Jerry Hopp is 68 years old.
Yet he is fearless out on the water.
“That’s because I do something scary for a living,” he said. “I drive a school bus.”
So the sight of seeing his son, Greg Hopp, in the GP-12, and driver Dustin Echols in the GP-55, ahead of him at the start of the Grand Prix Thunder Cup, didn’t bother him.
He let the two youngsters go ahead of him, because he thought they might be too early at the start line.
“According to my timing marks, I was about a second late to the start,” said Jerry Hopp. “They were a few boat lengths ahead of me.”
He was right. Both Greg Hopp and Nichols crossed the starting line too soon and were penalized a lap.
Jerry Hopp said he wasn’t sure, until he heard his radio guy say that one driver jumped the gun.
“Then I heard the other jumped the gun,” said Jerry Hopp. “Then I heard him say ‘Just finish.’ ”
Greg said he wasn’t sure he had jumped the gun, but he probably did.
“I couldn’t see the clock where I was at,” said Greg Hopp. “But the 55 went first, and I just couldn’t give up lane position to him. You could have all the speed in the world, but it doesn’t do you any good if you go early.”
He was disappointed, but it was tempered by who won.
“If anyone else is going to win, I’d rather it be him,” said Greg.
Ed Preston in the GP-17 Shockwave Racing finished second, followed by Greg Hopp in the GP-12.
• Jeff Bernard has been on a roll lately in the Y-70 Porko’s Pals presents Grumpy.
On Sunday, Bernard drove the pink boat to an easy victory at the APBA HAPO Gold Cup’s 1-Litre winner-take-all final.
That continues a rather impressive streak.
“We put the boat upside down in Soap Lake earlier in the season,” said Bernard. “But then we went to Burley (Idaho) and went 6-for-6, went to Black Lake and was 4-for-4, and then to summer nationals and went 3-for-3.”
Bernard wasn’t perfect this weekend.
“We broke a pipe in the first heat,” he said. “We wanted to put on a bigger setup for the final. But it wouldn’t work in rough water.”
Didn’t matter. Bernard easily won another race.