Credit: Denis Bourbonnais
For a second year in a row, the Hydroplane Regatta League will kick off a new season south of the border in Cambridge, Maryland on May 19-20.
Nearly 70 racing teams will be present in the saltwater of Hambrooks Bay on the 108-year-old site. Classes grouped under the HRL banner; Grand Prix, Hydro 350, Formula 2500 and 2.5 liters, will fuel the show for this first of 8 events that will take place in 2018.
A dozen boats will be reunited in the Grand Prix Class for this initial start of the campaign including the “Steeler” GP-777 which was propelled to the points championship by the Brockville (Ontario) driver, Bert Henderson last summer.
Among the changes made to the list of entries; Mathieu Daoust of Valleyfield will be driving “Miss Cleopatra” GP-9, the former “Canada Boy” GP-757 that Line Maillé acquired from Mario Blain. In addition, Andrew Tate will debut in the new “Legacy 1” GP-14, a “Jones / Wiggins” hull purchased by Richard Hearn and Mark Tate.
Brandon Kennedy will be driving an HRL boat, the new “Team H8 Cancer” GP-25 being the former “Fat Chance Too” GP-101 of Randy English. New Zealand competitors will also have a say in the championship race as Warwick Lupton and his son Jack team up with Joe Sovie in the GP-57 “Miss New Zealand”. The American driver will drive the boat in Cambridge while Jack Lupton will take over at the Gananoque, Saint-Félicien, Brockville and Valleyfield Regattas on the occasion of the 80th Anniversary.
For the others, we will see regulars on the GP circuit, namely Ghislain Marcoux / Marc Théorêt (Valleyfield Grand Prix GP-444), Mike Monahan (TM Special GP-35), Ken Brodie II (Intensity GP-50), Tommy Thompson (Fat Chance GP-525) and Marty Wolfe (GP-93). Eric Langevin who will only participate in half of the events with his “Long Shot” GP-12 will be absent in Cambridge.
A new race boat for Bobby King in Hydro 350, two brand new Auld / Henderson design boats will reinforce an already competitive class. Bobby King will show off his new “LDC Construction” H-242 and Donny Allen will be entrusted with the new version of the “Legacy 1” H-14.
Martin Rochon, of Saint-Zotique, returns to his former love in the “RTX Special” H-773 with which Nicolas Rousse won the championship in 2016 under the “Harley-Davidson” banner. Bobby Kennedy comes to the HRL at the wheel of John Huganir’s “Penzoil” H-300 and Todd Liddycoat sidelined the H-97 “Team Extreme” built in 1995; Nathalye Campeau’s former “Hydro Therapy”. Douglas Rapp succeeds Patrick Haworth in the “Bad Influence” F-79 while Gary Chalfant (F-5) will be at the wheel of the former “TM Special” H-35 and Tom Vielhauer joins his brother Bill as driver of the “Last Minute Again” H-8.
The 2017 champion, Rémy Leblanc (AllardMénard.com H-799) will still have to watch the veteran Jimmy King (H-12) and other Quebecers who occupy places on the grid; Yannick Léger (H-21) , Richard Haineault (H-2), Jonathan Daoust (H-15), Eric Mckenna (H-999), Marc Lecompte (H-104), Mathieu Lemelin (H-7), Louis Allard (H-4), Michel Raymond (H-71) and Jean-Guy Leboeuf (H-155). Kent Henderson is still a threat in the “Team Toban” H-777 as well as Derec Smith (H-13), not to mention Paul Barber (H-66) and Dave Kidd (H-67).