Boatnik 2005   --   the Rogue at Grants Pass

Pictures courtesy of  Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass. All taken at Lower Galice.

Today is Wednesday, just got the schedule of events for the race. We are doing tech at the McDonalds on Parkway Friday evening, then some "power runs" down under the bridge to buoy, around the buoy and back up. The Calcutta is at the Fairgrounds.
Saturday we meet for the drivers meeting at the Dairy Queen, then join the parade. Saturdayís leg is down to Robertson Bridge and back. The sheet says to stay in the boat at the bottom, a real quick turnaround at the bottom. I have often wondered if we could do this, seems like a good idea if you have a fast enough field and a fast enough sweep boat.
Sunday we will run to Alameda, yippee! Been missing running that part of the river.

I'll be writing from my trusty laptop each evening in the motel. We have one with fast internet...

Friday morning, gonna be a nice day it looks like. Hope it is a little cooler than yesterday though. We are catching a ride with Gary and Andy Weaver at Griffin Park to take a look at the Rogue. We are hoping to gather Merv George and crew up along the way. He is camping at Griffin Park.
The river is at 2900 CFS this morning, am looking forward to seeing it, especially the lower end, to see how well I remember it. I am taking my chart plotter to get a distance reading. Tech starts at 3:00 (I think) at McDonalds. Derek Ely has a show off event for us to do at the Youth Detention Center at noon. Gotta remember to switch to my race suit, no Leviís allowed.
Yesterday was Lynn's birthday; we celebrated by going to dinner at the River View, out on the old highway. Outside terrace dining on the river, great service, and great food. I highly recommend it.

Let me try to list the boats:

182 Risky Business II

155 Sideways
188 White Lightning
177 Exhibitionist
163 Tuff N Nuff - expected, not here yet (they did not make it over)

70 Adrenaline Rush

13 Yellowhammer
15 Raven
16 Thunderbolt
09 Mountain Honey
27 Makin Bacon
42 Morning Wood
08 Advanced Drywall
Jerome Rector- saw him heading for tech as we were leaving, will get number & name

07 Budweiser (Ribbet)

(Jerome's boat is #187 and its called "Resurrection". Sam Heath's daughter is navigating)

Saw the river, all the way down, rode with Dave Provost in Gary & Andy Weavers sled. I remembered it too! I am really looking forward to running to Alameda Sunday, haven't been down there for what, three years?? Merv and Poppy got in late in the morning, they have had a tough week, was actually surprised to even see them, really. Merv and I and Kyle ran the short course, Robertson Bridge to the park. Jeff Lewis is navigating for Merv and that is really good. Best local talent you could get!
The power runs are off, not enough time. I was kind of looking forward to that. Off to the calcutta, the heat is thrashing me... Not used to anything over about 70 degrees!

There was a spectacular lightning storm last night, with just a little rain. Everyone showed up at Dairy Queen at 7:30 am for the drivers meeting and then we all spent about two hours getting lined up for the parade and into the parade. The parade was interesting, the lightning was hitting all around the south end of the valley while we were waiting to go, kind of wondered how good of an idea it was to be out on the river in it. No worries though, nobody got zapped. LOTS of people and families watching the parade, pretty neat. Lynn was not riding today, Chris Sackett, her son-in-law was navigating today, so Lynn was downtown with her two grandkids, her son and daughter and daughter-in-law watching the parade. Most of the boat crews were very surprised to see her alongside the road instead of in the boat, she told me.

Pictures courtesy of  Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass. All taken at Lower Galice.

Saturday racing
The river looked about the same as yesterday as far as level. A couple of bumpy starts, one boat starting on the wrong minute and Merv George's #13 "Yellowhammer" was having a problem getting on top. We started right after Merv and caught him about two or three miles downriver, so I know his boat was off badly, should not have been able to do that. Took until Griffin Park until I could safely get around him so that cost us some time. I am silly, as you all know, but I kind of had fun trying to get in close enough, safely, to make a safe pass. We kept jumping his wake left and right to look but each time I was on the wrong side. One place I was too close, couldn't see past him enough to see the line I wanted to take through some brush piles so I just followed him through his line, a channel to the left of the one I was going to take. Merv did everything right, and I did have several good opportunities above to pass, but I hadn't set myself up quite close enough. When we did get close enough at Griffin Park, he saw us and went left and let me go right, and it was all good.

Paul Bagshaw put 30 seconds on us (#15 "Raven" is a damn fast big Kiwi with a damn fast driver!) on the down leg. On the up leg I caught and passed Merv and also caught and passed Jerome Rector in "Resurrection" #187. Paul and I tied on the up leg. So it remains that Lynn & me need to make up thirty seconds on Paul & Dan tomorrow. We're gonna try! I hope Merv can get the engine sorted out, I would hate for his weekend to be all bad and am curious to ask Jeff Lewis what he thinks of the ride, he did not get Merv and Yellowhammer's best today.

On the run back up the primary pipe on #1 broke in half about 3 inches out from the head and was making a sound amazingly like a rod getting ready to let go. It lasted too long so I knew it wasn't a rod and assumed is was a header pipe. Chris kept watch behind us in the engine room. I handed him my fire extinguisher just in case and that got me an odd look! If you can imagine, it is a little difficult to convey a message that one of the header pipes was broken with hand signals so I don't know if Chris knew what the damn noise was, but he is a calm guy and calmly kept looking back there holding the extinguisher. We did Mr. Toad's wild ride back into the park and finished the leg.

I heard that #08 boat, "Advanced Drywall" did some quite good advanced aerobatics today, hope it's on video, much beyond their expected performance with this type of boat, so the driver Will should probably be addressed for the next few races at least as "Wild Will". And of course his navigator then becomes "Air AlenĒ.
That's it for Saturday, we had a good race. Weather is supposed to be less inclimate tomorrow, we'll be ready to run to Alameda through the big stuff. Wahoo!

I want to say a big thank you to Darren and Dave Provost for letting me use their welder and metal to fix my headers. They even let me use the shop before they got into use it, thanks guys.

Pictures courtesy of  Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass. All taken at Lower Galice.

Sunday morning. To stay with our recent long-standing tradition, this year so far, scattered showers are predicted for this morning. Also, to spice things up, thunder is offered too.

Mostly overcast right now, but dry.
Drivers meeting at 7:30 at Baker Park, we are out at 9:00.

Gotta go get ready and load the truck..

There was a very slight sprinkle about 7:15, but thatís it, weather was great all day.

I forgot to mention that yesterday Don Ruddick, #09 "Mountain Honey" found a rock, somewhere, and dented the very stout Kwik Kraft. Didn't seem to slow him down, even a little. Got the left sponson about two feet forward and also in front of the intake. The main hull hit wasn't really that bad, but the sponson is gonna need some looking after.

Merv's motor problem turned out to be a lifter dis-assembling itself. Mike Zoller swiftly fixed it last night and Merv was ready to go this morning.

Everyone is still running as of this morning, and that's good!

Seth Bogner and Lindsay #177 "Exhibitionist" were having trouble getting running right off the trailer. Seth's boat would do a big old dinosaur fart through the carb and didn't want to run. I might have this wrong, but I think they worked on it then trailered it to Alameda.

Except for that, they were all good starts. We just flew down through Park Riffle, hit 84 before we had to slow at the concrete, then got it rolling again and got to 86.

We ran great for about 2 miles, then the motor started randomly misfiring, just about at the top of Irwin-? Park. . It was down to about 77 mph and 4800 rpm but holding then along about Griffin Park it got much worse and it sounded like a solid miss in amongst the misfiring. Then it belched, shut down, went for twenty feet and started running again. Pulled in at the bottom of Griffin, unbelted, climbed in back found #1 plug wire laying on the floor, plugged it back in, Neil McKinnon shoved us back in and we clumsily strapped on the belts in slow motion and took off again. Merv passed us while we were stopped. Back out on the river it was more random misfire and 77 mph. I slowed even more in the close spots, in case it decided to quit altogether and stay quit. Went on down through Hog Creek, Hellsgate and Dunn, under the bridge and a little further along I managed to see Jeff Bradley #42 "Morning Wood" on us. We stayed left, they went by on our right. Hope he wasn't back there too long before I saw him...

Got crossways and aimed the wrong way at Galice because I was having trouble keeping it going at all, almost was a wreck, but we did make it all the way to Alameda, very, very slowly though. Seems like a loose power wire I was thinking at the time, bumpy stuff seemed to make it worse. After it cools off I'll start looking.

Pictures courtesy of  Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass. All taken at Lower Galice.

On the down run Will McCabe and Alan Ward had big time smacked a rock, they were parked and out. (Saw this later on at the awards). Good-sized dent in front of the intake, been there, down that, same exact dent and same exact hull for me. It IS fixable, I can attest to that. Also cracked their cast shoe and opened the welds each side of it. Ouch!

I don't believe anyone else had a problem, least I didn't hear of anything so that left all the boats still ready to go but one (if I could figure out what was going on with mine)

Pictures courtesy of  Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass. All taken at Lower Galice.

We first checked all the plug wires, Chris touched #7 and it fell off. Stuck it back on. I pulled #1 plug, it looked OK, but Jason went and borrowed a replacement which we put in. Took it out to test it, still random misfire. I had a thought and shut it off, crawled in the back and unplugged the tach wire from the HEI and refired it. That fixed the misfire, it wound up clean, even sounded a little higher than normal, but with no tach, who knows. I'm ready to go again! I didn't even think again about it wanting to shut down, just ran on the assumption it was all the tachs fault. Bad assumption.

Made a three second giveaway start, but oh well, onward! At the top of the riffle just past the start the motor shut off cold. Boat heading for the right bank and the chute down the wrong side of the island, oh shit oh shit time, punched the starter about 8 times before it would light, away we go. Now I am really nervous, one thing you can't have in a jet boat is the motor that shuts down. Run bad, yeah ok, you are slow, bent hull, well it handles a little funny but a motor that shuts off is no good, you end up in the strangest places when that happens.

I ran it up and it sounded fine, thought about pulling over right there but if there is a boat ramp anywhere around there I don't know where it is- I decided to run through Galice and if it does anything at all weird, pull over at the ramp above Ennis. Great idea? No it wasn't at all. It shut down again at the top of upper Galice and this was even worse than just above the start line. I don't know how many times I pushed the starter button before it caught, but it was a lot, kept trying to look down river to see if anyone was coming yet. By the time it finally caught we were clear over on the north side, the side away from the road, in the rocks along the edge. When it did finally catch, I just floored it, turned hard left and drove straight over the rocks and into the bushes. We were done. We played the game of climbing out, trying to get the rope loose and falling off the boat into the bushes, but we finally got out of it and tied it off.

It could have gotten very bad, very quickly if we had been floating backwards down through that riffle and someone came flying up it. Bad decision to try to continue on with a motor that quits. Next time if I can get it running it goes on the beach at the first likely spot I come to. Never again, no way! I guess I must confess here that in my frustration I hocked a rock at the boat. It wasn't the boats fault that I got the pee scared out of me, it is the dumbass drivers fault. My matureness showed through in that I aimed at a spot I knew I could easily fix.

We did end up in a really great spot to watch Merv, Seth, Jeff, Jerome and Mike come through. Wow, a really great spot. You guys all did it great it was neat to see. Mike Messick and Andy Weaver did the coolest flying thing, the little SJ looked like a cartoon of a race boat, they flew way high and seemed to hang there for awhile then it plopped back in the river and shot off to our left! Got to see the sweep boat haulin butt with everyone onboard leaning into it coming flying through, that was cool too.

The yellow Sheriff inflatable stopped, then a rescue boat. I asked Lynn to catch a ride with one of them, and told her I was going to run it to Ennis ramp and stop. They pulled me out in the river and I got it running, seemed ok, they slid back to me and unhooked me and I ran up through Ennis, up to the ramp and parked it. It quit and then started running again once on the way up. The rescue boat dropped Lynn off, she caught a ride with John Fry back to the pits, thanks John! Chris and Lynn (Chris is Lynn's son-in-law) came back to Ennis with the truck and we loaded the boat and headed for town, to Dutch Boy paints for the awards.


All the boats where at Dutch Boy Paints. The one with the most people around it is usually the one with the most damage. There were an awful lot of people around Scott Adam's #155 "Sideways" B-boat.

Scott Adams and Brad McMaster had been making good runs all weekend, had made it all the way to Alameda and back up through everything without incident. All that was left was the flat water into town. In the video I saw, going in a straight line, at likely a good percentage of 100 mph, over a total nothing bump at the end of a slick spot, the boat launched and got a kick at the same time. The left front hit first real hard and they spun out counter-clockwise (I think, the camera person dropped the camera right about then!)

The water strike stripped the wings off the nose and mangled the left side of the boat. I don't have a picture for you, but the left side of the boat looks like it had been put in a trash compactor. All those angles and planes that make up the transition from hull side to intake for the tunnel were flattened. The sponson was twisted and flattened all the way back. You know what a soda can looks like after it is run over by a car? That's what that side of their boat looked like. All the angles and corners are there, but flattened. I am not trying to sensationalize the wreck, I am trying to give an image of how bad the damage was, hope I can run across a picture. Scott and Brad were uninjured, but they almost lost the boat completely, they got to the beach with maybe 5 inches of freeboard. I believe they pumped it out and ran on into town. The hull is toast. Just awful.

Talked to Will and Alen there also, the little sprint is in sad shape, but don't give up on it, it is fixable. Think about building it better, stronger, faster like the old TV show.

Will try for the results late this evening or tomorrow.

A couple of other incidents happened on the last leg back up Sunday: Merv George parked at Dunn Riffle for a while, got it shoved back in and continued on, he said he is getting too good at it. Jeff Bradley shot out of the river at Galice Rapid, he continued on also after shoving the boat back in the river.

That last leg was a tough one!

An old racer once said that he thought the Salmon was tough, and that Grants Pass would be easy after that but that Grants Pass was just as tough in a lot of ways.

Here are the results as I recall them:

#182 Risky Business II, Dave Provost (River Wild)

#188 White Lightning, Steve Hanlin (Eagle)
#155 Sideways, Scott Adams (Eagle)
#177 Exhibitionist, Seth Bogner-first podium in a while! (River Wild)

#70 Adrenaline Rush, Dean Saxon (Eagle)

#15 Raven, Paul Bagshaw (Kwik Kraft)
#09 Mountain Honey, Don Ruddick -rookies, great job!!! (Kwik Kraft)
#27 Makin Bacon, Scott Marshall -rookies, great job!!! (Eagle)

When I get ALL the navigators names I will come back and post them...

I haven't started the search yet, but I am going to pin down why my motor kept shutting off. Really got my attention, truth be told, really scared me. I thought of Merv in Idaho and Greg at Hoopa when it happened, it's a pretty helpless feeling.

WHATEVER I find, I intend to completely redo the wiring harness to include new switches, etc. and I am going to replace ALL the ignition parts, module, coil, and pickup. I have been using switch shields in the reversed position for years to make it just that much harder to accidentally shut off the motor because this has always been a big fear of mine, lose the motor when you might really need it. I have blown them up before and there was always enough left in them to get me to a beach, but if it just shuts off cold you are going to be in a world of hurt.

I will unabashedly let you know what I find, might save someone else from smashing up their boat or worse.
A big Thank You to Ryan Miller and Justin Hood of Grants Pass for the great pictures!
Cheers, Jesse

Us Points through Grants Pass