It’s been a year since Steve David drove the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto to victory in the 2013 Columbia Cup.
Things have changed since then.
David has since retired from driving in the sport. The Oh Boy! has been dropped from Oberto’s name, and the team lost the U-1 designation, given annually to the national high points team.
Today, a champion will be crowned in the 2014 HAPO Columbia Cup.
What does it take to be a champion? More than just a fast boat — although that helps.
More than a good driver, or a good crew chief.
It takes a lot of parts to make a championship team.
So the Herald spent a good part of Friday talking to someone on almost every team in the H1 Unlimited fleet, trying to determine what it takes to have a great hydroplane team.
We asked for their stars, and we put together the 2014 H1 Unlimited All-Star team.
The rules were simple: People could not vote for anyone who was on their own team, and the date of performance was from last year’s Columbia Cup to this weekend.
That included last year’s Seafair, Coeur d’Alene and San Diego races, as well as this year’s Madison and Detroit contests.
To be considered, a competitor had to be involved in at least one of the above races. For example, Dave Villwock couldn’t be considered as a driver since he didn’t drive in the past year; Erick Ellstrom couldn’t be considered because he didn’t race a boat in the past year.
According to their peers, these were the people who had the best performances at their positions in the last 365 days.
So here’s the Herald’s all -star squad, in alphabetical order:
He specializes in electrical work and currently works for the Graham teams. But he’s done great work for the U-17 Our Gang Racing, and recently helped out the U-37 Cost Less Carpet presents Beacon Plumbing team.
He owns the U-17 boat, but he has a lot of equipment in his shop. People on the beach know that. Because of that, he earns the honor of being supply sargeant. Brown himself has told the Herald he probably has the second most amount of equipment of any team in the fleet.
Take a look at the paint job the Oberto has. Dean has a lot to do with it.
Another Oberto guy. He’s a whiz with the computer data for the race team. Everyone calls him NASA Jimmy, because he used to work at NASA. Enough said.
He became the crew chief this year for the Oberto team. But he makes the team for his work on engines and gearboxes.
He finished the 2013 season as the Oberto crew chief, running a strong day-to-day operation. Then he surprised a lot of people when he left Oberto for the U-96 Spirit of Qatar team. This was a tight race, with Graham’s Tom Anderson and Scott Raney of Peters & May earning votes too.
Teams need to woo sponsors and promote the sport. There hasn’t been too much of that the past few years. But Lamson has done a good job of helping teams such as the 12 and 21.
Propellers were a big headache to many teams in the last year. But Leschinski performed well enough for the Graham Trucking squad that a number of teams mentioned him quickly when the word propeller was said.
His team, Graham Trucking, won the national high points title in 2013. So what does Porter do this year? Add another boat to his fleet and he’s back to racing two teams.
Someone has to make sure a team’s members have a place to sleep, food to eat, and travel plans to the next race site. Raney co-owns the gbr-11 Peters & May with her husband, Scott. So she has to make sure things are pretty well organized and the team stays close to its budget. It’s what a logistical coordinator does, and she’s one of the best.
It’s hard to argue with this choice. He finished the 2013 season as the top driver while competing for Graham, winning the nationalk high points championship. Then he signed in the offseason to replace David as the Oberto’s driver. He won the Gold Cup two weeks ago.
He’s working for the 37 team this weekend. But plenty of people think highly of Walter’s work with gearboxes, which includes help for the 12 Miss DiJulio and 100 Leland teams over the past year.
Don’t know why everyone calls him Goober, but a number of teams mentioned his work of making sure the equipment is hauled all over the country in the big trucks. He does his work for the Graham team, and every race team needs a good hauler. Harvey Chenault of the 9 Jones team and Denise Garl of the 12 and 21 teams also got mentions.