Brandon Kennedy, Frederic Couturier, Douglas Rapp and Tom Huganir took the top honors in the finals at the 80th Regates de Valleyfield on Sunday, with some 35,000 spectators gathered around St. Francis Bay.
Paul Fitzgerald, in the Can-Am class, and Tom Pakradooni, in Jersey Speed Skiff, were the other winners in the categories that are not part of the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL).
The primary class of the classic Campivallensian event was won by Brandon Kennedy aboard the “Team H8 Cancer” GP-25. The Bear (Delaware) driver took advantage of the penalties to Jack Lupton (GP-57) and Mike Monahan (GP-35), who jumped the gun at the start, to win a career title in Valleyfield.
The favorite, Bert Henderson, hooked in the GP-777 “Steeler” and had to settle for 2nd place. New Zealand’s Jack Lupton, who was the first to cross the finish line at the wheel of the “Miss New Zealand”, was third on the podium because he jumped the gun by half a boat length. Mike Monahan (TM Special) finished 4th and Jimmy King, who also jumped the gun, took 5th place in the GP-50 Intensity.
Douglas Rapp took the honors in the restart of the final of the Hydro 350 class aboard the “Bad Influence” H-79. (Photo: Pierre Langevin)
A local driver saved the day for the Quebec drivers, as Frédéric Couturier was able to celebrate on the podium following his victory in the “Hydroid” S-313. The native Campivallensien benefited from the misfortunes of Derek Demers (Wave Dancer S-44) and Tommy Shannon (Valleyfield S-4 Auto Parts) to sign his first victory in 12 years at the Valleyfield event.
Derek Demers was heading for a win after dominating the qualifiers when he was forced to stop in the third lap. A heartbreaking finish was also awaiting Tommy Shannon who, after spinning out while in the lead, he hooked in the West turn with a lap to go. Shannon finished 3rd behind Richard Wilhelm (Power Shot S-404), who celebrated his 54th birthday with a 2nd place finish. Philippe-Hervé Cardinal (S-222) inherited 4th place ahead of Alex Tremblay (S-29) and Ryan Slate (S-49).
In the Hydro 350, Douglas Rapp (Bad Influence H-79) proved he was the cream of the crop to win a second straight time at Valleyfield, having triumphed in Formula 2500 last year. The Connecticut driver won by just over 5 seconds over Rémy Leblanc (AllardMénard.com H-799) from Coteau-du-Lac and Jonathan Daoust (Water Ghost H-15) from Saint-Polycarpe. Kent Henderson (H-777), Michael Tremblay (H-8) and Bobby King (H-242) followed one another at the finish.
Bobby King, who dominated throughout the weekend, was unlucky on the initial start. A solid first place after 2 and a half laps at the controls of his new hull “Auld”, he fell victim to the circumstances when the race was stopped due to a flip by Jeff Bernard in the “Fly Boy” H-5. Winner in the Friday final and victorious in 4 of his 5 outings, King was unable to make the restart. His father, Jimmy, could not come back either because of the mechanical problems with the “Pleasure seekers” H-12.
Another driver enjoyed his glory day in Formula 2500 as Tom Huganir led the final from start to finish in the Busted Prop Racing F-69. The one and only “Johnny Douche” was ahead by 3 seconds over Kevin Smith (F-26) and Bobby King (F-92) finished 3rd, followed by Jeff Bernard (F-135). Dylan Runne (F-3) and Guillaume Charrette (F-17) jumped the gun while Tyler Kaddatz (F-519) was slowed down after hooking twice. Yves Villeneuve, who worked on the engine following his first 2 wins at Valleyfield in qualifying was never been able to leave the pits for the final.
Tom Pakradooni (JS-7) showed his strength for an 11th consecutive year in Jersey Speed Skiff ahead of Jimmie Stewart (JS-10) and Warren Brown (JS-771) while Paul Fitzgerald (No. 24) went on alone alone in the Can-Am class. The other two places on the podium were occupied by Campivallensian François Campeau (4) and Dominic Cournoyer (122) of Sorel-Tracy`