Denis Bourbonnais – Journal Saint-François
The 81st Regates de Valleyfield crowned a new king in the Grand Prix class on Sunday afternoon as veteran Jimmy King clinched the honors winning the final driving the GP-777 “Steeler”.
The Memphis (Michigan) driver won a 3rd career title on St. Francis Bay and a first in 29 years. The 58-year-old driver had previously triumphed in 1987 aboard the “Orange Crush” and in 1990 at the wheel of “Batten Performance”.
On Sunday in the final, Jimmy King led the race from start to finish to beat his closest pursuer, Brandon Kennedy, by more than 11 seconds in Team H8 Cancer GP-25. Mike Monahan (GP-35), Ken Brodie II (GP-50) and Douglas Rapp (GP-79) followed at the finish line while New Zealander Ken Lupton (GP-577) was unable to leave the pits.
In the competitive Hydro 350 class, Donny Allen had his first win at the Regates de Valleyfield by pushing the “Legacy 1” H-14 to victory. The driver from Neenah (Wisconsin) won a duel with Dylan Runne, his outboard friend, who finished 2nd in the H-12 Pleasure Seeker.
No less than 4 drivers jumped the gun on the start of the final, Bobby King (H-242), Nicolas Rousse (H-799), Kent Henderson (H-777) and Michael Tremblay (H-8), so with that Campivallensian Yannick Léger reached the third step of the podium with the “Super Nova” H-21. One of the favorites, Andrew Tate was forced to quit in the “Penzoil” H-300.
The Formula 2500 was all Scott Liddycoat who also achieved a first career win in the “SLR Racing” F-63. The native Ontarian, who now resides in Suffolk, Virginia, was one of only two drivers who did not jump the gun at the start and won after finishing 3rd overall in qualifying points. Liddycoat won the final ahead of Tyler Kaddatz (F-519) and the fastest of those who “jumped the gun”, Bobby King, inherited the 3rd place in the “Tenacity” F-92.
Campivallensian Marc Lalonde took 4th place in the “Lalo Racing” F-751, who battled with Bobby King for a few laps before learning he had jumped the gun. Subsequent positions were filled by Steve Armstrong (F-69), John Shaw (F-33), Kevin Smith (F-26) and Grant Hearn (F-14).
In the 2.5-liter class, the misfortune of one Valleyfield driver made another Campivallensian happy in the final. Dominic Demers seemed to have triumphed for the first time in his hometown aboard his son’s Derek’s “Wave Dancer” S-44, but the celebrations on the winners dock gave way to a bitter disappointment. Demers was disqualified upon inspection due to an illegal modification to the engine.
Yves Villeneuve, the second to cross the finish line, was declared the winner of the final. His Graf-X S-6 was ahead of Richard Wilhelm (S-404) and Alex Tremblay, 19, of Beauharnois, who enjoyed a first podium with the “Maverick” S-29. Mathis-Gabriel Chiasson (S-16), Ryan Slate (S-49) and Simon Fortin (S-199) followed while Jean-Francois Latour (S-8) was unable to start.
In the Jersey Speed Skiff class, Jimmy Stewart (JS-10) ended Tom Pakradooni’s dominance (JS-7) by more than 2 seconds at the finish. Jay Hardy (JS-22) completed the podium in front of Courtney Stewart (JS-721), the daughter of the 2019 champion, Davey Greenlaw (JS-99), Michael Hendrickson (JS-61) and Sorelois Louis-Alexandre Beaudoin (JS -30). Brandon Kennedy (JS-14) came to a stop before the start and Samuel Tremblay (JS-48) mechanical problems.
In the Cam-Am class, Paul Fitzgerald signed a 2nd win in a row at Valleyfield in April 24. The veteran driver from Concord, North Carolina, beat Jonathan Freniere of Magog in the “Heart Beat” 99. Dale Hernandez Jr. of Saint Paul, Minnesota, made the podium finish on his return to the Valleyfield Regatta at the wheel of “Widow Maker” 4 of Ontario’s Mike Smith. Paul Reid (Mad Dog 801) finished 4th while Hugh Monahan (163), Peter Hacket (2001) and Eric Hahn (106) were unable to complete their 5 laps.
Quebeckers Dominic Cournoyer (122), Joel Plourde (103), François Campeau (390) and Sébastien Leboeuf (5) could not take part in the final because of mechanical problems.
The Hydroplane Racing League continues its activities on August 3rd and 4th in North Tonawanda (N.Y.) on the outskirts of Buffalo.