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!!!!!