Hoopa May 8th and 9th, 2010

All of the below photographs are copyrightes and by the courtesy of Mark Sharley. Thanks Mark!!!


The race was run earlier this year than normal. It was timed to coincide with the traditional Hydro race on Motherís Day weekend. Snow melt combined with a planned release from Claire Engle had brought the Trinity up to 13500 CFS on Friday the 7th, testing day. We have raced there with the flows it in that area, and it makes for big gradual corners and green rollers here and there.


The riffle under the bridge offers two lines at this level, far to the right and center left, both referenced to going upstream. Far right has a few bumps on the approach; center left has a larger bump right under the bridge. The riffles above the bridge are smoother, in places, the corners bigger and more gradual. The first corner and riffle below the bridge is bigger, but has green rollers in it out towards the middle of the river.


Down below the rodeo grounds, the river is just bumpy as hell at these levels. A good comparison would be Ĺ of the Confluence riffle in Riggins except about a mile long. I spent a fair amount of time (for me) down there picking out a good set of lines, but then we didnít go that far after all. We started and finished at the rodeo grounds. This shortened the run to just about 6.8 miles. For my part, it seemed like it was over too quick each time. On the realistic side, my boat rattled apart so bad even with the short runs that if we had run the lower part also I doubt I would have been able to finish Saturday.  As it was, Saturday was all I got.


Six Canadian teams from Peace River, Alberta towed all the way down here to race us. 339, 204, 176, 66, 0.07 and 69 made the long haul. Thatís an Unlimited boat, an A-boat, a B-boat and three SBFX boats. We owe them a trip up there for that, and a big thank you. Good guys (and gals) and good racerís every one of them. Itís kind of odd and I donít know if it really means anything, but half of the teams showed with their dads navigating for a race on Motherís DayÖ


Ryan Ringer brought his awesome turbine powered Unlimited boat, #333 Burning Desire over to race. You have to see this boat run sometime. The acceleration is amazing and the speed is surreal. The sound is not to be missed either! It is powered by a T-58, but I donít know which one. Itís a former helicopter engine that might have powered an HH-3 or Boeing Vertol (CH-47). The engine weighs about 325 pounds and puts out over 1200 shp at 6000 rpm. It also can make over 1200 ft lbs of torque. Some versions of the T-58 are rated at over 1800 shp! You have to see Ryan do a start with the beast.


Randy Sundberg brought his A-boat, running an oversize Kinsler injected small block. It is still unnamed and unpainted, and itís the same boat he has been running for several years. He did sand the bird poop corrosion spots out off the aluminum. Itís very fast and superbly conned whether itís painted, corroded, un-named or what have you. The boat is a real all-business race boat. None of that fancy stuff, like paint.


The Labrums made the long tow from Idaho but with an A-boat sized small block instead of their #1 motor which is a B-motor. Sadly, that B-motor bit the dust due to a fractured pressure relief spring. Their oil pressure went to -0- as they were putt-putting back to the pits after running all the legs in Riggins at record speeds. Gary says they pretty much burned it to the ground. Everything that rode on an oil film is scorched or scored or both.


Two BBFX boats were there, #88 Unloco, and #55 Revelation. Both very good drivers, two comparable boats, this would likely be a good show. #55, Duane Carmontís boat, had a big long weld from Riggins. He knocked that right off testing. They got it fixed again Friday and were ready to go Saturday at the crack of noon.


#13 Yellowhammer had gone through two motors the previous week and ended up running his third choice. The first motor had the wrong heads speced out and did not get even close to the hp it was supposed to produce, it was supposed to be an A-type motor. (in a 19 foot step-tech!). The second motor was a Vortec head ZZ, but it decided to poke holes in two pistons for some mysterious reason. The third motor was a crate ZZ4. It ran like it was supposed to so that is the motor he ran.


We had #16 Wocket there with the 180 degree headers back on and a just assembled crate ZZ4. I managed to find all the parts in my garage needed to put together a totally stock crate motor except for the oil pump and one crush nut on a rocker stud. I had to replace the stock crush nut on #6 intake with a koolnut. I apparently donít have any stock ZZ4 oil pumps anymore. Where in hell would they have gone? My guess is that they are all in a box together somewhere. I had added a Moroso 6-qt pan so I am not sure a stock pump with a stock pickup would have worked anyway. That will be something I need to figure out. I like the new pan, seems to have solved my aeration and oil puking problems.


As near as I can tell, the difference between a Vortec head ZZ4 and an L-98 head ZZ4 is about 40 rpm, that and 50 pounds. I believe that my boat hasnít lost much speed, if any, with the pluses and minuses of hp and weight. Iíll be testing with a GPS this summer and then I will know. It does seem to handle a little better with the CG moved back from the head change.


Previewing Friday was interesting, the Trinity looked like the regular Trinity after an adrenaline shot. LOTS of water, water flowing though the bushes, water covering up rocks and river bars, lots of water going under the bridge. The best lines were places that were 40 feet out of the water the last time I raced here. The really great lines were right through the bushes. Both launch spots, the one halfway at the gravel pit and the bar below the motel, did not exist this year. The rock at the sewer plant and the one down around the corner below Calpack were both completely under, they were just boils.




The first leg started both days at 12:30. I likes that! We got to watch the hydros run, a treat for us as we donít usually get to see those guys race. They start from motor off with a pull on the starter rope, all of them, all at once. Itís amazing. They run the same lines and in the same places we do, but for them itís a lot more personal with the river. And also with the other racers, bumping sponsons with the other boats is part of the deal!


The course was shortened to about 6.8 miles. In the early afternoon when we started there was not much wind, just when you need wind with a full load of fuel. By early evening when we ran the last leg, there was some decent wind, just when you donít need it coming downriver with a light load of fuel. I donít know about everyone else, but I didnít get blown out even light on fuel. I might not be as fast as I think I am.


Chad and Willie Burns #339 ďBad HabitĒ were out early with a trashed motor- they got in three and a half great runs before that happened, very close between them and Ryan except for Ryanís third run when I think Ryan might have stopped to tighten his belts or something.


On their fifth leg, Colby Davis and his Dad completely barrel rolled their super nice B-class #176 ďDisturberĒ, and I mean all the way over and back on its feet. They got knocked sort of out in the roll, the right side of the boat was flattened and Colbyís Dad had been whacked pretty good as most of the violence happened to his side of the boat. When awareness returned they were pointing upriver and the motor was idling- so they floored it and kept going. They got to the next corner; the motor took a dump and they spun up a small side channel and into the bushes to end a most unusual run. For the rest of the weekend, and for sure the ride home, Dad was stiff as hell but still game for racing. They were already planning the next boat! Amazing. Iíve always liked the look of this boat since the first time I saw it on the Eagle forum. Itís smaller than most, being a 19 foot SB tunnel so itís compact and purposeful looking. The paint really makes it. When I asked Colby what the specific paint scheme was, he said WWII Canadian Navy. He said his boat makes up about one sixth of the Canadian Navyís current western combat surface fleet!



Darren Weaver in his LS boat, #204 ďMiss EdeĒ ran good quick legs all weekend. He kept improving his leg times which are what you are supposed to be able to do. Notice the dissimilar sized side tanks. Very clean boat, darn fast boat too!



These guys are Canadian SBFX Champions, and it is pretty evident why and how: real fast on every part of a leg. The boat flies just right and they obviously are very good at taking advantage of what itís giving them.


Looking at the times, it was evident that Merv was, as usual, not going to let any other SBFX boats beat him, or for that matter even get close on his home river.  Many, many bushes were sacrificed in the all-out effort. His soon to be son-in-law nav took a lot of brush in the face this day.


Duane Carmont and Roger Derry in #55 BBFX ďRevelationĒ were on a tear, Duane was doing the wildman driver thing but not stepping completely over the line. Check out their times.


Jude and Clarence Hostler #88 ďUnlocoĒ got through exactly 2/3rds of one good leg then started losing oil pressure. After all the work put in getting this race off the ground, all the time and effort, they limped into to the top and had to put it on the trailer at the end of the first leg.


Ryan Ringer #333 ďBurning DesireĒ performed a real crowd pleaser at the bridge today. Here is a great compiled picture by Mark Sharley of the whole thing. A real WOW set of moments all in one picture Mark!


Lastly, but looking pretty firstly, Randy Sundberg #200 ďWild InjunĒ was turning in some very fast, very consistent runs. Paint? We donít need no stinking paint.


And then there was me and Roger, yust havin a blast, I tell ya! Yeehaw! Wahoo!


Here are the times for Saturdays legs:




Sunday was another nice day in Hoopa. As I was filling up at the gas station, Lynn noticed a lot of water coming out from under the boat. I hadnít had a chance to look it over the night before as by the time I was done playing time calculator, it was dark. My steel keel was loose, some of its bolts were loose and some were missing, all the urethane was broken loose and there was a two foot crack in the seam between the radius and the first tunnel. Weíre done. Poor old Wocket.  Saturday sure was fun though!


We watched the hydros on their first leg at the bridge. On this first leg, Ryan McGinnis biffed at the old pits and another racer got out at the corner above the bridge. He got out through the side of his cockpit and scored a mean shiner in the process. Roger Sanderson looked very strong both days and was the winner by the end of Sundays racing. If I just wasnít so old and fatÖ


The jetboats are out at 12:30 so I drove to the pits to offer assistance. I helped launch boats at the pits and took charge of the Labrumís truck keys so I could pull them out later. I had time to make it to the first corner upriver from the start line, which is the first corner downriver from the bridge. Itís a good spot; you get to see the flags, the starts, the lines through this bumpy corner and the long haul to the bridge.


Ryan was first out and I had a great spot to see the start from. The turbine winding up and the acceleration of that boat will make your jaw drop if you are used to most piston engine boats. Unbelievable almost, it doesnít look real it is so quick. What must that feel like? They are coming up fast on the corner and will be across the river from me, close on the inside of the corner, turning to their left and away.


Well that start impressed me and the speed they are carrying into the corner does too. Then bad stuff started happening. This corner has some rollers coming into it. The boat took a hop, another larger hop, an even larger hop, then the nose hits first, then it shears left and spins out going backwards into the inside of the corner. The turbine is howling, a lot of water is in the air and going everywhere and I canít see the boat for it. I hear car-crash thuds and whaps inside the water screen, the thuds stop, all that water falls back out of the sky and there sits 333 pointing at the river, right side up, high and dry, with the nose about five feet from the waters edge and the motor still howling. Ryan hits the fuel cutoff and the motor spools down very quickly accompanied by a huge grey-white cloud of atomized but un-burnt fuel spewing out the tailpipe. Pretty dang dramatic! Ryan and his nav fling themselves out of the boat, swing quickly around to the back and give a couple of mighty heaves before they realize the boat is not moving an inch. Itís glued to that pile of rocks.


MY adrenaline is now pumping, and I take off back down the road to the pitsÖ I find Reed and tell him what I just saw and that they looked just fine to me other than being disappointed they couldnít push the lump back into the river!  I am jangling, but Reed is quite calm. He calls Ryan to see what he may need.

I left at that point and drove back to the corner. All the rest of the boats have started by now and when I get to my spot above the corner, the sweep boat is just going by. Ryan is still on the beach but a whole bunch of young likely looking guys are converging on the boat. They all seem to be wearing the same t-shirts, but I canít see what they say.


What Ryan needed was a push, so he had cell-phoned the Gold Beach wrestling team, who are at the bridge spectating. Turns out, Ryan is their coach! The whole team ran down the river bar to the corner and threw 333 back into the river. Ryan cranked up and chased the sweep boat to the top end so that he could start the next leg. They made it to the top in plenty of time, but the sad end to the story is that their 24 VDC starting system was down and they couldnít get a restart for the next leg.


The Labrum brothers, Duane and Gary flying low under the bridge.


Hells a Poppin ! Iíve got those flags now.


Rockin Randy


Duane Longfellow calls you ďRocketmanĒ when you do this.  




The hydros always bring there best game. They race side by side and the competition is such that there are never any sure outcomes.

Itís always good racing! Roger Sanderson took it away this weekend in style.


I saw a lot about this sport this weekend that has made me proud to be part of it over the years. Six teams came all the way from Peace River, Alberta to help the old sport out. Thatís a real effort above and beyond and really something. We will do our best to repay you in kind. Jude, Carmie, Poppie, John Burns, Clarence and the many others that put in time and effort to make it happen. We will never have any races without people willing to sacrifice to do the things that have to happen for a race to become a reality. Thatís something too. And my friends, brothers, uncles and cousins who I am not related to but are my family none the less for hacking their boats together one more time to come and put on a show, compete, have a little fun and hold on for just one more season to keep the torch lit until our sport comes back. Thank you all and I am honored to be in your company.