Marysville 2003

We drove down Thursday afternoon. The weather was pleasant, sunny and mid-eighties. We had a nice drive down, had a great dinner at the casino in Colusa, then on to the Fireside Inn, now called Yuba City Days Inn, the place we had stayed during the 2000 Worlds. I remember pulling into the parking lot in 2000 and being amazed by all the race boats. This time, no boats, just construction trucks.

Friday morning we headed for the park in downtown Marysville to see about a look at the river. Several crews were there tuning and pre-running. We spent a pleasant morning looking at the boats, talking to folks and and enjoying the nice weather. The boat show and tech was scheduled for about 6 PM Friday in downtown Marysville. Mike Messick offered us a ride about noon to look at the river in his 19 foot Sport. We would launch at his place, "Gilliganís Island" about halfway up the course. If you run up the Yuba, you will have no trouble figuring out what I am talking about. Mike has built a decent sized, palm roofed, open sided shed on a nice level sandy beach on the edge of his walnut orchards. It is thoughtfully furnished with a huge American flag, logs and lawn chairs for sitting on, a fire ring and a big wire spool for a leaning table. It looks like Gilliganís Island, and much beer has been consumed on that beach. It was fully staffed each day with race fans having a good time.

Terry Sharkey #276, Jim Moffat #161 yellow boat in background
Photo courtesy Jeff Rath

The Feather and Yuba were very high, both had quite a bit of current. The pre-run was uneventful, thank goodness, the river had changed a bit since 2000, but with the high water, the general result was straighter lines. I also noticed some wing dams that Mike assured me were there in 2000, but that I didnít remember seeing. Thanks for the great ride Mike, and so glad we didnít touch a thing.

Eighteen boats showed up to race. That includes three teams from Canada, (Rob Chrunyk, Terry Sharkey and Jim Moffat) and one team with two boats from Mexico, (Jose Ramos and Andres Wilson). Duane Longfellow towed from Idaho, Paul Bagshaw and Seth Bogner from the Roseburg area, Randy and Garth Sundberg and us from Northern California, Justin Boice, Dave Provost, Gary and Bill Padgett, Steve Hanlin, Jeff Bradley, Bob White and Dean Saxon from Southern Oregon. Jeff Rath is from the Marysville area and ran as an exhibition boat in FX class with his Eagle 15 ½ foot Sprint. Martin Taylor and his daughter Jessica Casner did an exhibition run also with his methanol injected hemi powered Eagle.

The boat show was like everything else about this race, done with class. It was held on a tree lined street in downtown Marysville, very nice. The local Garbage Company put on spaghetti feed for us at the restaurant right there, sign ups were on the sidewalk out front. Good spaghetti and the bar made good drinks! Seating was outside in a garden kind of patio. The Calcutta was held at the same place. I would like to name these establishments here, but I didnít write down the names as they were announced at the awards ceremony. If you know the names, please write me, the involvement of the above restaurant and the Garbage Company as well as the local plumbers union went a long ways towards making this a great race. (Not to mention Jim VanTress and Dennie Farsters running in from the fields between plantings to keep it all going!)

Seat switching and new show ups were as follows: Bob White drove Jim VanTressís Kwik Kraft #49 "Van Stress Express", Bobís boat having been totaled on the Salmon. Sharkey had bought Denny Farsterís good looking A-boat and put his own motor in it. Dean Saxon brought his boat out of retirement #107 "Velocity" (some say it was actually for sale!) mostly due to his navigator and friend Bob Nicklason's persistence. Randy and Garth Sundberg came to Marysville but havenít been to any other races this year, I think they just enjoy coming down to visit Mike and maybe wanted to show the boat a little.

The race at Marysville is short, about 13 miles, and has lots of corners. It is generally shallow and other than around the bridges in town, you would have to go out of your way to hit anything other than the bottom of the river in a shallow spot. Intentionally running over bushes doesnít count, in fact that is probably the fast way through at least one place, ask Bob White! By the end of the day Sunday, Bob had a very distinctive channel cut through those bushs. To me there is a perfect phrase for Bobís driving style: Take no prisoners!

Boats parked at the top end, Daguarro Point dam in background
Photo courtesy Jeff Rath

For a little short race, this one was tough on motors. Duane was out on the second day with maybe a broken crank, turns out to have been six burnt pistons. Dave Provost was out with a holed piston. Randy Sundberg #200 "Wild Injun" was also out on the second day with a holed piston, but were not parked at Gilligans Island. Gary and Bill Padgett #114 "Hot Pursuit II" broke a rod. Terry Sharkey #276 couldnít get the damn starter to work at the top end, but was back running on that last leg. Rob Chrunyk  #307 "El Coyote" was out, a motor problem. Jose Ramos and Fernando Carrillo #153 "Ay Mama" were out with a holed piston also. Was it just a lot of thin hot air in Marysville?

On the first day, Jeff Bradley and Dustin Van Hulzen  #42, "Morning Wood" had the boat really flying after remodeling and straightening the bottom and beefing up the pump mounts, but it was little light on itís feet and they ran it up on a gravel bar. Ouch! We saw them ripping around up above the start line before the first leg, the boat was flying good and looked plenty fast. They worked on the boat all night Saturday to fix the damage done by parking on the sandbar, and covered with bondo, they arrived at the ramp to race Sunday, but the magic was gone, they were stuck firmly in the water again. Do you know how many times I have had to learn that it is almost impossible to duplicate your last great setup? Every time I bumped a rock! Hang in there guys.

Duane and Steve Longfellow  #244 "Liquifire" handily broke down at Gilligans Island, if you gotta stop, that was the place. Bad luck after trailering all the way from Idaho, hopefully there were compensatory libations at least.

I am sorry to have to report that Jim Moffat and Eric Knoblauch  #161 "Not Guilty" did NOT get flashed at Marysville. It is one of the reasons they came all the way down here (30 hours of driving!). They were rewarded with first place in B-class, but I think that might have been because they were trying to get up and down the river as fast as possible in case a flasher was to be found just around the next corner...
Seriously, they ran a good, very fast, reliable race and made zero mistakes.  Good Job!

Seth Bogner and Mitch Gomer #177 "Exhibitionist" ran and finished, ran and finished, and kept right on doing it. That is something to strive for and it paid off with a third in B-class.

Dean's boat #107 "Velocity" proved to be no worse for being stored and sort of for sale, they brought it home with a second in B-class after some fuel system work. No muss, no fuss.

Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule #277 "Unpredictable" ran their typically quick, flawless and consistent (predictable) race. Robís builds tough, reliable motors. Paul pushes them only about as hard as he needs to but no harder. Next year is going to be something to watch. In just a few short years this team, the whole team, has matured into finishers and winners in the grand tradition. Good job guys, and class act.

I wandered over to look at the motor in Terry Sharkeyís boat. It is amazing. It appears to be the ultimate evolution in small blocks, but I am not totally sure what it was. They did tell me that they thought there were no original GM parts on it. Maybe the bolt that holds the damper on or by accident a plug in one of the oil galleys, but I doubt it. It is so high-tech that it looks like art! Phil Taylor was navigating with Terry, and I thought this was an interesting combination, a true multi-national effort! They needed some sort of involvement from one of the Mexican teams to top it off.

It is nice to see Justin Boice, Steve Burks  #221 "Boice Jet" and crew running and finishing. Justin is just as fast as he ever was, maybe faster if that is possible. Radar and everything else aside, Justin cut the fastest set of legs for both days by over a minute and that is not bad at all for a run of 78 miles with six starts!

Steve Hanlin and Adam Mitchell ran hard in the brand new green Eagle #45 "Cat Sass". They seem to save the best run for last each time, and ripped close to a minute of their first days time. I, on the other hand, save my best time until I get home and am testing! Fast boat, canny driver. A hard combination to beat. Steve said he is seriously considering buying the boat, seems to have gotten past the tire kicking stage.

Bob White pulled out all the stops. I watched an amazing display as he spent most of Friday trying this and trying that with Jim's boat #49 "VanStress Express". He gained 6 or 7 mph by all that testing and tweaking, it was something to see. Not bad at all for a boat he likely had not touched until Friday morning. Then, over the next two days, Bob took that boat out and drove the guts right out of it. I wish that someone had gotten video of the shortcut through the bushes, that would have been way too cool. I don't know why (but I'm gonna find out AFTER Gold Beach), but even with all the tweaking and tuning my black Kiwi was probably a bit faster than the red Kiwi.  Bob still beat me for second place by 8 seconds and all due to some amazing driving.  Damn, I wish there was a video of the shortcut through the brush! We saw the laid over bushes, it was quite a swath by the end of Sunday.

Ernie Fields was radaring boats and told us he got us at 79 mph going down river, 72 mph going upriver! I said that can't be right, my tank only goes 74 and that's down river. Nope, Ernie says, that's what I got you at. Ernie knows of which he speaks, so I gotta believe it, but what's going on?  It began to dawn on me that maybe the too big Kiwi is actually  kinda fast, I guess maybe I have never had it running right long enough to figure that out. I tested later on the Klamath with a GPS and got 74 upriver and 77.5 downriver, the Klamath running slower this time of year than the Yuba was when we were there. I am mystified as to why it can do this, it's too big, too heavy and is pushing through a Place Diverter for petes sake! I am turning a stock Legend aluminum B 4975, and I really don't get it. I am NOT touching ANYTHING until after Gold Beach, then I am going figure out why the dumb thing goes so good.

On to Grants Pass!

Jeff Rath #11, ran as an exhibition boat in FX class. He's got a sweet little Eagle 15 1/2 foot Sprint with a 350 TBI. It's a twin to Cavefish as I bought her, and they looked to be having a great time racing. We are hoping to see more of these guys, maybe at Gold Beach. They took some interesting photos from the boat during the boat dance, take a look.

I like this shot, just because it's different. Wonder how a shot looking back from the pointy end at speed would look?

Randy Sundberg #200, just puttin. This boat is For sale, see Marine Motorsports link on home page...

Bawaaahhhh! Hauling ass for the second bridge.

Justin and Steve warming up the oil.
The above four photos courtesy of Jeff Rath, Thanks Jeff!

RESULTS courtesy of Michelle Ely emailing them to me. Michelle's our bud, she keeps the numbers straight.

A Class:

277 Bagshaw: 29:38; 30:09 = 59:47
221 Boice: 32:36; 28:35 = 1:01:11
276 Sharkey: 40:40; 29:45 = 1:10:36
244 Longfellow 31:55; 42:04 = 1:13:59
200 Sundberg 32:44; 41:33 = 1:14:17
307 Chrunyk: 44:02; 47:54 = 1:31:56

B Class:

161 Moffat 33:49; 37:55 = 1:11:44
107 Saxon 38:04; 36:24 = 1:14:28
177 Bogner 39:43; 41:29 = 1:21:12
151 Wilson 50:31; 48:06 = 1:38:37
182 Provost 41:45; 1:09:54 = 1:51:50
114 Padgett 44:51; 1:09:54 = 1:54:45
153 Ramos 1:03:45; 1:09:54 = 2:13:39

FX Class

45 Hanlin 38:07; 37:20 = 1:15:27
49 White 38:03, 38:21 = 1:16:24
16 Laforest 38:32; 38:00 = 1:16:32
42 Bradley 1:04:40; 43:14 = 1:47:54
11 Rath 53:25; 43:06 = 1:36:31

(arrrghhhh! Eight seconds, way to go Jesse, NICE way to pay attention! )