KENNEWICK -- Steve David and Dave Villwock beat the rest of the field Saturday in the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, while the boat graveyard on the Columbia River known as the first turn claimed one victim, injured another and nearly got a third.
David, driving the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, and Villwock -- in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar -- each won their preliminary heats with relative ease.
David took Heat 1A, despite a bad start that put him behind Nate Brown in the U-17 Miss Red Dot.
"I got schooled at the start," admitted David. "I was about a second off my mark. I thought that this was not going to be pretty."
But David caught Brown on the backstretch on the first lap, then held him off the rest of the way.
Brown, who finished second, was happy with the start.
"I was on my mark," he said. "I had good speed, but it's still not enough with those two guys (David and Villwock) in front of me."
Villwock took Heat 1B, but he didn't have to run the full three-lap heat to get the win.
Villwock was easily ahead when the race was halted after Ken Muscatel hooked his U-25 Superior Racing in the first turn on the third lap.
Muscatel's boat hit a hole in the first turn. It hit a second roller with the left sponson first, hooking it as the right side came down and exploded with debris flying everywhere.
Muscatel was OK, but the boat was taking on water on the right side. Rescue sleds got it back to shore, but Muscatel's weekend is done.
About an hour after the accident, he still looked stunned.
"It was pretty violent," he said. "In some ways it was worse than when I broke the boat in two a few years ago. It put a hole in the new sponsons. It's just plug ugly."
Muscatel called the first turn on the Columbia River the worst on the circuit.
"It's terrible," he said. "It's unreal. It was like hitting a wall."
The first turn has always been a problem spot for drivers, especially when six boats are on the river at the same time. The water in the turn, rather than continuing on downstream, tends to mill around like an ocean from everybody's wakes.
Earlier in the race, Jon Zimmerman in the U-37 Miss Peters & May barely avoided disaster when his boat lifted up going through the same turn.
"It was rough out there," said Zimmerman. "I touched off something, but I was able to get the boat back down. No harm. But it's still pretty rough. That was the hardest I have ever taken a hit in a boat."
Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Formulaboats.com wasn't so lucky. In Heat 1A, his boat lifted up a bit and hit hard coming into the first turn.
Debris could be seen flying up into the air. It turned out to be his propeller, and rather than make it through the turn, Bernard just steered the boat off of the course toward the blue bridge before shutting it down.
The propeller shot straight through the rear stabilizer, putting a large-sized hole in it.
"(The propeller) broke right after it hit the water," said Bernard, who also burned up the motor in the process. "It could not go forward. But I think everything will be OK. I just wanted to get out of the way of the other boats."
No one, however, is surprised by the conditions.
"It's the Columbia," said David. "It's rough water."
"It's gonna be rough out there," he said.
David and the Oberto got 400 points, while Brown picked up 300.
Brian Perkins and the U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance placed third for 225 points, while Mike Webster in the U-22 Matrix Systems had 169 points.
Mark Evans drove the U-57 Formulaboats.com to a fifth-place finish -- his first heat race since 2003 -- for 127 points.
"I didn't push it," said Evans. "I was looking for clean water out there."
Villwock earned 400 points going into today's races, while J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 placed second for 300 points.
Cal Phipps finished third in the U-13 Spirit of Detroit for 225 points, while Zimmerman in the U-37 was fourth for 169 points.
Greg Hopp in the U-100 Fleury Auto & Truck Parts was fifth for 127 points.
Race fans will get an added bonus today when Oberto and Qatar face each other in Heat 2B at 11:25 a.m. But because of the inverse lane assignments, Oberto will start in lane 4 while Qatar starts in lane 5.
Heat 2A starts at 10:55 a.m. The Columbia Cup final is set for 4:50 p.m.