Denis Bourbonnais / Journal St-Francçois
The finals of the 13th edition of the modern day Saint-Félicien Regatta gave rise to two premieres Sunday on the Ashuapmoushouan river as Philippe-Hervé Cardinal took the honors in the 2.5 litres class and Kent Henderson drove the GP-777 “Steeler” to the winner’s circle on his second career Grand Prix weekend.
Rémy Leblanc in Hydro 350 and Dylan Runne in the Formula 2500, were the other winners of the event that attracted one of the best crowds since the return of hydroplane racing to Lake Saint-Jean. While the first day was difficult for some of the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL) teams because of a number of withdrawals and damaged boats, Sunday’s program provided exciting events.
The final test of the 2.5-liter class was rerun due to the stopping of Derek Demers’ “Wave Dancer” S-44, one of the favorites, and it was driver Philippe-Hervé Cardinal who seized the opportunity on the restart to propel his “Unipro” S-222 to a convincing victory.
The driver from the municipality of Les Cèdres took the lead from the start and he never looked back for the first win of his young career. Cardinal beat Tommy Shannon by 7 seconds aboard the S-4 “Valleyfield Auto Parts”. Frédéric Couturier (S-313), Ryan Slate (S-49) and Stéphane Joannette (S-107) followed at the finish line.
In the Grand Prix class, Kent Henderson took advantage of a breakdown of Mike Monahan’s “TM Special” GP-35 to run away with the victory aboard the “Steeler”. At the helm of the 2017 championship boat in the absence of her brother Bert, the driver from Brockville, Ont., Had to start from the 5th Corridor in order to respect his restrictions at his 2nd GP event. Henderson seemed to be heading to a second place finish when Mike Monahan came to a halt on the final lap in the GP-35. Henderson preceded the only other competitor who completed the race, Mathieu Daoust, at the wheel of “Miss Cleopatra” GP-9. New Zealand’s Jack Lupton, who got the inside lane, stopped in the first turn in the Miss New Zealand GP-57 and Eric Langevin did the same in the second lap at the wheel of the Long Shot GP-12. Scott Liddycoat, who was entrusted with Marty Wolfe’s “Renegade” GP-93, was unable to leave the pits.
In Hydro 350, defending champion Rémy Leblanc won his first final of the season in the “AllardMénard.com” H-799. The driver from Coteau-du-Lac was presented with the checkered flag ahead of Jonathan Daoust (Water Ghost H-15) and Derec Smith (H-13). Kent Henderson was in the lead position in the H-777 “Team Toban” before learning that he had jumped the gun in front of Bobby Kennedy aboard “Penzoil” H-300. Richard Haineault finished at the foot of the podium in the “Miss Beauharnois” H-2 ahead of Dave Kidd (H-67) and Douglas Rapp who made a hook in the “Bad Influence” H-79.
The Formula 2500 was all Dylan Runne who dominated the final at the helm of the “Miss Jesel” F-3, eclipsing Grant Hearn (F-14) by 9 seconds. Douglas Rapp led Doug Martin’s “F-33” to third and Bobby King, penalized for an offense on the course, was relegated from 4th to 8th place with the “Tenacity” F-92. Yves Villeneuve inherited 4th place in the “Graf-X” F-6, followed by Tyler Kaddatz (F-519), Yan Beaupré (F-36) and Guillaume Charrette (F-17).
The next stop on HRL circuit will be in the Ontario city of Brockville during the long Canada Day weekend, June 30th and July 1st.