Last weekend’s US F1 Powerboat Tour season finale—the Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair in Seattle—saw veteran driver Tim Seebold win his third consecutive race of the year yet fall short in the overall championship to long-time rival Terry Rinker, who brought home his seventh national championship.
Driving the NGK Spark Plug/Seebold Sports boat, Seebold charged hard from third position at the start and led every bit of the 10-lap race on Lake Washington to notch his 33rd career victory. The Osage Beach, Mo., resident controlled the tempo around the 1.5-mile course and finished ahead of Rinker, who needed to finish fifth or better in his AMSOIL/Rinker Racing boat to earn his third straight championship, and the pole-sitting Chris Fairchild, who reached the podium for the third time this year in the Mercury Racing boat.
“We did what we needed to do—got a great start from third and blasted into the lead at the commitment pin and never looked back,” Seebold said. “It was a tough mountain to climb once we finished eighth at the opening round back in May in Wheatland, Mo., and we’ve chased the points ever since. By winning the final three races, hopefully we made a statement and can now keep the momentum going into the 2014 season.”
Rinker, who lives in Tampa, Fla., added to his historic title run having won the championship in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This along with his 22 career victories makes him one of the most dominant drivers in tunnel-boat history.
“It was a bit frustrating holding back the reins a bit and just making sure we finished in the top five to secure the title,” Rinker said. “We had a great season—it was solid and one I’ll long remember with the addition of my son Rob joining me on the tour. It was a dream come true for sure.”
Rinker’s son, a fast-learning rookie driver, finished fourth while Jose Mendana Jr. of Miami came home fifth running a borrowed Italian DAC hull. Mendana, who also is one of the major promoters of the series, got faster and faster in each session and did well despite a slow start at the start.
With 14 drivers from six different states and two countries participating in the fifth and final round of the tour, Mendana called the 2013 series the best in six or seven years thanks to more race teams and three new race sites. He also was extremely optimistic about the sport’s future.
“We’re hoping to have six or seven races on the schedule next year,” said Mendana, who sounded like he still needs a few days to recover from Seattle before he starts working on the 2014 season. “There are a couple of potential new sites I’m working on and we’re trying to get a championship fund sponsor as well. I’d also like to expand on the rookie program we started this year, which went very well. I think the field is going to be even more competitive next year.”