The 2014 Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup was full of the roar of the thunderboats, huge roostertails, excitement and drama as the H1 Unlimited hydroplane tour came to Seafair Weekend Festival on Lake Washington. This race is one of the most highly anticipated events of the weekend by attendees and hydroplane drivers alike, as all wait in anticipation to see who will take home the coveted Seafair Cup.
Sunday got off to a dramatic start at the 2014 Albert Lee Appliance Cup and when the roostertails settled on Lake Washington five hours later, there was more drama and a finish that sent H1 race officials to the video review booth.
J. Michael Kelly led all five laps of the Championship Final Heat in the 1 Graham Trucking with Jon Zimmerman second in the 9 Les Schwab Tires/TeamRedDot and Jimmy Shane third in the 6 Oberto, finishing with a broken front wing.
Then word spread of a possible one minute penalty on Kelly for encroaching on Shanes’s lane - a penalty that would have cost Kelly the victory.
After further review – Kelly was ruled to have had a legal overlap on Shane at the point of the possible call and the driver from Bonney Lake, Washington and the Graham Trucking team hoisted the Seafair trophy with Zimmerman second and Shane third.
Kelly said he had a problem with his front wing and was trying to keep the boat on the water while running a wide race course in an attempt to keep Shane and Zimmerman behind him.
“I knew I had to have the inside and make a good start,” said Kelly. “After that I just did what I had to do to win the race. When you’re out front you make your boat as wide as possible. That’s boat racing.”
Both Shane and Zimmerman commented on the wide path taken by Kelly, which worked to Zimmerman’s advantage. With the leaders running outside, Zimmerman was able to move up the inside to overtake Shane.
When Kelly and Shane met at the awards stage, Shane extended his hand and said one word, “Congratulations.”
The initial running of Heat 2A, the first racing on the Sunday schedule, lasted only a quarter of a lap. Kip Brown in the 96 Spirit of Qatar got caught between roostertails in the first turn and rode the skidfin wake of Zimmerman’s boat up and over. Brown freed himself from the overturned boat and was not injured. The hull was not damaged but crew chief Mike Hanson said the team would have to build some parts before the race in San Diego in September.
The rerun was a deck to deck battle between Zimmerman and Kelly, with Kelly taking the win by inches at the finish.
Heat 2B was all Shane as he drove the Oberto away from Cal Phipps in the 7 Graham Trucking. Phipps finished second with Greg Hopp third in the 12 Miss DiJulio.
Tom Thompson needed a strong finish in Heat 3A in the gbr11 West Coast Collision Center/Peters and May to put his team in the final and Thompson delivered. In the middle of the field at the start, Thompson timed his start perfectly and was the leader out of the first turn. Jon Zimmerman got around everyone to take the win with Thompson second and Phipps third.
Shane and Kelly went into Heat 3B with spots in the final virtually assured but still waged a spirited battle for the inside lane. Shane won that contest and the heat and both set up for the final. Mike Webster was third in the 22 Boitano Homes/Performance Tool.
That set up the final where Kelly, Shane and Zimmerman were joined by Thompson, Phipps and Bernard. Bernard finished fourth and Phipps was fifth.
Next stop on the H1 Unlimite Hydroplane tour will be Bayfair on San Diego’s Mission Bay September 12 – 14.
Final Order of Finish
1: U-1 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly
2: U-9 Les Schwab Tires-Team RedDOT, Jon Zimmerman
3: U-6 Oberto, Jimmy Shane
4: U-21 Fox Plumbing & Heating, Jeff Bernard
5: U-7 Graham Trucking II, Cal Phipps
6: U-22 Boitano Homes presents Performance Tool, Mike Webster
7: U-11 Peters & May, Tom Thompson
The Albert Lee Appliance Seafair Cup will take place in 2015 Friday, July 31 - Sunday, August 2.
About Albert Lee Appliance
In 1939, Albert Lee opened Albert Lee Furniture, a quality custom furniture store. After the war and a 2nd story refrigerator delivery fiasco for a friend, Albert Lee Furniture became Albert Lee Furniture and Appliances. 73 years later, Albert Lee Appliance, a three-generation, family-owned business continues to grow and serve the Pacific Northwest communities with top quality sales, service and installation for all your appliance needs with the largest selection of appliances in Washington State. Stop by one of five Albert Lee Appliance locations in Seattle, Southcenter, Lynnwood, Bellevue and now open in Tacoma. Albert Lee Appliance, more than just high-end.
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