Jean Théorêt tops the charts with 5 points championships
Denis Bourbonnais – Journal St-François
With the passing years my memory is no longer foolproof. The author of these lines awarded a third points championship to veteran Jimmy King in the Grand Prix class when he drove the “Steeler” GP-777 to win the 2019 title last Sunday at the 13th Regates de Beauharnois. Further research has revealed that the legendary Michigan driver has four career championships on the motorboat scene at the helm of a GP.
The last win goes back to 1995, 23 years ago, when Jimmy King propelled Roger Mahan’s “Pleasure seeker” GP-2 to a first title in the Grand Prix class at the time of the “Export A inc. “series In a season when the supercharged “Chrysler Hemi” powered boat had a 95% efficiency rating having virtually completed all of its races, the King took the “Triple Crown” in Dubuque, Iowa during a period where 3 championships were at stake.
Jimmy King secured the “Casino de Montréal” drivers’ championship and North American points title (the overall standings), at the last event of the season in Iowa on Sunday, August 13th. The week before, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, he won the “Export A Championship”, awarded exclusively for Canadian competitions.
As luck would have it, King was the first to cross the finish line driving the GP-2 in Dubuque, Iowa, but was penalized for obstruction to the Gator. GP-34. This controversial move relegated King to sixth place behind Jean Théorêt (GP-7), Jeff Richards (GP-444), Claude Bergeron (GP-34), Réjean Blanchet (GP-772) and George Kennedy Jr. (GP -25). The GP-2 team still had enough points to win the championship.
On Sunday, September 7th in Beauharnois, Jimmy King dominated the final from end to end in the GP-777 Steeler only to find out that he had made a mistake during the starting procedure which sent him back to 4th place. The 8 points earned by King, who was tied with Brendon Kennedy before the final, allowed him to win the 2019 Championship.
In 1995, Jimmy King told the “Journal Saint-François” after winning his 3 championships: “While we could not buy a victory last year, our team has seen its efforts rewarded this year. Our average of exceptional efficiency (95%) reflects the work done by GP-2 team members this season. “
As it was never easy for King, he had won the “Export A Inc. Championship ” despite contact with Jeff Richards (GP-444) while they were racing side by side which did not prevent him from finishing 2nd in the final. That year, Patrick Haworth (2.5 liters) and Eric Labelle (5 liters) had also won championships. Who was the winner in 5 liters at Summerside? George Kennedy Jr. aboard the “Itech” CE-5 property of Warren Haworth.
Coincidentally, like Jimmy King, the owner of the “Pleasure Seeker” team, Roger Mahan also waited 23 years to celebrate another championship but in Hydro 350 this time while Dylan Runne won the 2019 HRL title with the “H-12”.
In 1989, Jimmy King won his second GP Championship with the Orange Crush GP-151 on the trailer in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the final being canceled due to high winds. The points accumulated during the weekend had been enough to allow the driver from New Baltimore (Michigan) to get his hands on the title. Notably, Daniel Brossoit stood out in Dartmouth in “The Executive” GP-11 to move to second place in the championship. The final tally read as follows: Jimmy King (2500 points), Daniel Brossoit (2300), Maurice Plouffe (2285), Robert Theoret (2144), Mike Endres (1866), Jean-Pierre Lessard (1969).
It was in 1987 at the age of 25 that Jimmy King Won his first championship against all odds. Testing the new “Auld” hull on Friday night at the Regates de Valleyfield when testing was possible on St. Francis Bay, King made a remarkable achievement following this first test by eventually driving the “Orange Crush” GP-151 to a convincing triumph in the final Sunday ahead of Bruno Brossoit (Executive GP-11).
It was a second win in a Grand Prix final for Jimmy King who had his first win in Toledo, Ohio, in 1983. “This feeling of winning in Valleyfield is second to none. It’s fantastic. The future of the Grand Prix class depended on these new boats, the ” Crush ” and that of Bill Ireland (GP-12), boats built by Jamie Auld he said.
With 5 wins in 9 outings in this 1987 season, Jimmy King grabbed the championship the Syracuse Regatta (NY), winning the final ahead of Wes Carmen, Bill Ireland, Mike Endres, Jeff Richards, Charles Arcand, Ken Brodie Sr. and Maurice Plouffe.
The championship won in Beauharnois allows Jimmy King to close in on the leader, Jean Théorêt who has 5 Championships in Grand Prix, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. The king is now tied with Robert Théorêt in 2nd place thanks to his 4 championships. Bert Henderson, Pierre Maheu and Ken Brodie Sr. follow with 3 championships while Brandon Kennedy, Marty Wolfe and Alan “Bo” Schide claim two high point championships in the Grand Prix class.
List of championships in Grand Prix since 1977
Jean Théorêt GP-7 5 wins (1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000)
Jimmy King GP-2, 151, 777 4 (1987, 1989, 1995, 2019)
Robert Theoret GP-444 4 (1982, 1983, 1984)
Bert Henderson GP-777 3 (2012, 2015, 2017)
Pierre Maheu GP-46, 1001 3 (2008, 2010, 2011)
Ken Brodie Sr. GP-55 3 (2001, 2004, 2007)
Brandon Kennedy GP-25 2 (2014, 2018)
Marty Wolfe GP-93 2 (2009, 2016)
Alan Schide GP-777, GP-1 2 (1991, 1992)
Patrick Haworth GP-57 1 (2016)
Guy Verdon GP-101 1 (1996)
Jeff Richards / F. Cardinal GP-444 1 (1993)
Mike Endres GP-17 1 (1990)
Marty Niles GP-777 1 (1986)
Jean-Pierre Lessard GP-404 1 (1985)
Jules Leboeuf GP-155 1 (1981)
Tom Baker GP-242 1 (1980)
Marcel Laberge GP-77 1 (1979
Tom D’Eath GP-4 1 (1978)
Larry Lauterbach GP-444 1 (1977)