In his first race as driver of the hometown favorite Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison Unlimited hydroplane, Jimmy Shane came within half a boat length of a perfect weekend and a trip to the top of the podium on Sunday in Madison, Ind. After topping the H1 Unlimited qualifying and winning all three of his preliminary heats, Shane, who replaced the legendary Steve David in the City of Madison-sponsored boat, grabbed the inside for the start of the winner-take-all final heat with J. Michael Kelly in Graham Trucking and Jon Zimmerman in the Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar in lanes two and three, respectively.
J. Michael Kelly flies the Graham Trucking boat across the finish line in Madison, Ind.. Photo by Chris Denslow/courtesy H1 Unlimited
Shane started well in the final of the Indiana Governor’s Cup and looked to seal a clean sweep of the weekend’s events until a video replay of the start determined that he jumped the gun, an infraction that dropped him back to fourth place behind Kelly, Zimmerman and Cal Phipps in Graham Trucking II (in that order).
Throughout the day, the Ohio River took a toll on the boats and drivers—Kelly said the first turn was the roughest turn he’s ever faced in his racing career.
“At one point it knocked the boat out of shape and knocked the wind out of me,” said Kelly in an H1 Unlimited press release. “I had to get recovered physically as well as getting the boat straightened out.”
Kelly added that he was informed of Shane’s infraction about halfway through the five-lap race but didn’t want to slow down too much, knowing that Zimmerman and Phipps were right behind him.
H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole congratulated the teams for running a great race in tough conditions and for fitting the racing into one day—a format Cole has championed with the race sites.
“We started racing at 11 a.m. Sunday and were finished about 4:30 p.m.,” Cole explained. “We had a great crowd and they got to see all the racing in a little over five hours. I want to thank the Madison Regatta for helping us show the format works and is great for the fans.”
The second round of the 2014 season is this weekend as the APBA Detroit Gold Cup (July 11-13) takes place on the Detroit River for the 105th time. Shane, who carries the points lead into Detroit, will have his hands full with Kelly and company, as well as Kip Brown, who is expected to make his season debut at the helm of the new Spirit of Qatar boat sponsored by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation in conjunction with Ellstrom Racing.