Hydro Racing

HYDROS: Boat drivers meet, get set

Good afternoon from Lampson Pits.

Got in late because we watched the London Olympics Opening Ceremonies until 3 a.m.

We did make it to the drivers meeting for the H1 Unilimiteds.

Lamb Weston Columbia Cup race director John Mostoller told the drivers that the water level of the Columbia River is down a foot today.

That’s better, but it’s still high, since it was up six feet Friday.

Jeff Bernard identified himself as a driver wanting to be recognized, and Mike Webster, whose U-22 flipped and broke in Detroit on July 14, will be the drivers’ representative.

Chief referee Mike Noonan reiterated that the exit bouy on the Pasco side of the river -- nearest the Blue Bridge -- will be the 1-minute score-up bouy.

Noonan said any boat that reaches that bouy one minute before the start of the race will have to go back around.

The Provisional for Sunday will be optional, but likely will not happen because there really isn’t any extra time in the schedule.

While there will be three preliminary heats today -- 1A, 1B and 1C -- Noonan said no matter what, there will only be A and B heats on Sunday.

Noonan hopes to find some time this afternon for Kelly Stocklin, the owner and driver of the U-18 Bucket List Racing, to get on the water and hit 130 mph -- the minimum speed required to qualify as a driver.

“As part of his qualifying, he also has to compete in heat races,” Noonan said. “We’ll try to put him in a heat this afternoon.”

Stocklin had been out on the river Saturday morning, completing laps, but none were over 130 mph.

Mitch Evans, the crew chief of the U-57 Formulaboats.com/Tire Factory, asked Stocklin how fast he was going in the morning.

“I was going 129, 129, 129, 129, 129,” Stocklin said as the other drivers laughed.