Denis Bourbonnais – Journal Saint-François
Bert Henderson, Andrew Tate and Tom Pakradooni triumphed at the Detroit Regatta (Michigan) on Sunday afternoon. Exceptionally in the absence of the Unlimited class boats the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) offered a thrilling spectacle to spectators gathered for the centennial event.
The Grand Prix final ended in an unlikely outcome when Bert Henderson took the win for Brandon Kennedy’s “Team 8 Cancer” GP-25. Bert was supposed to be driving the “GP-93”, but the Brockville driver changed seats after Saturday because of an engine failure in the “Renegade” which ended its weekend. On Sunday, Henderson took over from Marc Théorêt who was struggling with back pain, Marc had initially replaced Brandon Kennedy.
Henderson in lane two saw New Zealander Ken Lupton (GP-577) in the lead and Ken Brodie II (GP-50) in third. Henderson learned on the second lap that his opponents had jumped the gun and he managed to tame the tumultuous Detroit River until the end to savor his first GP win this season.
Two penalties were imposed on Ken Lupton, including one for changing lanes and the offense committed by Ken Brodie II at the start pushed the two drivers to third and fourth respectively. Lupton and Brodie still fought to the end of the final in front of excited fans.
Mike Monahan inherited 2nd place at the wheel of the GP-35 TM Special while Scott Liddycoat (Schaller Racing GP-39) was forced to retire. The other finalist, Tom Thompson (GP-525), dropped out before the final.
The GP-777 “Steeler” was eliminated from the final when Mike Monahan won the consolation final ahead of Jimmy King. The latter was not qualified because of a mechanical problem in the first race (1A) of the weekend.
Andrew Tate got a 2nd place finish on Saturday in the GP-14, but once again the Hearn Motorsports engine failed him in the next race halfway through a stunning duel with Ken Lupton ( Miss New Zealand II GP-577).
Bert Henderson found this victory in the final quite special, he who left the “Steeler” GP-777 team before the start of the season in unfortunate circumstances. “I wanted to beat the Steeler. I would have preferred to do it on the course. I am very happy with this win in Detroit. Thanks to the Kennedy family and Marc Théorêt, who was a gentleman and allowed me to drive the GP-25. The champion of the President’s Cup Bert Henderson told the Journal Saint-Francois,” I won this race especially thinking of Mathieu (Daoust) and I dedicate the victory of the GP-25 team to him.”
Drivers in the Hydro 350 class impressed the spectators as it has been doing since the beginning of the season, and Andrew Tate proved to be the cream of the crop in the “Penzoil” H-300. The local favorite took the lead at the exit of the first turn and he dominated the final from the second lap. The driver from Walled Lake, Michigan, left behind Kent Henderson (H-777), Donny Allen (H-14), Bobby King (H-242) Dylan Runne (H-12), Bobby Kennedy (H-79), Marc Lecompte (H-104) and Nicolas Rousse (H-799), the two Campivallensians (Valleyfield drivers) having reached the final by way of the consolations.
“It’s really satisfying to win here in Detroit in this very competitive class. I got too comfortable once in this boat and I wanted to make sure to keep her on the water, “said the winner of the” Silver Cup “, referring to the flip he made at the Long Sault Regatta last June.
In the Jersey Speed Skiff class, Tom Pakradooni (JS-7) made up for his 2nd place finish in Valleyfield and had got the best of Jimmie Stewart (JS-10) in a thrilling final for almost three laps. The driver from Glen Mills (Pennsylvania) got away from his rival on the last lap to win. Davey Greenlaw (JS-99), Max Ewancio (JS-45), Mike Hendrickson (JS-61) and Louis-Alexandre Beaudoin (JS-30) followed one another at the finish line while Samuel Tremblay (JS-48 ) did not start because of mechanical problems.