The last event of the season of the Hydroplane Racing league (HRL) crowned the champions in all four classes, this past weekend, at the 10th edition of the Régates de Beauharnois.
A large crowd was gathered in the Bourcier Park to witness four drivers rise to the top of the standings to win the championship: Marty Wolfe (Grand Prix), Nicolas Rousse (Hydro 350), Donald Leduc (Formula 2500) and Claude Abbott (2,5 litres) took the honors. Andrew Tate (GP), Jimmy King (H-350), Tom Huganir (F-2500) and Claude Abbott (2.5 L) were victorious in the finals, held on Sunday afternoon.
We had to wait until the very last race of the season to find out who would succeed to Karson Kennedy as champion of the 2.5 litre class. Philippe Billette (S-7 Airspeed) had a mere 3-point lead over Claude Abbott (S-67) in the overall standings before the ultimate race, but lost the title at its very beginning, when he was too quick to cross the starting line.
Claude Abbott then lead the final from start to finish, followed by Sébastien Leduc (S-100), Kevin Smith (S-26), Tommy Shannon (S-4) and Derek Demers (S-44). Abbott ended the season with a total of 524 points, with Philippe Billette (506) and Sébastien/Stéphanie Leduc (455) rounding up the podium.
In the Formula 2500 class, Donald Leduc confirmed his second championship victory in a row during the 3rd round of qualifications on Sunday. The Salaberry-de-Valleyfield driver gathered 506 points in 2016, overshadowing Bobby King (483) and Rob Stevenson (458). In the final in Beauharnois, Tom Huganir (F-69) was dominant in front of Bobby King (F-242), Mike Monahan (F-79), Guillaume Charette (F-17) and Brandon Kennedy (F-25).
Another competitor from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Nicolas Rousse, was granted the title in the Hydro 350 class by the end of the very first day of action, on Saturday. The driver of the H-225 Boutin Harley Davidson Valleyfield gained a total of 557 points, followed by Patrick Haworth (496), Yannick Léger (495), Derec Smith (494) and Rémy Leblanc (491). The latter slipped from the 2nd to the 5th spot because of propeller issues and a false start during the consolation final. In the last race of the season, veteran Jimmy King (H-12) grabbed a third victory in four heats, beating Donny Allen Jr. (H-14), Derec Smith (H-13), Patrick Haworth (H-79) and Marc Lecompte (H-104).
In the Grand Prix class, Marty Wolfe (GP-93) was also crowned champion as early as Saturday because of mechanical issues that affected both Tom Pakradooni (GP-88) and Bert Henderson (GP-777). The driver from Chicago (Illinois) stands on top of the standings with 589 points, followed by Éric Langevin (530), Andrew Tate (528), Tom Pakradooni (496) and Bert Henderson (489).
Andrew Tate, who took advantage of Éric Langevin’s forfeit before the start of the race, dominated a promising final. The driver from Walled Lake (Michigan) lead the GP-101 Fat Chance Too to the winner’s circle in 2:45,21 to win two consecutive weekend of competition, after his victory in Detroit. Two drivers from the province of Quebec stepped on the podium; Mathieu Daoust (GP-9) finished second, less than 3 seconds behind Tate, and Mario Blain (GP-757) took the third position. The Canada Boy has not missed one start in its comeback season.
The HRL organization paid a special tribute to Tom Pakradooni, who announced he would not be returning next season, after nine years behind the wheel of the GP-88 Rolling Thunder.