Kip Brown won his first Gold Cup on Sunday, while veteran Steve David is still in search of his first.
David couldnt catch a break in the Detroit APBA Gold Cup.
After two disastrous Saturday heats where penalties took away preliminary wins from the 59-year-old driver of the 1 Oh Boy! Oberto, things appeared to be going much better Sunday.
By the start of the final, the veteran driver from Lighthouse Point, Fla., had worked his way to the top of the weekend points ladder and was the favorite to win his first Gold Cup in 23 tries.
He had finished second seven times.
After three-quarters of a lap, David established a lead over Jimmy Shane in the 5 Graham Trucking, Kip Brown in the 95 Spirit of Qatar and Jon Zimmerman in the 9 Team RedDot.
As the four boats came through turn two, David was called by H1 Unlimited officials for a lane infraction and assessed a one-lap penalty. Shane went into Davids roostertail and lost the front wing of his boat.
With David penalized a lap and Shanes craft crippled, Brown and Zimmerman were left to race for the Gold Cup and they staged a battle that had the Detroit crowd on their feet for four laps.
Zimmerman moved out to a lead over Brown and appeared to have superior boat speed, but Browns boat handled the rough water on the inside well and he used the shorter course to take the lead and the win from Zimmerman.
Entering the final lap, the two boats were deck-to-deck.
But Brown began to pull away and Zimmerman could not stay with him.
There were nine lead changes in the final heat.
Tom Thompson was third in the 11 Peters & May.
Shane finished fourth and David fifth.
Mike Webster in the 22 Roostertail 55 did not finish.
Right now I am so excited I dont know what to think or say, said Kip Brown. It just came to us! Jon (Zimmerman) pulled out to the lead after we heard about the penalty, but Jeff Campbell (crew chief) told me to make him earn it. After that I wasnt going to lift and the boat just ran great.
Brown, a 36-year-old from Ravensdale, Wash., was the H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year in 2008 but had never been a winner on the H1 circuit. His first win came in the biggest race of a career that started in 1995 in smaller classes.
The 95 Spirit of Qatar is owned by Our Gang Racing of Preston, Wash.
The team is headed up by Browns uncle Nate Brown, a former Gold Cup winner.
The team is carrying the Qatar sponsorship while last years winner, the 96 Spirit of Qatar, is undergoing repairs in Seattle.
Next stop on the H1 Unlimited Tour will be the Lamb Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities on July 26-28.
David was obviously upset after the race, but posted a message on his Facebook account.
Hi kids, he said. There is alot I could say, but nothing I'd be proud of tomorrow. We congratulate Kip Brown on his Gold Cup. We'll (post) video on the Oberto hydro facebook page, so everyone can make their own call on our penalty. Love you guys, you and my wife and daughter are what is keeping me off the ledge right now:))))
The Oberto team did appeal the ruling after the race, but David said the team lost the appeal and race officials refused to review the tape. If there is any consolation for David, it was that he and the Oberto team overtook Shane and the Graham Trucking team in the national high points standings lead.
David and Oberto, unofficially, have 4,673 points. Shane and Graham are next at 4,574 points heading into the Tri-Cities.
Ryan Mallow, driver of the 100 Leland Unlimited, said on his Facebook post that the team will be ready for the Tri-Cities after he flipped the boat during a Saturday heat.
Team update: we WILL be racing in Tri Cities weekend after next, his statement read. All of your kind words are greatly appreciated. I cannot wait to get back into the raceboat!