Ahhh, Roseburg. This is Roseburg's third year, and it just keeps getting better, every year new improvements! Classy boat show venue at the Seven Feathers Casino indoors and on carpet no less, a respectable Calcutta, well organized pits, lots of spectators, $15,000 purse, even free lunch in the park by the pits, courtesy of Comspan Communications. Oh yeah, and just like when you go to your uncle's house for a barbecue and he dips around for two hours making chicken- the anticipation level for this first race of the year was quite high. Makes the chicken taste better too. Your uncle knows that, that's why he does it.
Moving lots of stuff
We arrived in Roseburg on Wednesday evening with two race boats, a scout boat, three pickups, five helmets, at least 10 life jackets and one driver, three navigators, a crew chief and two crew. More people were on the way too and would be trickling in on friday. The entourage swelled to fifteen people by high tide on sunday. Good lord, I used to joke about Bagshaw's bringing half of Roseburg with them, we had almost 2 percent of the population of Klamath with us! Where did they all come from? Nothing like getting away from home for a few days! Seriously, it all helped a lot. And it was also a hell of a lot of fun. I guess we have infected everybody we know with this boat racing thing.
Into the ughknown
I hadn't heard if we were running the long race or the short race, although the river from the freeway looked like it had short race written all over it. It has always amazed me that the riverbed of the Umpqua you can see from the freeway is just a solid rock pan. It looks like a concrete canal built by drunken cavemen.
The scout trip was interesting. Thinking that we would run the short course, but not being sure of that, we ran up past the short course finish line, just to see if it was do-able. We got as far as the edge of Stewart park, but that was it, no further until someone bulldozed all those rocks out of the way. It was very skinny getting there, and it was one of those deals once I got there I was wondering why I did it and how I was going to get back out! Not do-able. I hit a rock in a pool just below the bridge at Stewart park so I was now pretty much awake. We looked for a ramp, but could see no sign of one, I would have parked the boat and called Bob to come get us rather than bang his boat up some more going back down. We were at Stewart park, but we didn't know that. We could see the backs of the signs on the bridge, not the fronts. Chris climbed the bank, walked through some bridge campers living room and read the sign for us. I ran back down without a problem, but it was even skinnier seeming on the way down. Lots of whipping the wheel about and driving through bushes. The three navigators were suitably impressed. If not with my driving abilities and guts with somebody else's boat, at least with my shear stupidity! Bob's Wooldridge now has a little thump mark in front of the tunnel. We will fix it this winter. Didn't affect the way the boat handled or pulled, damn tough little boat!
Anyway, we made it back, saw the Pelkey's and Chandler's looking the river over down below- it was good seeing both of them back this year. The Chandler's (Danger Zone) had dropped out of the last few races last year because Will had a punctured ear drum and walked funny. ( I don't really know that Will walked funny, I just made that up, but if I had a punctured eardrum I WOULD walk funny! Maybe I do anyway...) The Pelkey's had taken the last few years off and came back racing with a brand new crew member. She looks an awful lot like Cassie. Maybe a little like Charlie too.
Jim Ely was driving our Kwikraft, Raven, with Lynn's son Jason Mouser navigating on saturday and Lynn's son-in-law Chris Sackett navigating on sunday. Not knowing what helmet might fit who, or what jacket might fit, we brought all we had! Plus some borrowed fire suits. Lots of stuff to drag around and keep track of.
I had talked to Derek a few days before and he admonished me "Don't let my uncle beat my old boat!". Sorry Derek, it weren't for lack of trying I will tell you.
The short story for our race was, we ran the little red boat like the devil himself was chasing us, got to really like the way it handled and went, started to get used to it, then we smacked it into a rock that I overlooked and slid into the bushes. Broken driveline, big dent next to the intake, shifted the intake up and to the left, and popped the suction piece off of the intake about 3/8 of an inch on the forward half. Also shoved the motor ahead about 3/4 of an inch. We are damn lucky that it decided to turn right and go up the bank, if it had turned left out into the river it would have sunk in about 45 seconds flat. End of the race. It is fixed as of this story, and that makes me feel better, but I felt real bad about smashing the red rocket up, it's truly a great little boat and I will endeavor to do better by it from here on out. I will also be building much tougher motor plates for it. The trip the boat took back to the ramp and onto the trailer is another story all it's own, I might try and get Chris and Jason to tell it and then write it up here. Interesting story about moving things that weigh 4200 pounds armed only with a worn out boat winch, a Toyota pickup and some sticks.
There were eighteen very nice boats at the boat show & tech inspection. A great turn out for the first race of the season and I want personally want to say thank you to everybody who pulled so hard to make it. A couple of folks got only about a half hour of seat time in their new race boats before the race, that's the kind of racers I signed up to race with! Mike Zoller put together or helped put together four of the boats, and I think all four trophied. A great job Mike! Where is YOUR boat anyway?
A-class is just awesome to watch. Used to be there was big gaps in the speeds of the A-boats, usually would be one that dominated by huge margins then all the others. Not so anymore, very close racing. How is this possible with the speeds and setups required? I'm not going to try and answer that because I don't have a clue, but it's awesome to watch. Same story in B-class, even closer racing. And these boats are not cookie cutter setups by a long shot, every motor is very different, every setup is different and still they all seem to come up with a combination that is only marginally different in speed from each other.
Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule (#277 Unpredictable) are a journeymen A-class team and took first in A-class with a series of hard, consistent runs. Sorry, but they are getting just a little bit predictable. Guess who is on the poster next year!
Barry and Charlie Pelkey have forgotten nothing in the years they have been off, Charlie's motors run great like always, even if it is a big ole rat now instead of a hyper small block. I managed to forget the new boats name, but not the number, 216! Barry clicked off 12 solid runs for second in A-class.
Will Chandler and BJ Wyatt left nothing on the table, taking third in A-class with #211, Danger Zone. And they were not too awfully far behind Paul and Barry. Anyone of these teams is capable of winning on any given day.
Steve Hanlin's new b-boat (188 White Lightning) is the latest, lightest Eagle hull with Dean Saxon's b-motor from last year. I heard speeds just bumping 100 mph. Steve is a very consistent driver, he has this ability to squeek the most out of each run and he made that payoff with a first place and a set of times that were mostly identical with the exception of his first couple of runs. Getting used to flying above it all!
Scott Adams is new to jetboat racing, but not new to racing. I heard he also races sprint cars- the steering in his boat is set up like one. Scott ran hard, and also put on a good show for the spectators, doing an imitation of a sit and spin just below where we wrecked. Congratulations on a good set of runs and second in B-class. I think you guys also get the award for best stunt driving, with all of our stunts I predict that there will be a huge turnout next year at Roseburg!
Jim Moffatt and Lois Moffat came all the way from Canada to race Roseburg. My guess is (but don't know) that Jim was taking it easy on his new navigator the first day and cut loose on the second day. Third in B-class.
Dean Saxon had his new FX 502 boat out for it's first race. Very fast, gotta be good handling and all you have to do is check the oil and put gas in it. Dean and Bob's times were close to being b-class competative. Very interesting class and I think it has a big future. Hmmm, I've got this big old boat that was built for a big block......
New racer Greg Hegemier took first in FX class in #07 with some gutty driving and a proven boat. All grins every time I saw him this weekend, really great to see! OK, you got the crazy stuff out of the way, now you don't have to do that anymore. Congratulations Greg and good job!
Jack Patterson and Son got second in #26 Bad Habit. Twelve solid runs, no muss no fuss, just drive the bus! Jack, I gotta say, I could feel you sneaking up on me all weekend. Nice to see you holding a trophy!
Jim Ely and his navigating team of Jason Mouser and Chris Sackett bagged third in #16X, Raven. I am hoping Jim didn't find my setup too weird. Lots of levers and switchs, blinking gauges and off the wall stuff. Apparently not too weird...
On to Riggins!
A big thank you for most of the great following pictures goes to Bev Padgett.
Will Chandler & B.J. Wyatt DANGER ZONE #211 - Scootin'
Gary & Bill #114 Extreme Chaos
Me and Lynn howling down the river. Photo courtesy of Bev Padgett.
Jim ELy driving Raven #16x to third in FX class.
Photo courtesy of Bev Padgett. From the bridge-
And this one from Craig Jackson, thanks Craig, great shot!
Steve Hanlin #188 White Lightning, brand new Eagle.
Gary and Bill Padgett #114 Extreme Chaos - courtesy Bev Padgett
Paul Bagshaw & Rob Soule #277 Unpredictable. Lightning on the deck. - courtesy Bev Padgett
Scott Adams #155. New racer, new boat, looked real good. Up close in the sun that paint job is stunning. - courtesy Bev Padgett
Barry and Charlie Pelkey #216. Back to whitewater after three years off and looking good as ever. - courtesy Bev Padgett
Jack Patterson & son #26 Bad Habit, took second in FX class! -photo courtesy Bev Padgett
Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule ripping the great line well over 100 mph. -photo courtesy Bev Padgett
Seth Bogner and Mitch Gomes #177, their new B-boat.