The U-1918 Oberto hydroplane, owned by Wiggins Racing from Gadsden, AL, was having a good weekend at the H1 Unlimited hydroplane races in Seattle. Driver Cal Phipps won an early heat and made it into the winner-take-all finals at Seafair.
That’s when things took a turn for the worse. Phipps was trying to hold lane one and ran through the roostertail of one of the other hydroplane coming around a corner. He went high in the sky and flipped before coming back to crash into the water. Phipps appeared to be OK. Here are two views, first from the shoreline...
... and then from the onboard camera. You can see the U-1918 Oberto come around the course. He has lane 1, closest to the buou, but it appears the lane narrows as other boats squeeze it in tight. The driver is unable to avoid the huge wall of water, called a roostertail, from boats slightly ahead. The combination of the water, the waves, and the lift, cause the baot to go airborne, flip around, and then land on the water. When a crash occurs, officials put a black flag on the course and all the boats shut down.
After the crash, the boats head back to the pits to be refueled before the race starts up again. In the end, Andrew Tate in the U-9 was declared the winner after Jimmy Shane in the U-1 was flagged for a penalty.
H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing
- Andrew Tate U-9 Les Schwab
- J. Michael Kelly U-12 Graham Trucking
- Brian Perkins U-21 PayneWest Insurance
- Aaron Salmon U-99.9 Miss Rock
- Jimmy Shane U-1 HomeStreet Bank (1 minute penalty for failing to maintain 80 mph prior to race)
Here is video of the restarted final race.