DETROIT -- Dave Villwock reached the 'Big 60' on the Detroit River on Sunday, winning his 60th career hydroplane race and eighth Gold Cup championship by taking the 101st Jarvis Restoration Detroit APBA Gold Cup in perfect fashion in the U-96 Spirit of Qatar.
And it was a perfect weekend of racing for Villwock.
He was the top qualifier, won all four preliminary heats and then went on to victory in the winner-take-all final.
Villwock's eighth Gold Cup victory tied him for second place with legendary Bill Muncey, and he's three Gold Cup wins behind the all-time leader, Chip Hanauer.
It was Villwock's 60th career win as an unlimited driver -- one behind Hanauer and two behind Muncey for the all-time record.
"I have to thank Chip Hanauer and Bill Muncey for the path that they have paved to make it all possible," said the 56-year old Villwock. "Unbelievable, unbelievable to match the numbers, just unbelievable."
While Villwock earned the inside lane by virtue of his four heat wins, he still had to worry about Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, which started next to him in lane two on a choppy Detroit River course.
The final was delayed 25 minutes due to high winds, but the winds didn't subside very much.
"The course was very rough," said Villwock. "The Oberto is a very good rough-water boat but I think our boat just ran better in all type of river conditions all weekend."
Villwock held off J Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking in Heat 3A, averaging 147.845 mph on the 2.7-mile course.
Then in Heat 4B, Villwock showed David exactly what he was going to see in the final by taking the lead early and holding on easily to win.
The final was a carbon copy.
Villwock took the lead from the start and lengthened it each and every lap, easily defeating David.
While the course conditions changed throughout the day, Villwock's performance was what the fleet expected from the winningest active driver.
In the final, he averaged 143.971 mph while David averaged 141.170.
The best racing of the day came in Heat 4A, when Kelly came from behind to catch Cal Phipps in the U-13 Miss Detroit Yacht Club, and then he held off Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Formulaboats.com by one boat length.
Kelly had an average speed of 142.898 mph, while Bernard went 142.652.
The H1 Unlimited fleet now comes to the Tri-Cities for the 45th Lamb Weston Columbia Cup, set for July 23-25.
DETROIT APBA GOLD CUP
Final -- 1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock, 143.971 mph. 2. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 141.170; 3. U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 133.471. 4. U-100 Jarvis Construction, Greg Hopp, 130.935. 5. U-5 Formulaboats.com Jeff Bernard, 124.512. 6. U-17 Red Dot Corp, Nate Brown, 118.812.
Heat 3A -- 1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock, 147.845; 2. U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 143.633; 3. U-5 FormulaBoats.com, Jeff Bernard, 137.547; 4. U-25 Boyland Nissan, Ken Muscatel, 127.279; 5. U-21 Miss Gill Chiropractic, Brian Perkins, 115.451.
Heat 3B -- 1. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 148.297; 2. U-100 Jarvis Construction, Greg Hopp, 143.299; 3. U-13 Miss Detroit Yacht Club, Cal Phipps, 140.058; 4. U-17 Miss Red Dot, Nate Brown, 135.54; 5. U-22 Matrix Systems, Mike Webster, 123.309.
Heat 4A -- 1. U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 142.898; 2. U-5 FormulaBoats.com, Jeff Bernard, 142.652; 3. U-13 Miss Detroit Yacht Club, Cal Phipps, 136.791; 4. U-17 Miss Red Dot, Nate Brown, 129.344; 5. U-100 Jarvis Construction, Greg Hopp, 122.138.
Heat 4B -- 1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock, 145.338; 2. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 142.296; 3. U-21 Miss Gill Chiropractic, Brian Perkins, 136.282; DNS, U-22 Matrix Systems, Mike Webster.
National High Points Standings
1. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David, 3305
2. U-96 Spirit of Qatar, Dave Villwock, 3107
3. U-7 Graham Trucking, J. Michael Kelly, 2800
4. U-21 Miss Albert Lee Appliance, Brian Perkins, 1641
5. U-5 FormulaBoats.com, Jeff Bernard, 1630
6. U-100 Leland Unlimited, Greg Hopp, 1396
7. U-37 Miss Peters & May, JW Myers, 1380
8. U-22 Miss Broadway, Mike Webster, 1328
9. U-13 Spirit of Detroit, Cal Phipps, 1234
10. U-17 Cruisin Auto, Kip and Nate Brown, 1138
11. U-25 Superior Racing, Ken Muscatel and Jon Zimmerman, 919.