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by Denis Bourbonnais

Since the régates have resumed their place on the territory of the city of Beauharnois, Richard Haineault has been there. Whether it is in the pits at the Melocheville marina or on the waves of the St. Lawrence River, along Bourcier Park, the “Miss Beauharnois” H-2 is one of the centers of attention.

Richard Haineault is “Mr. Beauharnois”, the sentimental favorite, since 2008 at the Régates de Beauharnois. His 2013 boat “Auld\Henderson” is one of the fastest, year in and year out, so the Melocheville resident is always aspiring to the top honors. The day when luck smiles on him in the finals as well as in the qualifying rounds, the top step of the podium will belong to him, in Beauharnois or elsewhere.

This support for “Miss Beauharnois” comes in the form of screams in the stands every time Richard Haineault competes in the most contested category in the Hydroplane Regatta League. In 2016, the “Miss Beauharnois” supporters were pleased with the Jean-Paul Perreault Trophy awarded to the local pilot with the best performance. When things get back to normal on the HRL motocross circuit, you can’t blame Richard Haineault for dreaming of a triumphant push in a final.

Among his racing highlights, the now 56-year-old driver’s podium finishes in Cambridge, Maryland, in 2017 and his performance at the Régates de Valleyfield the year before. Haineault dominated the qualifying heats with a win and a 2nd place finish at the same place where he had taken 2nd place in the final event in 2010 during the ACHA years.

A family sport

It is after driving Mark Orechwo’s old “Mama Jama”, a “PigeonBergeron” hull built in 2000, that Richard Haineault acquired the “Aulderson” boat with which he faces the challenges of Hydro 350 competition.

Haineault, who won the title of “Most Improved Driver” in 2015, says his journey would have been different without the unwavering support of his teammates and family members. In fact, the two go hand in hand, as his wife, Tania Cousineau, his children, and his father have jumped right into the regatta adventure. His wife has officially become a team member of the “Miss Beauharnois” by taking care of collecting and distributing the statistics.

Beyond the adrenaline and the victories, Richard Haineault’s greatest pride remains the team he has built since his beginnings on the hydroplane racing scene. The Beauharlinois trusts the people around him and by learning to delegate, he has understood the importance of concentrating before taking the wheel of his car.

“What makes me happiest are the nice evenings after the races, chatting with my people. For me, it’s the definition of quality time”, says Richard Haineault. As for his 2nd place in the finals at the Valleyfield Regatta, the “Miss Beauharnois” driver considers it a highlight of his career, but not necessarily for the recognition or the awards. “I was able to take the microphone and thank my teammates as well as my wife, in person. Moments that stay with you,” Richard Haineault concludes.

Photo credits: Rod Windover Photographer

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