The heats that were completed in Brockville (Ontario) this weekend proved that the competition really is stiff in the Hydroplane Racing League. Indeed, the winners from each class reached the highest step of the podium for the first time this season.
Brandon Kennedy, in the Grand Prix class, along with Eric McKenna (2.5 litre), Douglas Rapp (Formula 2500) and Kent Henderson (Hydro 350) made the most points at the end of the qualifying rounds. Strong winds at the beginning of the afternoon on Sunday forced the officials to cancel the finals of the 4th stop on the HRL circuit.
In the Grand Prix class, fans had a glimpse of the old Brandon Kennedy, thanks to a mechanically sound boat. The driver from Bear (Delaware) won three races in as many starts in the GP-25 H8 Cancer Racing. He finished the weekend in first place with 75 points.
Jimmy King replaced Andrew Tate aboard the GP-101 Fat Chance Too and ended in second place (68 points) by winning the 3rd qualification on Sunday morning. Mathieu Daoust (2nd, 1st, 2nd) and Eric Langevin (2nd, 2nd, 1st) grabbed 67 points each, respectively in the GP-9 Meubles N. Lalonde and the GP-12 Long Shot. Langevin, who crossed the finished line just before Daoust in the 3C heat, closely won the tiebreaker. Bert Henderson’s (GP-777) forfeit on Saturday favored Marty Wolfe (GP-93) who is now alone on top of the standings.
A first for Eric McKenna
In the 2.5 litre class, rookie Eric McKenna took his first win behind the wheel of the S-999 Vegas EMK by finishing in 2nd place in two qualifications and in 4th place in the other one. Philippe Billette (1st, 6th, 1st) kept the momentum going with a 2nd place in the S-7 Air Speed and the Sébastien/Stéphanie Leduc duo finished in 3rd place with the S-100 Sans Limite.
The Formula 2500 class was all Douglas Rapp who finally got rid of the F-79 Bad Influence’s motor problems and took two 1st places. Only one point separated Bobby King (2nd, 2nd, 4th) and the F-242 Crush from the top position and Yan Beaupré (2nd, 3rd, 3rd) took the third place with another great performance in the F-36 Yancy.
Kent Henderson dominates
The Hydro 350 hydroplanes only came out twice and Kent Henderson impressed his hometown crowd by winning both times aboard the H-777 Steeler. The driver from Brockville was followed by Richard Haineault (H-2 Miss Beauharnois), who won the tiebreaker over Derec Smith (H-13).
Rémy Leblanc made a statement in the 2C qualifying heat and finished in 4th place with the H-799 AllardMenard.com, followed by Patrick Haworth (H-79), Nicolas Rousse (H-225), Marc Lecompte (H-104), Mathieu Lemelin (H-7) and Sylvain Dorais (H-32).
The Hydroplane Racing League will be in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield for the 78th edition of the Régates de Valleyfield on July 15, 16 and 17.