Despite a pair of unusual Saturday heats where penalties cost veteran Unlimited hydroplane driver Steve David two preliminary wins at the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, things appeared to be going better on Sunday for the H1 Unlimited national high points leader who drives the No. 1 Oh Boy! Oberto boat.
By the start of the final heat, the veteran driver from Lighthouse Point, Fla., had worked his way to the top of the weekend points column and was the favorite to win his first Gold Cup in 23 attempts. He’s finished second seven times.
After three-quarters of a lap, David established a lead over Jimmy Shane in No. 5 Graham Trucking, Kip Brown in No. 95 Spirit of Qatar and Jon Zimmerman in No. 9 Team RedDot. But as the four boats came through the second turn, David was called for a lane infraction and assessed a one-lap penalty. Shane went into David’s roostertail and lost the front wing of his boat.
With David penalized a lap and Shane’s craft crippled, Brown and Zimmerman were left to race for the Gold Cup and they staged a battle that had the Detroit crowd on their feet for four laps. Zimmerman moved into the lead and appeared to have superior boat speed, but Brown’s boat handled the rough water on the inside well and he used the shorter course to take the lead and the victory from Zimmerman. Overall there were nine lead changes in the final heat.
Tom Thompson finished third in No. 11 Peters & May while Shane finished fourth and David fifth. Mike Webster in the No. 22 Roostertail 55 did not finish.
“Jon (Zimmerman) pulled out to the lead after we heard about the penalty but Jeff (Bernard, Kip’s radioman) told me to make him earn it,” Kip Brown said after winning his first career H1 Unlimited race. “After that I wasn’t going to lift and the boat just ran great.”
Brown, a 36 year old from Ravensdale, Wash., was the H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year in 2008. His boat, the No. 95 Spirit of Qatar, is owned by Our Gang Racing of Preston, Wash. The team is led by Brown’s uncle—Nate Brown, a former Gold Cup winner—and is carrying the Qatar sponsorship while last year’s winner, the No. 96 Spirit of Qatar, is undergoing repairs in Seattle.
The next stop on the H1 Unlimited tour will be the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup in Washington’s Tri-Cities area (July 26-28).