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H-396 Hydro Therapy Nathalye Campeau's hydroplane in the Hydro 350 class. Photo taken from Facebook.

By Denis Bourbonnais

Gentlemen, start your engines! This well-known phrase in the motorsports world does not apply on the water anymore.

In the hydroplane racing industry, the correct saying now goes: “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.” When the starting line official will sound the beginning of the competition in Gananoque, Ontario, on Saturday, June 4th, no less than 6 women will be on the driver’s seat for this leg of the Hydroplane Racing League’s calendar, amongst the more than 60 men racing in the HRL.

The addition of Nathalye Campeau and the return of the American Alexis Weber extended the women’s division that already included Karson Kennedy, Leah Hoosick, Stéphanie Leduc and Marie-Ève Vallières.

Nathalye Campeau will be teaming up with her husband Kevin Duchesne, as they will share the wheel of the H-396 Hydro Therapy in the Hydro 350 class. Born in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and now living in Cornwall, Ontario, Nathalye raced a 5 litre class boat in the middle of the 1990s.

Alexis Weber made her mark in the 1.5 litre class and the driver from Michigan will be sitting aboard Steve Armstrong’s previous 2.5 litre boat, the Total Chaos, which has now been renamed My Way. Armstrong will in fact be taking over the S-55 throughout two racing weekends: Thunder on the River, in Long Sault and the Régates de Saint-Félicien, which Alexis will not be able to attend.

Stéphanie Leduc will once again share the S-100 Sans Limite with her brother Sébastien, while Marie-Ève Vallières, another driver from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, will begin her second season aboard the S-96 Poule Mouillée. Two Americans, Karson Kennedy (F-25 H8 Cancer Racing) and Leah Hoosick (F-27 Chaotic Dream) are moving up to the Formula 2500 class after respectively placing first and second of the 2.5 litre class’ overall standings last year.

To read the article in the Journal Saint-François: http://www.journalsaint-francois.ca/sports/2016/5/27/mesdames-et-messieurs.html [French version only]

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