!! This will no doubt be the most competitive GP race season in ACHA’s seven year history and I predict the best racing in Valleyfield’s GP history. One that no one will want to miss. Look at all of our new ” Young Guns” wanting to be the TOP DOG this year and then look at our steady veterans and it will all boil down to the survival of the fittest. In the past years there’s always been three to four top running GP boats, but this year anyone of the fleet can win (pardon my pun) on any given Sunday.

Last year Tom Pakradooni ended the year as the man to beat but this year you can take your pick! Patrick’s coming back driving Pierre’s World Champion Henderson hull, Ghislain will be piloting Bert’s ex-crush  (many will argue the fastest boat last year on the circuit), Bert will be back driving Huey’s brand new ” STEELER”, Ken Brodie has reworked his sponsons to keep up with the new boat design, Marc Theoret will be sporting a new blower motor, Mike or Marty coming off Marty’s second place finish in the World Championships in New Zealand, and Jimmy Shane coming off his big win out west this month in Arizona which all adds up to anyone’s game. And don’t rule out Eric Langevin, Marc Lecompte, Norman Shannon and our newest rookie, Joe Sovie, plus Brandon Kennedy will finally be off restriction.

Talk about competition, our race fans won’t want to miss any of this action, believe me. I’m sure most of you have heard about the Lake Havasu GP race this past Easter Weekend where most of the boats got tore up the first lap of the GP final on Sunday. With only two boats able to run, the final was cancelled and Jimmy Shane was declared the winner due to his first place win in an earlier heat race. After Jimmy’s win out west in his GP-10 Charger, it will be fun to see if he can dominate in our ACHA series races back east. His GP boat was easily the fastest boat around the 3/4 mile racecourse in Arizona.   The latest update on Mike Grendell’s GP-45 has the boat going to Bert’s shop and getting a complete overhaul including the new “2010″ updated and redesigned sponsons, which will make it another new style boat to beat, although Joe Sovie will be on restriction for several heats as well as Ghislain Marcoux. By the time Valleyfield rolls around everyone should be off restriction then look out people the “Young Guns” will be coming at you.

Well that’s all the news for now; hope to see everyone in Long Sault June 2nd and 3rd. Take care and continued safe racing.


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ACHA GP Points Standing 2013


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