Denis Bourbonnais – Journal Saint-François
Let the games begin…well maybe. The list of teams competing in the Grand Prix class in 2020 was obtained by the “Journal Saint-François” with one or two places remaining.
The most important news is without a doubt is the confirmation that Line Mayer’s “Miss Cleopatra” will be back on the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) circuit next season. The boat will sport a new number out of respect for Mathieu Daoust, who died in the Brockville Ontario regatta last June. As for the driver who will occupy the seat of the boat once the repairs are made for the next campaign, he will be named later.
In addition to “Miss Cleopatra”, a spot has been officially reserved for 9 other racing teams: GP-12 Pleasure Seeker (Jimmy King, driver), GP-14, GP-25 (Brandon Kennedy), GP -35 TM Special ( driver to be named), GP-39 Schaller (Scott Liddycoat), GP-50 Intensity (Ken Brodie II), GP-79 Bad Influence (Douglas Rapp), GP-525 Fat Chance (Tom Thompson) and GP -777 Steeler (Andrew Tate).
There will remain two places to fill and one of these should be occupied by Martin Rochon who has indicated his intention to return to Grand Prix next year. According to the information obtained, Rochon would drive his old boat, the “RTX Racing” H-773 which became the “GP-444” in 2018. The driver from Saint-Zotique could drive a boat that would be powered by a new engine type, different from those used in the Grand Prix class since its return in 2007.
There is also a possibility that Dennis Johnson and Marty Wolfe’s “Renegade” GP-93 will re-enter the circuit, either full-time or part-time, bringing the fleet to the desired number of 12 boats.
However, this list is subject to change. While members of the Lupton family are undecided about their future in HRL, Mario Blain and Robin Demers definitely want to come back. The tandem of the “Canada Boy” GP-757 team is studying the different options available.
The “GP-57” with which Jack Lupton was involved in the fatal crash in Brockville will be repaired. As for the “Miss New Zealand II GP-577” that Ken Lupton drove in 2019, the boat was sold to the New Zealand family but it’s possible that the boat remains here in New York State.
Things can still change for 2020 and at the time of writing, the “Journal” has learned that negotiations are going on concerning the future of the GP-14. It should also be mentioned that Bert Henderson is still without a seat in Grand Prix. “We are confident we will have the target number of 12 GP boats next year, which will result in 3 qualifying heats of 4 boats each,” said HRL Commissioner Didier Séguin.
Finally, let’s mention that Jim Martin’s “Hot Tamale” GP-43, which was to be driven by Tony Black, will be taken back by the Hydroplane Racing League after a year of deprivation for this team.