It seems that each year the Tri-City Water Follies plays host to H1 Unlimited’s annual spring training event, it just keeps getting bigger.
That’ll be no different this Friday, as Lampson Pits will play host to six unlimited hydroplanes and their teams, three vintage hydroplane teams and two Grand Prix World boat teams.
The best part is people can watch for free. Just come down to Columbia Park or the Pasco side of the Columbia River and watch them shake off the dust of the eight-month off-season.
“It is the most boats we’ve ever had here for spring training,” said Kathy Powell, event director for the Water Follies. “It’s crazy.”
It is and it isn’t.
Race teams are finding that a day’s work on the Columbia River in May is a great way to get a head start on the short H1 season, which begins in Guntersville, Ala., on June 28-30.
Here’s the lineup of unlimiteds that are scheduled to be in the pits Friday:
• The defending national champion U-1 Jones Racing and driver Andrew Tate. With the retirement of crew chief Jeff Campbell and his brother Mike, the team has lost a lot of race experience. Plus, the team may only race in the Northwest this season.
• The U-6 Miss HomeStreet and driver Jimmy Shane. The team will have its new hull here, as it gets ready to host the Gold Cup in its home port of Madison, Ind.
• The U-11 J&D presents Reliable Diamond Tool and driver Tom Thompson. Team owners Scott and Shannon Raney do this as their full-time job, so any chance to get on the water before the season starts is a no-brainier for them and their team.
• The U-12 Graham Trucking and driver J Michael Kelly. Last year, owner Rob Graham’s team raced in just the Tri-Cities and Seattle. The plan this season is to hit the entire circuit.
• The U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream and driver Corey Peabody. Graham purchased the U-99.9 CARSTARS presents Miss ROCK in the offseason from the estate of Stacey Briseno, who owned the boat and died last September before the San Diego race. Peabody is a 40-year-old rookie who has raced smaller boats against almost all of the current unlimited drivers.
• The U-440 Bucket List Racing and driver Dustin Echols. Owner Kelly Stocklin has done a great job of getting this smaller-than-other-unlimiteds boat faster each season. Echols has improved as a driver the past two years, and the team travels to every race on the circuit.
Only three other unlimiteds – the U-3 piston-powered U3 GoRacing team; the U-7 Spirit of Detroit; and Greg and Brian O’Farrell’s brand new boat, the U-99.9 KISW/CARSTAR, are missing.
In addition, the pits will have three vintage boats: the Miss Wahoo, the 1958 Bardahl, and the Blue Chip.
Finally, two Grand Prix World teams will have their boats ready for spring training in the GP-20 Blown Income Racing and driver Ed Preston, and the GP-55 Cabo Marine and driver Jamie Nilsen.
“We’ll have two cranes working down there,” said Powell. “Even when they’re not putting boats in the water, the teams will need to use a sleeve crane to remove equipment.”
The bad news about this upcoming season is that the teams lost a race. H1 and the organizers at Detroit couldn’t come to an agreement on price, so the two organizations have gone their separate ways, at least for this year.
Besides the opener in Alabama, the APBA Gold Cup will be run in Madison, Ind., from July 5-7.
The season finale, Bayfair, will be held Sept. 13-15 in San Diego.
Now that high school sports are done for the school year, conferences and leagues have been releasing their all-star teams in various sports.
We’ll be printing them over the next week, and we’ll start today with the Mid-Columbia Conference boys soccer all-conference team.
Walla Walla junior forward Julio Tapia was named by the MCC coaches as the Player of the Year, while Chiawana’s Riley Dodson was named Coach of the Year for leading the Riverhawks to a perfect 8-0 MCC season.
Dodson’s Riverhawks dominated the first team with five selections: senior forward Jason Aragon, junior defender Carter Giles, junior midfielder Luis Lopez, senior defender Ryan Lowry, and junior midfielder Vinicio Verduzco.
Pasco, which made it to the state 4A quarterfinals, had three players on the first team: junior forward Ivan Cortez, senior keeper Danny Puga, senior midfielder Alejandro Vega.
Hermiston, which won the 3A district title, had two representatives in senior midfielder Emilio Leal and junior midfielder Coleman Solano.
The remaining first-teamers are Kamiakin senior defender Jaden Eder, Richland senior midfielder Drew Fulton, Hanford sophomore defender Shane Kieffer, and of course Walla Walla’s Tapia.
Here is the second team: senior midfielder Augustine Arceo, Walla Walla; junior defender Michael Cuevas, Kennewick; senior forward Caden Egli, Kamiakin; sophomore defender Javier Gomez, Pasco; senior midfielder Christian Hagedorn, Richland; senior defender Jared Hancock, Richland; senior midfielder Jordan Martin, Southridge; junior defender Matt Mendez, Hermiston; senior keeper Juan Carlos Navarette, Hermiston; freshman forward Omar Penaloza, Pasco; junior midfielder Rory St. Hillaire, Kennewick; senior forward Alan Scott, Richland; senior midfielder Luke Scrimsher, Kamiakin; and senior midfielder Evan Smith, Hanford.
• The Tri-Cities Alliance FC hosts the Bellingham United at 2 p.m. Sunday at Edgar Brown Stadium. The Alliance is 0-1-2 so far in the Evergreen Premier Soccer League. For those who can’t make it, it’ll also be televised live on SWX television.
• The Tri-Cities Fire nearly picked up its first American West Football Conference victory last Thursday. The Fire, 0-6, had scored what looked like the game-tying touchdown in the final minute. But the extra point attempt hit the right upright, and the visiting Reno Express escaped with a 55-54 win in the Toyota Center. The Fire’s next game will be at home Sunday against the Wenatchee Valley Skyhawks. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
• Host Lower Columbia Community College came through the losers bracket to beat Everett 2-0 on Monday to win its third consecutive NWAC baseball title.
• Both Indiana Tech and Lewis-Clark State College have been eliminated from the NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston. Indiana Tech went 1-2, and Southridge grad Jashaun Simon played in the outfield for Indiana Tech. Host LCSC also went 1-2. Kennewick High grad Gerald Hein pitched well in the Warriors’ 4-2 elimination loss to Bellevue University (Neb.), going 4.2 innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs, while striking out four.