Hoopa 2006 – June 10th and 11th
Hoopa loves boat racing. It has been a tradition there for at least fifty years, maybe more. Jetboat racing is new to Hoopa, three years now, but well accepted. Hydro river racing was king in Hoopa for most of the last half century, has had its ups and downs and also huge tragedy at one point, but is still alive, well and kicking.
Merv once told me that growing up in Hoopa you were scouted for hydro racing in the same way that most towns scout promising kids for football. One of the other things they do in Hoopa is field impressive basketball teams every year and is known statewide for being fierce competitors. It’s a small community, maybe a thousand people, which makes the above even more amazing. My guess is if you can’t play basketball, you race boats and vice-versa!
Hoopa is another race like Riggins, Idaho where, because it’s such a small town, everyone stays in just a few places for the weekend. We aren’t scattered all over town in five different motels and it’s a lot more fun that way, almost like an extended family reunion if all your relatives were motor heads and boat nuts.
Watching the river levels so you have some idea what to expect is a common thing that most of us do. As of June 1st, the Trinity was up to 12000 CFS and 19 feet at the gauge. It began dropping on the 4th and by the 7th the Trinity was down to about 9500 and appeared to be on a downward trend. Last year we raced with the river flowing 14200 CFS on day one and about 13800 CFS on day two. At that level it is big and bumpy. So this year, at 9500, the river level looked good. Merv George, local racer and the race organizer, told us that around 9000 would be perfect for racing. By Friday evening the river sat at 8800 and it stayed right about there all weekend. He apparently knows the guy who runs the throttle at the dam in Lewiston. I am not kidding about that.
Previewing the river
The lower river level affected the course as Merv predicted. The river as a whole appears much less bumpy than last year, and this years flood hadn’t changed the lines any that I could see. The bumps and rollers are all still in the same places but they are much smaller and the counts of the roller trains are smaller by roughly a third. The width of the roller trains was smaller too, leaving you more room between them and the shore to run in. Very important on some of the super tight corners below town. More rocks were showing, but that is not altogether a bad thing, being able to see the rocks. This year the bridge presents three good lines instead of two just OK lines like last year. You should be able to carry more speed through there too as the rollers below and above are much “softer”. During the racing some folks were not lifting at all running up or down. I wasn’t one of them. I took one look at the river Friday morning and another Saturday morning before the first leg. The course looked plenty fast and also like a lot of fun!
Tech in/ Boat Show/ Calcutta
One interesting different thing was with the Labrum team. The Labrum brothers are from southern Idaho and race #163 Tuff-n-Nuff. They are a very tight family and team and are the nicest folks you could ever want to meet. Duane normally drives and his brother Gary normally navigates and wrenchs the boat. Duane Labrum had business to take care of so Gary Labrum is driving the boat this race instead of navigating. He originally asked his wife to do his primary job (navigating) for him while he drove, but she has an uncommon amount of good sense and refused. Evan, Duane and Gary’s younger brother and crewchief, bravely stepped forward to navigate. My guess is that he probably actually leaped forward. I have to say it, and I would feel the same way too, but Gary was nervous. Not incapacitated by it all, but just a little nervous. He has uncommon good sense too. He has driven the boat plenty and also has navigated it every mile it ever covered, but it’s a different thing being behind the wheel and racing with the throttle under your foot and ultimate responsiblity for where the whole mess ends up.
The boat show and tech was on the lawn behind the Casino and right next to the motel, overlooking the bridge and river. Very nice! I parked my boat right at my patio, such amazing accommodation’s here in Hoopa! The evening started out with a block party kind of atmosphere. It didn’t take long for all the racers and crew to discover that the shortcut to the boat show was through our room. Also, that we had the closest bathroom. It was kind of fun to sit on the patio or couch and say hi to everyone as they short-cutted through our living room. I think I got to say hello to almost everyone eventually. Chris, Sarah, Lynn and I began referring to our room as ”The Breezeway”.
Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule had thumped a whopper pressure dent into the left front of their A-boat, #277 Unpredictable, while testing before the tech-in. Dan Mahoney, their crew chief, Paul and Rob were out on the lawn hammering and Porta-Powering the pressure dent out. Boat race music! Thump. Crash. Thud. Thud. Thud.
A fun evening, everyone in good spirits (except for Paul and Rob). Full moon out, nice weather, (a first since we started racing this year) lots of happy people (except for Dan, Paul and Rob of course.) Did I mention that Paul was little bit grumpy? Well he was. Grumpy that is. He got better though. After the dent was out (mostly). The Calcutta appeared to be a success, we were excellently auctioned off by Mike Hostler. Mike is getting really good at running a Calcutta, he has really taken to it. Mike is going to be racing BBFX soon so who knows how the hell that is going to work out, it may be a first, a racer auctioning himself off, can’t wait to see it.
It was a friendly and satisfying evening.
Saturday dawned slightly overcast, but it burnt off quickly. Looked like it was going to be clear and getting warm. Much, much better than what we have been getting used to, drizzle turning to rain showers intermixed with snow. Well, I guess Grants Pass was fairly nice, just some rain here and there.
Anyway, the first leg was a short run from mid-course to the bottom finish line, about 5 miles. It went too fast, just about the time I got into the rhythm of things, I was at the flag. Scott Marshall #27 Makin’ Bacon commented that it seemed that way to him too. Just get warmed up and the leg is over. Everyone made it with no problems reported.
Leg 2, an upriver run all the way to the top finish line, about 11 miles. Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule discover boulders that are attached to California in a gravel bar they were straightlining across just below the bridge. Ugly Rocks-1 , Shiny Fast aluminum boat-0. Unpredictable is out and on the beach with severe damage. Ryan Ringer and Tim Harding #309 Bohicca slides wide at the George family hole, ricochets through the rollers and pressure dents the left front nose. Dave and Darren Provost #182 Risky Business run a fault free 6:04 going up river this leg, Randy Sundberg #200 Shiny Stuff is right on him with a 6:10 run.
B-class is close! On this leg Scott Adams #155 Sideways runs a 6:33, Gary Labrum #163 Tuff-n-Nuff runs a 6:28 and Steve Hanlin #188 White Lightning runs a 6:37. It gets even better later on!
Leg 3, downriver. Randy Sundberg and Jesse Cummings #200 pushed off to warm up but the starter wouldn’t spin or even click. They unbelted and both climbed in the back as they floated away. The solenoid energize wire has fallen off. They put it on, climb back in the seats and start the motor. Idling now, warming up the motor. About 10 minutes later we push off, start up and idle around warming up the oil. I see Randy walking back up the bank, no jacket or suit. The seal has blown out of their oil filter and dumped the entire load of engine oil in the bilge. Later on they take their other oil filter apart, which is an Oberg, and discover bearing material in it. They are done for the weekend. Another A-boat down, two left.
A-class: #182 Risky Business II runs down with a 5:55, #309 Bohicca nicks him with a 5:49.
B-class: #163 Tuff-n-Nuff runs a 6:08, #188 White Lightning runs a 6:09, #155 Sideways runs a 6:16. That is a spread of 8 seconds for three fastest B-boats.
BBFX: #70 Adrenalin Rush runs a 6:23, #69 Addicted tuns a 6:27. The previous leg, they were one second apart!
SBFX had settled in with #13 Yellowhammer being fastest followed by #07 Hasta La Vista Baby, #16 Wocket and #27 Makin Bacon. It would stay that way for the rest of the weekend, every single leg. Sort of a formation flight with the exception of the last leg on Sunday when Greg in #07 beat Merv in #13 by two seconds on the very last leg up. Merv was obviously waving at all the spectators all the way up must have gotten distracted.
SJ Class racing was a dual between #05 George Edwards and #51 Sergio Valasquez. They were trading fastest time back and forth between legs. #08 Gary Weaver trailed behind both,. I had pegged Gary as being the fastest SJ there, but apparently he was not.
Last run of the day, an upriver run. We will race all the way to the top, wait for the sweep boat to clear the course then motor back to the pits.
A-class: Two boats left running, Dave & Darren Provost # 182 Risk Business II and Ryan Ringer and Tim Harding #309 Bohicca. Dave makes it to the top with a very quick 6:06. Ryan and Tim take a bad hop at the bridge, get way sideways, pointed to the right. Ryan fights hard to catch it but the previously bent nose shears them hard right, right onto the rocks. They ricochet across the rock bar under the bridge and bounce several times, hitting very hard. They were probably going close to 100 mph when they left the river and dissipated all that energy in about 100 feet by re-arranging the rocks. As they bounce across the rock bar the boat is flinging big rocks left and right, some of them landing in the river. On video later, I saw one the size of a 27 inch TV land 20 feet out in the river. The boat is destroyed but Ryan and Tim don’t have a scratch on them. Looking at the boat later there doesn’t appear to be a straight line or seam on it anywhere with the exception of the rail across the top of the transom and that is mis-aligned with the rest of the boat. None of the mechanical gear was hurt although the cage tried to punch through the right sponson. Out of four very fast A-boats starting this morning, there is only Dave and Darren Provost left. One is completely destroyed, one is severely damaged and one has a very sick motor.
B-class: The leg times of the B-boats have been amazingly close all day with the Labrums in #163 edging the rest of the class. Unfortunately, on this upriver leg they slide a little wide at the George family hole and bounce out in the rollers on the far left, smacking a pressure dent in their nose. Somehow, they also find a rock too and put a small dent back where the nose breaks into bottom. This costs them around twenty seconds, sliding out, bouncing around then getting back out in the line and back up to speed. Steve Hanlin #188 White Lightning moves ahead and posts a total fastest total time for the day of 22:55 followed by Scott Adams #155 Sideways at 23:01 and the Labrums #163 Tuff-n-Nuff at 23:02.
Post mortem on #277 Unpredictable reveals parts of the spoon missing in chunks, a concave grate that’s supposed to be flat and a smashed pump intake. They are done for the weekend, this is a pull the engine and flip the boat repair.
Any of three incidents out on the river today could have gotten somebody hurt if they had happened when we first started racing. Due to the safety equipment we now use and the strict adhearance to the safety rules by all the racers, they resulted in bent aluminum and little else. That's a real good deal!
Saturday evening was quiet. Watched a few daily videos, ate some BBQ. Friday evening, by contrast, was more like Mardi Gras and 4th of July rolled into one. Saturday evening was mellow.
Leg 1 -short leg down
First run down, B-class boats Hanlin #188, Labrum #163 and Adams #155 all ran identical times, all ran a 3:38!!!
A-class boat, Dave Provost #182 , since he was racing by himself, took it easy. He ran a 3:31 which was one second slower than his Saturday run of of 3:30.
SBFX saw all boats still in the same order, George #13, Boice #07, LaForest #16 and Marshall #27.
BBFX Saxon #70 led Heath #70 down by about 16 seconds.
Weaver #08 appeared to be picking up the pace in SJ and got closer to his competitors, but still remained third behind Velasquez #51 and Edwards #05.
Leg 2- up leg
In B-class, Hanlin began having an oil pressure problem and slowed. Labrum and Adams almost tied on the up leg with Labrums nicking Adams by one second, a 6:37 and a 6:38. I saw video of the corner just above the pits, Scott Adams is running this set of corners very hard.
Brodie Miller #169 who is usually quick, appeared to be cruising this weekend, or maybe it just seemed that way with the dogfight going on in the rest of B-class. I forgot to ask him, so I don't know what might have been going wrong. #182 Aztec, Jerry Rectors ailing motor finally calls it quits and they park the boat this leg.
Same story in SBFX, George #13, Boice #07, LaForest #16 and Marshall #27. I am picking up a few seconds a leg by driving deeper into the corners. Merv, as he should be, is very fast here on his home course.
SJ remains lock stepped, Velasquez #51, Edwards #05 and Weaver #08, with Weaver running slightly faster each leg.
Dean Saxon #70, Adrenalin Rush, generated a little more adrenalin than normal. In the corner above the pits they got the big white Eagle sideways and hopping, pointed at the beach. They had to spin the rest of the way around to get re-aligned for upstream travel. Sam Heath #69 Addicted tied Dean this leg.
Leg 3 - down leg
Again, B-class is close. Labrum and Adams tie on this run with 6:09 for each. Hanlin is babying his motor, trails by 43 seconds. Brodie Miller runs third fastest this time at 6:43.
#182 Dave Provost is still taking it "easy", slows by seven seconds over yesterdays leg time, 6:02.
Leg 4 - up, last leg
#188 Hanlin lets it rip on this last leg and turns in a 6:22, oil pressure be damned. #155 Adams and #163 Labrum, tooth and nailing it, run a 6:32 and a 6:33 respectivley.
First #182 Provost
Second #309 Ringer
Third #200 Sundberg
First #155 Adams
Second #163 Labrum
Third #188 Hanlin
First #70 Saxon
Second #69 Heath
First #13 George
Second #07 Boice
Third #16 LaForest
First #05 Edwards
Second #08 Weaver
Third #51 Velasquez
So that was the weekend on the Trinity, a great turn out with 19 boats started Saturday morning and 15 boats finishing Sunday afternoon. We got to see some of the closest racing possible in B-class, so close that just tiny errors determined the final outcome. Gary Labrum is FAST! Again several boats bit it hard, but no injuries thank goodness. Hoopa put on a hell of a good race again this year, the river was just about perfect and the weather was too.
Personally, Lynn and I are quite pleased, we finally finished a race this year. I am getting more used to the new boat. Driving it as fast it will go in a straight line is easy, got that part figured out, hard corners I am working on but I think I might have been only getting about 80 percent of what it is capable of in Hoopa. That's OK, though. I now tend to work up to fast instead of working down from ricochetting all over the place.
On to Albany!
Here are the time sheets:
US Points after Hoopa:
DRIVER BOAT HOOPA
TOTAL US POINTS A-CLASS Paul Bagshaw 277 75 0 75 1637.50 2nd Dave Provost 182A 317.25 400 717.25 2208.91 1st Ryan Ringer 309A 256.25 0 256.25 914.58 3rd Randy Sundberg 200 131.25 0 131.25 131.25 4th B-CLASS Steve Hanlin 188 287.50 275.58 563.08 2333.91 2nd Labrum Brothers 163 356.25 320.83 677.08 2419.92 1st Gary Padgett 114 0 0 0 167.67 8th Seth Bogner 177 0 0 0 382.35 5th Jerome Rector 187 95 23.75 118.75 298.43 6th Miller/Longfellow 169 169 183 352 1071 3rd Scott Adams 155 281.25 314.58 595.83 970.83 4th Ruddick/Keene 09B 127 127 254 254 7th BBFX Dean Saxon 70 400 362.50 762.50 2940.69 1st Scott Adams 155 0 0 0 37.50 5th Ryan Ringer 309 0 0 0 516.67 3rd Sam Heath 69 300 337.50 637.50 2170.84 2nd Grant Kudlac 211 0 0 0 225 4th SBFX Merv George 13 400 375 775 2453.68 1st Jesse LaForest 16 225 225 450 1175 4th Greg Boice 07 300 325 625 2304.85 2nd Mike Egberg 19 0 0 0 415.67 7th Ron Papst 15 0 0 0 532.99 6th Scott Marshall 27 169 169 338 1204 3rd Dale Whiteside 140 0 0 0 725 5th