Let me start of with the one thing that overshadowed everything that happened at Marysville. It was HOT! As in record temperatures, 103 to 106 every day. The filling in my Oreos melted, Lynn and I and all the other moldy coasties were drinking water by the gallon. Lost about 100 rpm purely due to heat. Hot.
The Feather and Yuba were down from last year, the Feather a bit more than the Yuba it seemed. The start line had been planned for Boyd's Pump, about 5 miles down the Feather from the Yuba, but a nasty falls/riffle a couple of turns up from the start had become low and treacherous enough that the organizers decided shredding half the boats on the first leg was a bit too much to ask in the name of whitewater racing so the start line was moved up the Feather to just above the falls and that helped complicate the start a little. Here's how it went: launch at the park in Marysville then run downriver and gather below the start line, just above the falls. From there on it was business as usual, hit your time and go.The uprun finish line was just below Daguerro (spelling?) Point Dam just like last year.
The finish on the down leg was a right turn UP the Feather at Marysville
and about a quarter mile run to the line at the park. All very simple when
explained to us by Leigh Johnson, this years race director.
I think I can now accurately prognosticate what service Leigh served in. MARINES! He is an ex-racer from the Ed Kammer/Denver Nelson/Steve Zimmerman (and many others) era and as such expected us unruly and unkempt racers to perform true to form and reputation. No nonsense of that type was to be entertained and he let us know right away who was boss and were the cat pooped, etc.
I am being purposely over descriptive, but what it boiled down to is this was too big of a race and too important to let it fly apart by people not using their heads and following the basic safety and race rules. The message was we were going do the whole thing right. Things were a bit flaky at first (missed promised lunches, long slow refuel lines, missed start times) but I think that was to be expected, the logistics involved in putting on one of these races with almost 45 boats, trucks, trailers, crew, safety people, public announcments and communication, timing, etc. etc. etc. is staggering if you will just take a moment to imagine doing it with a crew of unpaid volunteers. It was obvious that the logistics were geared towards 70 boats, not the 45 that did race.
The first surprise, for me anyway, was that the c-class stock motor rule was to be enforced in spirit and letter. I had been asking questions in the process of building my motor this year, but I hadn't asked the correct ones I guess. That meant that the two changes I had made from stock, flex plate instead of flywheel and pump pressure cooling instead of water pump circulation had to come off. I spent most of thursday morning scouring Marysville and Yuba City for a flywheel. I had the water pump with me. I finally found what I thought was the right flywheel at Hust Brothers on third street, but after a quick trial fit and a return to Hust Brothers I did have the right one on the motor. Del Ramsdell inspected the c-class and Mike Zoller, (much too cheerily) sprayed copper colored no-tamper paint on my valve cover bolt, bellhousing bolt, motor mount and pump. He also looked sideways at my teaching-myself to-weld-aluminum, very large but strong motor mount welds. He was kind enough not to say anything disparaging though.
The second surprise was the 4$ a gallon fuel that we were required to run in our stock (and I mean STOCK) motors. The first thing I heard about the fuel deal with Union 76 was that we were going to get fuel at a reduced price and that we could fuel in the pits instead of going to the gas station in Marysville. OK cool, I always have used Union 76 92 octane anyway. The next thing we heard was that, no it would be the normal price but that we had to use Union 76. Well that's OK too, same result. I had budgeted for fuel. At $1.80 a gallon. I know this is funny to B-class and up, they have always had to pay $4.00 a gallon for gas, but now it was costing me a hundred dollar bill to fill up instead of about $45. AND somehow my tank capacity had grown from 23 gallons to 26. Oh well, says I to me, that's the way it is and you ain't gonna change it now. Start peeling off the $100 bills. It's always the little things, ain't it?
ANYway, we raced. The Yuba is a windy, shallow, snaggy, sorta rocky run with no whitewater to speak of, but still challenging all the same. We made two up and two down runs each day. The morning run was pleasant enough, but the wait at the top end in the heat was murder, again mostly affecting the coasties. I can't complain too much, I have to remember the Sharkeys from so far north in Canada that the rivers hadn't even thawed enough to let them test run the boat when they left for the Marysville race! Talk about climate shock. If I have it figured right the Kiwis had just gotten into their fall weather when they left home, so they must have been a bit aclimated??? The crew at the top end DID have lots of cold water for us to drink and that was very, very much appreciated. Soda pop too, sometimes. Here is were Lynn and I met Mike Wilson, an SST-45 racer from APBA and Frank Banducci also an ABPA rep. Two real nice gentlemen of advanced experience so into boat racing that they will even come and help officiate at our races! Hope I still am loving it at their age.
Notable crashes, hiccups and stuff: Richard Boice hit a rock and dadoed up onto a rock bar, no inuries except it looks like his pump hit a land mine. Justin Boice went on a flying sojurn into the bushes in roughly the same spot, how and why I didn't hear. Sam Waller lumped a rock and he and Rob his navigator, Ryan McGinnis and some helpful Kiwis had the Ms. Cheryl off the trailer and on the lawn at the Fireside, pounding the bejesus out of the area under the firewall. Dave Provost ran up the false Yuba channel ( I did too, but got turned and out of there), spun out and the little Ford inhaled some water. When he restarted it, it overstressed a rod through hydraulic action and that failed the next day. They resleeved the block and ran it with two .05 short rods. The 552 Kiwi boat did a spectacular 90 mph reverse flying pump plant and sank just above the north bridge. That was caught on video by Hugh McGinnis son as was the interesting sequence of the little red rescue boat that Sealand/Maersk (304) brought pulling it right off the bottom and up on the beach! That little red boat has some serious grunt. Tim Harding and Mike Phillips tried to do a little logging on the second day but Mike couldn't get a good hook so the log lumped the boat. Didn't stop them and it actually didn't look as if it even slowed them much. No crew injuries in any of the above that I know of. Dean Saxon's pump inhaled Bondo from the bottom of his boat. (Side note: The Kiwis call it BOG. In the interest of international fellowship I endeavor to also call it BOG from now on.) Dean's navigator was injured from lifting the boat I think and could not continue. Dean and his new navigator then crashed a couple of turns down from the upper start line, no injuries except to Velocity. Dwain Longfellow fought a running scirmish with motor gremlins, at one point leaving the line with the motor sounding exactly like the bad guys pod racer in the latest Star Wars movie. You know the sound, Chung CHung Chung CHung. Sounded kinda cool actually. Bob White changed a motor in the foyer of the Fireside, made an interesting picture. I am real curious to see how the new hulls that Bob and Dave Provost are using work. I really get off on new ideas.
C-class from our view:
Lynn and I spent two days chasing Hugh and Ryan Mcginnis in 00, tried everything I know and could invent on the spot, but they consistently put 2 seconds a mile on me. Looks like Jack has put together a winning team and boat. The race in c-class ended up being Hugh and Ryan followed closely by all the rest of us!
LOTS of spectators, especially at the railroad bridge coming into Marysville. One young person jumped off one of the bridges into the river directly in front of Spencer King on a down leg on the first day and Spencer just about wrecked trying to get slowed and avoiding the uncontrolled spectator. Tim Harding, hard on his heels also was doing some fancy driving to get slowed to avoid Spencer and the spectator. Where were the safety and control people?? I saw lots of people right by the water also, way too close. Killing spectators is not a real great public relations move.
I will be going through Lynn's notes and adding more, so if I haven't
trited you to death, check back in awhile.