Well the weekend is over and after a short 24 hr drive home, here I sit at the computer to try to recap an utterly amazing weekend of racing. I can honestly say that in the 30 years I have been around Stock Outboard Racing I can only think of a handful of other race sites that can rival Jesup for the perfect place to hold a race. Lake Lindsey Grace was tucked in behind beautiful onion fields off a back road in rural Georgia. The lake was the absolute perfect size and shape to run a race. For the most part the site was well protected from wind with a few gusts picking up on Sunday and running straight down the front stretch. The pit site had everything a group of boat racers could ask for; picnic tables, toilets, a pavilion and a large grassy area for camping either in your tent or RV. The weather was beautiful, the locals were typical gracious southern hosts, spectators roamed the beach and loved the racing. On the grass and along the road circling the lake spectators set up barbecue parties and watched some extremely competitive racing. The names and faces in the pits read like a who’s who of racing present and past from the entire eastern seaboard and mid-west. Old friends greeted each other on the beach, caught up on life events and goings on over the off season and knocked off the rust and hit the race course. The Peace River Outboard Racing Association ran an efficient program and pulled off a fabulous Stock and Modified Winter-Nationals along with an additional day of racing as well.
Now before I go any further I would like to give a “shout out” to the Mod Division drivers competing in Jesup. While I have chosen to concentrate strictly on Stock Outboard for this blog, at least for the time being, the mod division also had an excellent showing in Jesup. Full fields of highly competitive boats in most classes. Some of the best sounding and fastest Mod boats I have seen since I was a kid. Nice job guys and gals and congratulations to all Mod Division Winter-National Champs in the Mod Division.
In terms of Stock classes, there were full fields of boats and highly competitive racing across all classes but in my personal opinion the two standouts of the weekend came from two classes featuring the newer motor manufacturers and multiple motor options. In my opinion the racing in ASR and DSH stood out above all others and had people commenting on the beach afterwards on how those new motors and old competed.
ASR featured a field of 8 boats and if my tally is correct it consisted of 3 sidewinders, 4 OMC’s and 1 Mercury. The field pushed starts but were legal in both heats and stayed well grouped together throughout the race with passing and passing back happening throughout the field. As the cream rose to the top for each manufacturer it was Billy Simmons in the 1-J for sidewinder, Manny Diaz in the 2-US for OMC and Colin Smith in the 199-M adding his Mercury to the mix. You could have thrown a blanket over these three as they competed in the first heat with Simmons eventually pulling off the win. In the second Diaz nailed the start and jumped the OMC entry out front and could not be caught while Smith and Simmons battled for second. For everyone looking for a level competitive playing field, the Winter-National proved to me that this has been achieved with three different motor options in the ASR class. It was a blast watching the different boat and motor configurations compete so closely and added to the excitement to see which manufacturer would come out on top. Congratulations to Billy Simmons; 2014 ASR Winter-National Champion, powered by sidewinder.
The other multi-motor class that had people on the beach talking was DSH. As the mighty D’s lined up Larry Gottschalk and Brent Walbrun represented the Mercury camp and Tahatsu was represented by two identically prepared Richmond Aero Marine, RAM50’s on O’connor crafts. The Mad Russian himself, Alex Poliakoff in one and Austin Vanover piloting the second; his first time ever in the boat. In the first heat it was Poliakoff up the inside then Walbrun, Gottschalk and Vanover on the far outside. They arrived at the first turn together and Vanover wrestled the boat around the outside and came out in a battle for the lead with Walbrun that lasted all three laps with Poliakoff nipping at their heals. At the checkered Vanover overtook Walbrun for the heat one win and was all smiles as he approached the beach. Between heats Vanover remarked on the “Russian hydraulic power steering” and how it took a little getting used to (in the first turn) and Poliakoff reassured him he should drive the damn boat for the win and not to have any reservations for beating the team captain.The second heat lined up very similar to the first and it was Vanover around the outside and out to the lead and the win. Congratulations to Austin Vanover; 2014 DSH Winter-Nationals Champion, Richmond Aero Marine’s weekend rent-a-driver, powered by Tohatsu.
JSH / JSR
The J’s didn’t run until Saturday so the kids could race without missing school.
JSR was won by Fisher Dyle followed by Carson Fabbro and Emily Hutchinson
JSH was won by Carson Fabbro followed by Fisher Dyle and Sam Tennell looked great in his first time racing a J
AXH / AXR
AXR was won by Colin Smith followed by Becky Nichols, Carson Fabbro, Kelsey Bennett and Emily Hutchinson
Sidewinder was the class of the field in ASH as Abby Pond came in with the win with Colin Smith and Callie Shensky close in chase, both also running sidewinders followed by Manny Diaz, Jack Cavanaugh and Justin Pinner with their OMCs.
BSR was not run
20ssh had a full field of competitive boats and some exciting racing. Dana Holt ran strong in both heats and could not be caught putting his Yamato into the winners circle and picking up the Winter-Nationals Championship. He was followed by Robert Lisus, Joey Pinner, Braxton Miller, Bobby Howe, Tom Fernandez and Justin Pinner. Charlie Pater and Ryan Runne did not finish.
25ssR saw the Mercs battle the Yamatos and it was the Mercurys that came out on top. Tom Nuccio had the field covered and came home the champion with his closest competition coming from Mike Affholter also running a 25XS, third went to Greg Fabbro followed by Tim Weber, Butch Ott and Joe Pater who may have been able to contend running his Yamato but got in a slight altercation in the upper turn.
CSH was the largest class of the weekend with 15 boats and two elimination heats. The first heat of the first elim. went off without incident with Dana Holt and Joe Pater jumping out front and the other boats jockeying for position behind them. Elim 2 heat one saw Mel Thomas get tossed out of his new Altralight rig right in front of the pits going to the first turn, he was OK but the impact with the water did knock off his boots and glasses, never to be seen again. Heat 2 for elim. 1 saw nearly synchronized flips in the upper turn as a “hole” in Lake Lindsey Grace swallowed them both almost in slow motion, first one then the other. The finals were sorted out, mostly through attrition and there were a lot of jumpers in the first heat and tight close racing in both. When the spray cleared it was Dana Holt crowned as the Winter-National Champion and well deserved as he was certainly the class of the field throughout his heats. Second was Charlie Pater, followed by Joe Pater, Tom Johnson, Andrew Tate, Braxton Miller, Bob Howe, Jessie Ruehling, Jesse Swain, Dan Parker, Joey Pinner and Tom Daniels.
CSR had a full field with drivers pushing the starts and trying for every advantage they could. There were gun jumpers in both heats and when it sorted out Jessie Swain came home the winner followed by Butch Ott, RC Hawie, Greg Fabbro, Tim Weber, Chris Fabbro, Jimmy Warren, JT Bried and Howie Nichols
302ssh was won by Jeff Brewster followed by Robert Lisus, Tom Johnston and Dave Deck
Thank You Jesup, GA and everyone involved in putting this Race together!
I cannot reiterate enough what a wonderful weekend this was!!!