Grants Pass Boatnik 2007

Boatnik weekend weather was nice, mid eighties, some overcast. The river was very low, 2030 CFS at Grants Pass on Friday, lower than I have ever seen it. At that level there are lots of rocks visible. The good side of that was that all the sneaker rocks were sticking out of the river and easier to locate. Previewing Friday with Steve Hanlin and Steve Jensen, it became clear that no lines had changed, the traditional lines would work just fine but the banks everywhere were much closer. Thanks for the great ride White Lightning team! Steve H. has impressed me since he started racing way back in that little green hoppy boat and the sure and faultless preview ride he gave us just raised the bar some more. The guy has eagle eyes.

The race just about expired this year and was in fact officially canceled for a while. Lots of work, wrangling, cajoling and arm bending by several dedicated racers and local business people got it going again. . I personally thank you all and say “good job”.  I will list the ones I know but I am sure I have missed some, especially the Active Club members who were on our side: Chris Dyer, Dave Provost, Dean Saxon, Charter Cable and an unknown businessman who provided a major part of our purse. (You can say thank you too, have a coffee drink at any Dutch Brothers, ok? Please be sure to mention that you are a jetboat racer or fan.) Several other local businesses stepped forward with cash and we are all eternally grateful for that

The turnout:
277 Paul Bagshaw
309A Ryan Ringer
211 Terry O’Keefe
234 Guy Anderson

169 Dwayne Longfellow (North Idaho Dwayne)
163 Duane Labrum (South Idaho Duane)
188 Steve Hanlin

69 Sam Heath
70 Dean Saxon
42 Jeff Bradley
75 Grant Kudlac

19 Mike Egbers
16 Jesse LaForest

05 George Edwards

Duane and Gary Labrum didn’t make the start. While testing on the Snake on Wednesday, just prior to making the jump to Oregon, the snout came off their crankshaft. You can imagine the things that can happen when the snout comes off your crank and it is never good. Your damper ricochets around destroying things, the motor stops running if you have a crank trigger ignition and there are usually several loud noises. The Labrums experienced all these things. They luckily did not hit the bank or anything else did not get to experience the damper attacking the fuel tank or exiting the bottom of the boat, but they were done. Gary and his wife trailered the empty hull over anyway and even did the parade! These guys are real troopers.  (Duane stayed home and went fishing so at least one part of the team made a fun weekend of it.)

Friday was river preview day; I heard something like 6 scout boats having rock incidents ranging from minor brush to major damage. Tech and boat show was held at the Charter Cable compound at the intersection of the Redwood Highway and the Rogue River Highway. Friday evening we ran from Schroeder Park back into town for introductions to the spectators there. We did this last year also, but last year we got a good wash down from a passing rainstorm, nice weather this year, more spectators also, likely due to the improved weather.

Saturday was one run to Robertson Bridge and one run back, that’s it. We started the day with a driver meeting at the Dairy Queen at 8 am. Then at 9am we line up for the parade, do the parade at 10am and are ready to launch out of Baker Park by 11:30.

 I do have to inject here that having the end come off your crank is better than stepping on it. That’s kind of what I did here at Grants Pass. I stepped on it. The plan was that Lynn would ride Saturday and that Steve Davis would ride Sunday. Lynn is not quite yet up to the excitement that the long run out of Grants Pass can offer. Saturday went fine to Robertson Bridge and back, we even found a spot to make a photo moment. As seems to happen all the time lately, we don’t win, we don’t finish but we seem to end up on posters, t-shirts and in publications everywhere we go.  This time we made one little hop at Whitehorse and bam, there we are in the Courier. So Saturday went great, not fast but a good run anyway.  More about stepping on my crank later.

In B-class, Duane Longfellow was having travails, he had a rocker rigged with good old bailing wire and had to run very slow. We caught him just at Park Riffle coming back from Robertson Bridge. He said he had as many as six boats passing him on the way back. A new rocker was on its way, due in Saturday night. Steve Hanlin was making his typical ripper runs; good to see White Lightning back out there again, especially after the cracked head at Roseburg sounded like the end of a really great motor but turned out to be fixable with some welding.

A- Class saw Ryan Ringer and Paul Bagshaw within a handful of (ready that as five) seconds of each other each leg. Both very damn fast and both very damn close. Terry O’Keefe with Greg Boice navigating were on an endurance run, quick but safe and they did that very well. Guy Anderson made it as far as Schroeder Park but had a problem with the big Ford.

The BBFX boys were mixing it up in a big way and I think Sam Heath, after trying so hard these last few years, finally got ahead of Dean Saxon. Both Jeff Bradley and Grant Kudlac made good runs to Robertson Bridge and back. Grant just got his boat going again after a disastrous start here last year that involved a flying plant up the bank just above Carpenter Island. Jeff is running his new to him Thunderbolt II wing boat with a big block Ford.

Sunday morning Steve met me at Baker Park, we played the game where he tried on all the extra lifejackets I had and then went and borrowed one from Duane Longfellow that fit. I got the boat all ready to go, Steve backed me in and I fired it and it was running in V4 mode. I have a crank trigger ignition and it has two coil packs, one of them obviously was not working. Back out comes the boat, pull the relay for coil pack two, start it up, it runs in V4 mode. Pull the relay for coil pack one, it won’t start. Put it back in, pull the relay for coil pack one, Rob Soule bangs the relay on the transom, puts it back in and it starts and runs in V8 mode. I don’t trust it, in V4 mode it can’t even stay on step and after the bizarre luck Team Raven has suffered the last few races, I decide we just aren’t going to take the chance. I looked at Duane Longfellow’s setup, he has the same system I have, and he has hardwired his coil packs to the battery. He told me that so far it doesn’t seem to run the battery down, likely because they are not using any current unless the ignition calls for it. That is what I am going to do too and it is what I should have done at the beginning of the year. I was getting little clues all along, like brand new relays that didn’t work others that shorted +12vdc directly to ground, heat causing relay one or two to shut off. Consider my crank stepped on.

Three new rules:
1. Don’t ignore free clues
2. Don’t use relays that cost $1.52
3. Don’t use relays at all if you can help it.

SBFX class was composed solely of Mike Egbers as we were on the trailer. George Edwards in SJ class had only half of his impeller blades left after Saturday so he was out. A class had all their starters from Saturday ready to run, Guy Anderson was back ready to go as was Paul Bagshaw, Ryan Ringer and Terry O’Keefe. B-class had Steve Hanlin ready to go and Dwayne Longfellow with a better-than-bailing wire repair but still no replacement rocker. Lost in the mail I guess. Sam Heath was not making it this morning, and neither was Jeff Bradley. Grant Kudlac and Dean Saxon were the two left standing in BBFX Sunday morning.

We weren’t racing so we watched the starts.
 Ryan Ringer struggled just a little and got tipped over and gone. Paul Bagshaw had a very tough time getting on step, but finally did and motored out of the park, late, gave away a good 30 seconds.  I think I saw what he said as he crossed the line and it wasn’t polite. Terry O’Keefe and Guy Anderson both seemed to have the least trouble of the A-boats getting rolling. Steve Hanlin was the first B-boat gone; he seemed to have little trouble also. Then Dwayne Longfellow had problems tipping over. He tried whipping the boat left and right, going upstream and finally resorted to hitting the bottom on the far side of the river. This DID work for about 8 feet until he drug the bottom over more of Southern Oregon and slowed down again. We watched them wallow across the line, motor roaring, and down under the bridge, still with the nose high and going all of about 12 mph. We watched them until they went off down Park Riffle, then we couldn’t see them anymore. We COULD hear them though, roaring and bellowing down there below the riffle. Those Idaho boys don’t know the word quit. It’s just not in their vocabulary.

Then Dean Saxon also had problems getting going, but did make it without a whole lot of fuss, a trait he’s known for, got it on top and roared off downriver. Grant Kudlac started easily enough and Mike Egbers KwikKraft planed quickly and motored out of the park. That was the last starter; nine boats took the green flag out of thirteen that started Saturday.

The usual whitewater race boat difficulty with getting on step is exasperated by everyone being loaded close to the max with fuel to be able to make all the way to Alameda and back. (Just under 60 miles) It says something about what a narrow range of weights and CG these boats will start under, but if they are close to the edge and if anything at all is not perfect, they won’t tip over.

In Paul Bagshaws case, it was due to his intake starting to come apart, but exasperated by a big load of fuel. They made it as far as just above the Applegate before the ride plate mount finally broke the rest the way loose and bent the grate. Things got fairly exciting but they got in on the beach ok.

Dwain Longfellow kept on trying to get tipped over off down river, even after the last starter went blowing by, until the sweep boat finally caught them and told them their race was over. They would have kept trying and I suppose eventually they would have found the bottom again somewhere or burnt off enough fuel that they could get going. Guy Anderson didn’t make his planned cruise to Robertsons Bridge, due to more motor problems just a few miles downriver.

Grant Kudlac BBFX had an exciting ride to say the least. His steering began to fail and it was letting him turn the boat left but not right. Actually, I think he told me it took one turn to get lock to the left and about 7 or 8 turns to get the boat to go right at all. Well and good, things we usually can deal with, but Grant had the great luck of discovering this as he was making the hard RIGHT turn under Robertson Bridge. If you know Grant, you’ll know the guy is pretty understated which made it even a better story. I guess I don’t need to say that he decided this was about as far as a sensible person would drive a fast boat that only wanted to turn left.

Nine boats left the park in Grants Pass, five made it all the way to Alameda. Paul Bagshaw, Guy Anderson, Dwayne Longfellow and Grant Kudlac parked along the way. Mike Egbers had found rocks here and there on the way down and they were done, they went back to Grants Pass on the trailer. Four boats left Alameda and made it back to Grants Pass, #309 “Bohicca” Ryan Ringer, #211 “Riptear” Terry O’Keefe, #188 “White Lightning” Steve Hanlin, and  #70 “Adrenalin Rush” Dean Saxon.

Grants Pass is the single race requiring the most of the driver and navigator.  Riggins is brutal, a survival race, a real test of your boat, Grants Pass demands attention to detail and racecraft. It's 28 miles long, and there are a lot of things to remember. There are more than just a few places that require you to get it exactly right and with low water levels, the margin for error is very small.

On to the land of Merv!

Times and Finishes for Grants Pass

             SATURDAY                       SUNDAY
Driver Boat  Leg 1     Leg 2     Total      Leg 1     Leg 2    Total Overall
Ringer 309    9:15      9:46     19:01      19:17     21:19     40:36   59:37  1
O'Keefe 211  10:15     11:04     21:19      23:46     27:09     50:55 1:12:14  2
Bagshaw 277   9:18      9:50     19:08      31:29DF   39:56DS 1:11:25 1:30:33  3
Anderson234  13:57DF   16:56DS   30:53      31:29DF   39:56DS 1:11:25 1:42:18  4
Hanlin 188    9:58     10:28     20:26      22:01     22:40     44:41 1:05:07  1
Longfell169  17:34     19:32     37:06      30:49DF   30:50DS 1:01:39 1:38:45  2
Saxon 70     10:34     11:15     21:49      22:50     23:29     46:19 1:08:08  1
Kudlac 75    11:25     11:55     23:20      31:58DF   37:34DS 1:09:32 1:32:52  2
Heath 69     10:28     11:08     21:36      36:32DS   37:34DS 1:14:06 1:35:42  3
Bradley 42   12:48     14:03     26:51      36:32DS   37:34DS 1:14:06 1:40:57  4
Egbers 19    11:09     11:38     22:47      23:56     38:18DS 1:02:14 1:25:01  1
LaForest16   12:06     12:37     24:43      38:18DS   38:18DS 1:16:36 1:41:19  2
Edwards 5    14:28     17:16DF   31:44      38:18DS   38:18DS 1:16:36 1:48:20  1
Points so far 
Bagshaw #277: 1787.53
O'Keefe #211: 1762.51
Ringer #309: 800
Miller #169A: 768.75

Longfellow #169B: 1600.01
Labrum #163: 1366.68
Hanlin #188: 933.34

Heath #69: 1950
Saxon #70: 700
Carmont #55: 643.75
Bradley #42: 550.25

Egbers #19: 2056.79
Boice #07: 1094.43
Papst #15: 764.69
George #13: 641.67
LaForest/Provost #16: 427.50
Whiteside #140: 345.02
Marshall #27: 284.19

Edwards #05: 1787.50
Weaver #08: 824.34
Crawford #63: 758.35
Jewkes #17: 206.34
Grant #24: 66.67