Andrew Tate, who won this year's race in Guntersville, AL, won again. Driving the U-9 Les Schwab Tires, was never threatened in the winner-take-all final of the HAPO Columbia Cup in Tri-Cities, Washington.
His victory was his first on the Columbia River 2-1/2 mile course.
At the beginning of the race, he was briefly challenged by Brian Perkins in the U-21 PayneWest Insurance, however, Perkins hit a buoy, resulting in a one minute penalty. That dropped Perkins back to fourth place overall. Cal Phipps, driving the U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, owned by Charlie Wiggins of Gadsden, AL, finished second. The WIggins boat ran as the U-27 in Guntersville, but was repainted with the green, red, and white of the Oberto company (a longtime hydroplane race supporter) and re-named the U-1918 in honor of the company's 100 years in business.
J. Michael Kelly in the U-12 Graham Trucking, who overcame a weekend of issues, placed third.
“When I came out of turn two near the blue bridge, I let out a sigh of relief,” Tate said. “We kind of watched what all the drivers were doing this weekend and we were taking notes.”
“I couldn’t be happier for Les Schwab Tires, Lori and Mike Jones, and the entire team,” said the 28-year old driver Tate. “The team worked their butts off. They stayed late Saturday night and were back in the pits at 5:00 a.m.”
Jimmy Shane, the second place finisher in Guntersville and the fastest qualifier at this weekend's race stop, was in the hunt and crossed the finished line second on the water. However, H1 Unlimited hydroplane officials determined he encroached on Tom Thompson in the U-11 J&D’s, causing him to lose power. "(The action had the result of) affecting the outcome of the race,” said Doug Shelton, chief referee. Despite crossing the finish line second, Shane and the U-1 team from Madison, Indiana was disqualified from the final.
Thompson, later restarted and finished fifth, and Dustin Echols in the U-440 Bucket List Racing finished sixth.
“All five boats were going up the back stretch tight,” Shane said. "I saw the U-9 moving back and forth in lane two and three, and I needed to make a move before I got boxed in. It was 100%my fault. I feel terrible that I affected the outcome of U-11. I never wanted to do that. I truly apologize.”
The win for Tate increases his H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series national points lead over Shane by 1,920. Thompson now takes over second in the standings, but is also far behind Tate by 1,173.
The H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series now moves to Seattle, for the Albert Lee Appliance Cup next weekend on August 3-5.
2018 HAPO Columbia Cup Final Results
1) U-9 Les Schwab Tires, Andrew Tate, 145.385 mph avg.
2) U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, Cal Phipps, 137.610 mph avg.
3) U-12 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 128.455 mph avg.
4) U-21 PayneWest Insurance, Brian Perkins, 116.775 mph avg.
5) U-11 J&D’s, Tom Thompson, 116.230 mph avg.
6) U-440 Bucket List Racing, Dustin Echols, 104.808 mph avg.
DSQ U-1 Homestreet Bank, Jimmy Shane
H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series National High Points
1) Andrew Tate, U-9 Les Schwab Tires, 5,280 points
2) Tom Thompson, U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool presents J& D’s, 3,507 points
3) Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 3,360 points
4) Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 2,221 points
5) Brian Perkins, U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 2,213 point
6) Cal Phipps, U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 2,135 points
7) J. Michael Kelly, U-12 Graham Trucking, 895 points
8) Aaron Salmon, U-99.9 Miss Rock, 225 points
9) Jimmy King, U-3 Ace Hardware, 146 points
Additional information from H1 Unlimited
- Gadsden Hydroplane finishes 2nd in Columbia Cup racing
- Gadsden, AL Hydroplane Flips in Seattle Race (Watch Video)
- Hydroplane racing returns to Guntersville in 2019
- Gadsden man charged with Thursday night murder
- World-Record Speeds Possible in Guntersville Hydroplane Races
- Hydroplanes set to race in Guntersville this weekend
- Hydroplane racing returns to Guntersville this weekend rain or shine
- Gadsden man charged with rape at Boaz tattoo shop
- Gadsden man in custody for child sex abuse charges
- Shirley paves a new path as HydroPlane racing's first female crew chief