#tbt – Driver Profile: Mike Akerstrom, Region 1 – From iboatrace.com 2014

Videos, Pictures and accolades for Region 1 Young Gun; Mike Akerstrom.

MAkerstromAs an Engineering student at The University of Massachusetts, a member of the rowing team, a competitive swimmer, an eagle scout, boat racer and member of The U.S. A-Team, South Shore Outboard Driver Mike Akerstrom doesn’t slow down very often.  Visit a race in the Northeast and you will see that competitive drive in full force during race weekend; whether it be in his 8-B CSH / OSY400 hydro or in literally any other boat that anyone will let him drive in any class.  On a given weekend expect Mike to be running the most classes of any driver on the beach often finding himself jumping from one boat to another in back to back heats and driving every one of them as hard as they’ll take and racing to win.  We hope to see Mike open his 2014 season in Standish Maine, May 17 & 18 at the Northeast Divisional Championships, that is as long as it doesn’t interfere with finals of course.

Here’s a little more about Mike:

mike akerstrom 2Mike is a 2nd generation driver who started racing along with his father in 2006, but Mike’s father and grandfather both have roots in 1950’s era Mercury racing motors and hydroplane hulls. Mike races both hydroplane and runabout hulls in the Stock, Modified, and PRO categories. He was the 2007 SSOA and Region One Rookie of the Year, a one-time recipient of the coveted SSOA Saddle Award, and has consistently had podium finishes in both high points and racing in the OSY-400, CSH, and 20SSH classes.  Mike has raced an impressive array of classes including JH, JR, AXH, AXR, ASH, ASR, BSH, 20ssh, CSH, 25SSH, OSY-400, DSH, and 750ccMR, but currently races CSH, 20ssh, and OSY-400. Mike is currently studying plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell

Ride along with Mike in the always competitive Region 1 / CSH class from N.H. in 2012

And for a different perspective check out this OSY400 run, also from N.H. in 2012

In regards to the U.S. A-Team, lets see what Mike has to say, himself.

Either by video:

…Or in writing; Here is his personal account of last year’s trip featured on the U.S. A-Team Site:

Eagle Scout Mike Akerstrom Represents his Country at the 2013 World Championships in Barcis Italy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Written by Mike Akerstrom

My U.S.-A team experience started at a South Shore Outboard Association club meeting in September of 2012.  Before the meeting started, U.S.-A Team Captain Billy Allen turned to me and asked if I would like to accompany him to Italy the following year for the worlds in OSY 400 as the A-team crew chief. I don’t remember having to think about it, because I’m almost certain my answer was an almost immediate and very enthusiastic “yes.” My normally calm and cool composure melted into smiles and excitement.

The weekend before the 2013 worlds, the A-team converged at a stock race in Milton, NH. I arrived on Saturday morning and immediately got to work rigging my C hydro. I had no plans to race that day, but we had a lot of testing to do before racing started. Three of the six A-Team members were present at the race; Todd Anderson, Alex Poliakoff, and myself had never even seen a European style dock start before, and the following weekend we would have to be dock start experts at the World Championships in Barcis, Italy. We were allowed by the race committee to test for two hours before racing started. Once the dock was in position, we got the boat in the water and began making rips. Under the careful instruction of the team captain, Alex and I gained the roping skills of two European Professionals. After a grueling two hour test session, all three greenhorn A-team members felt confident that they could handle the World Championships.

The following day I made my way to Logan International Airport to board a plane bound for Milan, Italy. Among the passengers aboard the plane were U.S.-A Team Captain Billy Allen, Executive Administrator Rachel Warnock, superstar driver Todd Anderson, Roper Alex Poliakoff, Myself, and A-team veteran Racer Allen. Before we boarded the plane we conducted a few interviews with everyone on the team to get an idea of how everyone was feeling, what we were excited about, and our attitudes about the race. It was a long 9 hours to Dublin and another 3 to Milan, and I swear that every time a light went out on the plane, Alex’s roping hand would instinctively twitch backward about six inches. We were rearing to go.

We arrived in Milan in time to meet up with the rest of the team, Heather Knox, Dudley Smith, and David Recht whom had all landed within fifteen minutes of the Boston group thanks to Rachel’s well planned flight scheduling.

On Monday around 4 PM local time, a camper and a compact car both filled with A-team members rolled into Barcis, Italy. Everyone was absolutely fascinated by the water in the lake, which due to the local “Rock Flour,” was a stunning shade of blue-green.  We spent the rest of the day exploring the beautiful town. Over the next few days the team took trips to Venice and up into the Dolomites. If for nothing else, they were excellent bonding experiences for the team; afterwards I could honestly say that every member of the A-team was a friend of mine.

    The container arrived on Wednesday with the team boats and gear inside.  The team members descended on the container like vultures that had been hovering for days, and created a pit space from its’ contents.

Scrutineering was on Friday night, Team Captain Billy passed inspection with flying colors while Todd had a bit of trouble because the scrutineers weren’t completely convinced that the rope being used in his steering system was cut-proof. Not wanting to make any trouble or be disqualified, Todd and his crack team of mechanics changed his steering rope out for sturdier coated steering cable which the scrutineers approved.

After qualifying on Saturday morning the grim reality that we were not completely prepared for high-altitude racing had set in. Team captain Bill had qualified seventh and Todd had qualified thirteenth of fourteen boats. Though battered by the reality that we were not prepared for the altitude, we pressed on anyway. The first heat of racing took place on Saturday afternoon.

Before the first heat, the feeling on the jetty was tense. Personally, I was completely freaking out on the inside, but I managed to keep my usual calm and cool composure. For the first time since arriving in Italy, I was contemplating “what if” scenarios, like “What if I’m late to start the engine?” or “What if the engine bites?” The second the two minute warning came onto the starting clock and every thought I had been having before the race completely disappeared. It was GO time. Dudley and I warmed the motor, removed the prop guard, and gently slid the boat into the water. At the one minute we were completely ready to go. Once the thirty came onto the starting clock I positioned myself, straight back and as low as I could get myself so that I would pull the rope parallel to the jetty. The red lights came on and seemed to stay on for hours; I’m told it was only actually fifteen seconds, I don’t know if I believe that. The red lights went out and without thinking I reacted by pulling the rope as hard as I could, starting Billy in the front of the pack. Instead of watching the first heat, I stood there on the jetty in awe of the fact that I had done it, I had gotten Bill off the dock just like we had planned. I shook Dudley’s hand and we headed back to the pits.

Every heat on Sunday went similarly, with less freaking out each time. Bill and Todd both got off the dock even with the best OSY 400’s in the world every single heat. Any doubt that I had about myself, Alex, Heather, and Dudley’s abilities on the dock had disappeared.  We were, and still are, a world class pit crew- professional looking too. The racing this year didn’t exactly go our way, but our jetty game has been stepped up a few levels and the whole team is already preparing to go faster in Poland next year.

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