Hydro Racing

U-3 withdraws because of a crack

The U-3 Sun River Electric presents Grandview on the Lake had to withdraw from the race Sunday morning after a crack was found in the boat.

"When you're hot, you're hot," said Ed Cooper, the boats owner. "We have in the skid fin a broken nontrip. That's the side of the boat to you."

Boat builder Rock Bowles found the problem Saturday night at around 11 p.m.

"The more I dug, the more damage I found," said Bowles. "We could have tried to fix it maybe. But I couldn't put (driver) Jimmy (King) in that kind of danger, and I couldn't put the other drivers in danger."

If the skid fin were to break, King would have no control over the boat.

"The first question we had was 'Can we repair this?' " said Cooper. "If the skid fin comes off it gets ugly fast. Then the issue was can we fix it so we won't damage the boat."

The answer was no. Bowles said he needed a good one or two days at Mitch Evans' shop in Chelan to get the damage fixed before the Seattle race next weekend.

Cooper was obviously disappointed.

"There are so many great fans in the Tri-Cities," said Cooper. "We don't go through all of this effort to get here and then sit on the beach. The good thing is we at least gave the fans one good show yesterday with that race we finished second in."

Cooper loves racing on this river.

"This is the one course for this boat. For us, the right gear and the right prop and the long straightaways with our speed, it's great," he said. "This course is a natural for us."

-- Fred Leland pulled his U-100 Jerry's Tavern out of the race just after heat 3B, when driver Greg Hopp had to shut the boat down.

"We had a gearbox catastrophe," said Hopp. "I didn't want to wreck the boat."

-- Ken Muscatel had to pull his U-25 out of the race Sunday afternoon because he had a broken strut.

"It sucks because I think I could race with some of these boats," said Muscatel. "But if the strut comes off, it tears the gear off, the engine comes out, and I have to buy the boat."

Muscatel was leasing the boat this weekend from Leland while his boat is being prepared for Seafair next week.

-- Erick Ellstrom is going to have to learn how to live on a couple hours of sleep a night for the next week.

The team manager of the U-16 Miss Elam Plus spent much of the weekend trying to find a wiring short in the boat that was causing the team problems.

"We got back to the hotel Friday night at 3 a.m. and were up at 5 a.m.," Ellstrom said. "(Saturday) night we were in bed by 2 a.m. and back up at 5."

Now, after having the left sponson and wing broken in Sunday's final, more all-nighters are planned.

"The boat needs to get stripped of everything," he said.

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