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What many fans will say was probably the most awesome, exciting, and competitive GP final in their 50 plus years history. Thousands of spectators and race fans left the overhead causeway and shoreline shaking their heads as they had just witnessed an amazing GP final race to end the weekend’s racing. Marc Théoret (GP-444) got off to an early lead on the inside and after one lap extended it to about a long straightaway over Brandon (GP-25), Tom (GP-88) and Kenny (GP-50). Ghislain (GP-101) a trailer on the inside and Bert (GP-777) a trailer on the outside had to start 5 seconds behind the front line of 4 starters. Lap after lap Bert wheeled in Ken, Tom, and finally Brandon with 2 laps remaining. Now everyone started to cheer. Could he catch Marc? Bobby Kennedy (Marc’s radioman) kept shouting to Marc “Bert’s coming, Bert’s coming!” Jeff Richards (Bert’s radioman) kept shouting to Bert “Dig! Dig! You’re getting closer.” One lap to go, Bert caught Marc on the last corner and beat him to the checkered flag by 4 feet. What a great job by Bert’s Steeler team as his new boat hit the water for the very first time that morning. What a start and finish to ACHA’s 2014 GP Championship series. For all you Facebook fans there are several pictures on FB of the finish between these two great drivers.
Being the first race of the year it seemed several of our GP guys experienced some little gremlins in their boats. Some big, some small. Marty Wolfe’s (GP-93) rudder shook so bad it cut his hands and almost broke one of his thumbs. Mike Monahan (GP-79) and Eric Langevin (GP-12) had engine problems throughout the weekend. Martin (GP-77) had stupid stuff happening to his Coppertone boat and couldn’t make the final. Mathieu Daoust (GP-9) got his first ever GP ride and did quite well with the added speed and horsepower of a GP boat compared to his H-350 from last year. Even though Mathieu didn’t make the final he was all smiles standing with Jessica and their new beautiful baby daughter in tow. Even though high winds caused testing and Saturday’s racing to be cancelled, Sunday’s full slate of all the classes was really great with lots of first class racing. Hats off to the Stuart race committee who really put on a first class event. 6000 hits where monitored on the live feed for Sunday.
Our ACHA”s leaders ( Michel Poirier, Ben Lemay, and Stephan Broissoit) were on hand this year and couldn’t get over how well everything was run. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this event will be an ACHA event next year. Stuart already is the second biggest inboard race in the states and everyone wants it to be the biggest in 2015.
Now on to our first Canadian race in Long Sault, Ontario next month where the action will be, as usual, hot and heavy with over 75 boats pre-entered yours truly can’t wait to see the H-350s run. Talk about competition, you race fans don’t want to miss this bunch.
Continued safe racing,
(Cover shot by Marty Brault)
Here is a look at the 2014 ACHA GP fleet. At the first race in Stuart some teams showed they are ready. The new GP-777 showed a lot of speed, GP-444 and GP-101 were very strong. GP-88, GP-50 and GP-25 proved they need to be taken seriously and Mathieu Daoust in GP-9 made an impressive debut.
Time to make your bets for the season!”
|Patrick Haworth||The 2013 champion will be driving a brand new boat built by Jamie Auld. Patrick will miss Stuart but his reliability should bring him back in the championship race sooner or later.|
|Marc Théoret||Second in the 2013 championship, Marc will want to show he can be a champion.|
|Marty Wolfe||New sponsons should prevent from missing heats because of frequent hull damage.|
|Brandon Kennedy||With some improvement done to the hull by Scott Kropfeld and last years performance, Brandon will be one to watch.|
|Ghislain Marcoux||Probably the fastest of the field, Ghislain will be almost unbeatable if everything holds together.|
|Ken Brodie||With new sponsons and a little more reliability Ken will be a strong contender.|
|Mike Monahan||Monahan's experience will be a great value to this team.|
|Bert Henderson||After a tough season and with a new hull, the Steeler team will have high expectations.|
|Tom Pakradooni||Second year with the latest Bergeron hull, Tom will want to show what he can do.|
|Éric Langevin||Can be real fast but Eric needs to find the trick to keep everything together and finish more heats.|
|Martin Rochon||After their first year in GP, this team could bring some surprises this year.|
|Mathieu Daoust||Rookie year for this young driver.|
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