Oh Boy! Oberto hydro wins appeal, declared San Diego winner

Tri-City Herald sports editorOctober 31, 2012 

Wednesday was great for Steve David and the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto team.

The team learned that its appeal of losing the San Diego Bayfair race in September was upheld by a committee assigned to hear the appeal.

David drove the Oberto to what looked like a victory in the final at Bayfair. But after the race, officials determined that the Oberto had a flagrant fuel violation, and the team was disqualified.

Jimmy Shane and the U-5 Graham Trucking were declared the winners.

But the Oberto team filed an appeal, claiming the problems were no different than in previous heats that were legal.

H1 Chairman Sam Cole appointed a committee to handle the appeal.

On the H1 website, committee chairman Fred Hauenstein wrote: "The H-1 rules require that the low pressure flow rater data ONLY be used to judge legality of a contestant. However, in the final heat, the U-6 low pressure flow rater data was judged to be in error. There was an unacceptable amount of 'noise' in the signal, and the high pressure flow rater data was consistent with previous heats in which the low data was legal."

The committee recommended that the appeal be upheld, and the H1 board of directors voted to accept it.

"I feel much better today," David told the Herald from his Florida home in a telephone interview Wednesday. "We absolutely thought we were in the right. The people on the appeals committee are really good people who looked at the evidence, and they were unanimous in their decision."

With the victory, Oberto gets back 400 points in the national high points race entering the Oryx Cup -- the season finale set for Jan. 10-12 in Doha, Qatar.

Shane and Graham Trucking drop one spot, losing 100 points. Dave Villwock and the U-1 Spirit of Qatar, which had been second at Bayfair before the appeal, lost 75 points.

"It's a 475-point swing on Dave," David said.

Indeed, Oberto would have headed into the final race with a precarious 177-point lead over Villwock for the national high points championship.

Unofficially, it's now a 652-point lead.

"We've just got to keep our noses clean," David said. "A couple of firsts, a couple of seconds, and we win the title."

That would mean David and Oberto would regain the title they won from 2008-10. Villwock and the Qatar won the 2011 championship.

* A fleet of 10 unlimiteds will leave from Savannah, Ga., on Saturday for Doha, Qatar.

The cargo ship carrying the fleet is expected to arrive in Qatar around mid-December, about a month before the Oryx Cup.

What's interesting is the fleet will stay an extra month and race again Feb. 9-12 in what will be considered the 2013 season opener.

It makes sense to have more than one race if the teams must travel that far.

* Want to relive this past summer's Lamb Weston Columbia Cup? Watch ROOT Sports at 4:30 p.m. today for a replay.

It also will be shown on ROOT at 1 p.m. Friday; 10 p.m. Monday; 4:30 p.m. Tuesday; and 9 p.m. Wednesday.

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