In his second race in the driver’s seat of the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison Unlimited hydroplane, Jimmy Shane delivered the team—led by crew chief Larry Hanson—and the city of Madison, Ind., its first American Power Boat Association Detroit Gold Cup win since Jim McCormick’s storied victory in 1971.
Oh Boy! Oberto driver Jimmy Shane concluded a perfect weekend in Detroit to win the first Gold Cup for the team in 40-plus years.
Shane, who added his name to the historic Gold Cup, ran conservatively in the final five-lap heat race on the Detroit River as both J. Michael Kelly in the Graham Trucking boat and Mike Webster in the Auto Value/Webster Racing hydroplane picked up penalties for score-up violations before the start. After hearing the call on the radio, Shane knew he only had to stay ahead of the other two boats—Brian Perkins in Miss Al Deeby Dodge and Cal Phipps in the Graham Trucking II boat—to win the Gold Cup, and that’s what he did.
“It feels amazing to win for the family who opened up their arms to me—I’m so happy to bring home the Gold Cup to the city of Madison,” said Shane, who capped off a flawless weekend in which he was the top qualifier on Friday and won all four of his heat races on Saturday and Sunday. “It was a perfect weekend. We couldn’t do any better points-wise. I don’t believe the Oberto boat has ever had a perfect weekend, but I could be mistaken. I’m so happy for Larry Hansen, so happy for the crew and so happy that I get the opportunity to run this boat.”
When asked by speedonthewater.com after the race who was happier—him or the team—Shane said he thought it was mutual.
“I tell you what, I think the team was overwhelmed,” said Shane, the 2013 H1 Unlimited drivers high points champion. “I saw some of them crying on the docks. It hasn’t really hit me yet—I’m sure I’ll be sobbing in a little bit.”
The Gold Cup is the one trophy that eluded longtime Oberto driver Steve David, who retired at the end of last year after assembling one of the greatest careers of any driver in the history of Unlimited hydroplane racing.
In a text from David, who was relaxing in the Bahamas over weekend, he said he was proud of Shane and the entire team for bringing home the Gold Cup.
“I have to say, I never thought we’d pull it off,” team sponsor Larry Oberto told speedonthewater.com after the Gold Cup victory. “It feels really good. It’s something the team has always chased and wanted. To be able to provide the infrastructure to watch them do it is wonderful. We were so close so many times and we just weren’t able to close it out.
“Steve (David) is such an awesome guy, I know for sure he has no regrets of anything he did and he supports Jimmy Shane and this team 100 percent,” he continued. “This one is partly for Steve, too—he helped us get here. Jimmy was a perfect replacement for Steve. He truly understands the big picture of motorsports beyond just being a driver. A lot of people want to jump in a boat and just drive, but he goes above and beyond that. Jimmy has truly earned that seat.”
For three of the H1 Unlimited race teams that had entered the weekend with high hopes, the news was even gloomier than the gray and drizzly weather that welcomed the teams and race fans on Sunday morning and eventually turned into sunny skies.
Both the Peters & May hydroplane and the ServPro Miss DiJulio were forced to withdraw with mechanical issues, while the Team Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar boat was on the trailer showing a lot of damage from a blow over accident in Heat 2A on Saturday. Driver Jon Zimmerman was unhurt but disappointed, as the boat had been running well prior to the accident.
Shane ran the final lap with a broken rear wing but got the boat to the checkered flag for the biggest win of his young career. Perkins and Phipps joined Shane on the podium, finishing second and third, respectively. Shane now holds a 550-point lead in the season points standings over Kelly as the fleet moves to the Pacific Northwest for the 49th annual Hapo Columbia Cup on the Columbia River in Kennewick, Wash., on July 25-27.
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