They say if you don’t like the weather in Maine, you just need to wait a minute…
That old saying couldn’t be more dead on than this weekend. Friday Testing and a full J school went off well with a little wind, but the forecast for weekend racing looked poor. Early in the week local Meteorologists said to expect some rain early Sat, then clearing for the rest of the weekend, by Weds. they were saying rain all day Sat. and by Thurs the forecast was for rain all weekend with the outlook for Sat described as “driving” rain. (Meteorologist = the only profession where you can be right less then 50% of the time and still have your job). But The boat racing gods smiled on Standish this weekend; although the rain “drove” hard all night; Wally and Manny woke up in their truck in the middle of a pond and had to call in the Santa Maria to save Wally’s dog, Wayne Latter awoke and thinking he was still in Canada was just happy that it wasn’t still snowing and racers up and down the beach wringed out clothes and moved campsites by noon the early week forecast proved the most accurate and the sun showed through for an absolutely beautiful day for racing on Watchic Lake. The Kiwanis Club showed in full force and began grilling concessions, the Standish Memorial Post 128 set up out military and fire demonstrations out front to celebrate Armed Forces Day and we had a wonderful day in progress.
In terms of entries, it was a little lighter than I would have expected for a Divisional Championship but boat counts were good. Over the weekend discussions of the whereabouts of some of the missing revealed normal “life” stuff like graduations and wedding had contributed as much to the attrition as the weather, economy and long winter and most of the missing were still in contact and could be expected at future races. Our ever growing group of friends from Nova Scotia and Quebec made the trip once again this year and the weekend also featured the much anticipated return of the Green Mountain Boys after their 3 year racing hiatus due to this damn economy … A welcome site indeed. There were full 8 boat fields, qualifying drivers for Divisional points in C hydro & C runabout (possibly 25ssR as well), 6 AXH, AXR, ASR & JH, 5 20ssh, 4 DSH, 25ssH, 850ccmR & 850ccmH. Certainly not the best showing for a region 1 race, especially in C, 20 & 25 hydro but I dare say, not the worst either. The program went off quickly and smoothly and while many Northeast drivers were working out the winter kinks, especially in terms of their timing on starts, there was some great racing in all classes.
Three drivers entered the running for the coveted annual SSOA saddle award by taking a swim. Probably the most frightening was Scott Clark. As he was making a hot run on the clock in his DSH prior to the race start, just as he passed the clock, he was letting off the power and moving up in the boat and the hydro kissed off a roller, caught the fin and nearly stuffed right in front of the pits. The boat took a lot of damage and Scott was initially worried what kind of damage his body had taken as it went through parts of the boat but while I’m sure he’s felt it Sunday morning he was fine. J school instructor Bruce Nichols went the extra mile in demonstrating some of the more advanced curriculum to the kids during the first heat of ASR. Entering the first turn Nichols’ runabout began to ride the rooster tail of a boat in front and knowing that this might be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the students 😉 a proper in the water safe check, signal and the proper way to get towed in he decided right then and there it was a sacrifice he needed to make for his students, he rode the rooster right over and demonstrated the art of getting towed in perfectly, even with a wave to the fans as the tow boat paraded him by the pits. Possibly a nomination for the Saddle and Teacher of the year are both in store ;-). The third entrant for the Saddle was Michael Rourke who drove all the way down from Canada and during what may have been the wildest first lap of CSR boat racing has ever seen he executed a nearly perfect imitation of Scott Reed’s backstretch blow-over from a few years ago which was featured on this site with with many accolades a month or so ago. The good news; all drivers were OK, only plywood was broken and only egos were bruised … well maybe there was some bruising, but that will pass.
…and after the racing Saturday night the Kiwanis overfilled our plates and the conversations began. As promised they continued late into the night where Manny Diaz, enlightened by Bruce’s earlier dedication to his students, took it upon himself to teach a full curriculum of classes all the way from intro to camp fires to advanced large-multiple material fires to an eager third generation future racer and Manny even took the time to sprinkle in some Rhode Island / Portuguese history to the lad.
… It was a truly wonderful weekend of racing that reminded me a lot of old times in Region 1.
Stay tuned – results and pictures to come