A THANKSGIVING TRADITION

BlueWater Resort and Casino 63rd Annual Thanksgiving Regatta 2009

Obviously, boating racing and turkey dinners just go together.  At least that’s true for APBA circle boat racers on the West Coast.  For the past 63 years, the Southern California Speedboat Club has hosted a multi-day event over the Thanksgiving holiday.  As tradition dictates, the site is Parker, Arizona’s BlueWater Resort and Casino, a fabulous venue for boat racing thanks to a nearly mile long stretch of beach for pits, two launch ramps, an on-the-water first class hotel and casino with its own 160 slip marina plus a well protected piece of Colorado River ideal for high speed competition.

Over the years, the annual Thanksgiving races have evolved into a variety of inboard and outboard sprint classes plus several mini-marathons for the always popular Grand National boats.  Back in earlier times, the Parker Thanksgiving event also had a kilo speed trial dimension where many World and U.S. speed records were established in classes racing from the smallest outboards to limited hydroplanes to the mighty K Racing Runabouts.  Sadly, the kilos were dropped from the racing program some years ago as participation to set new speed marks began to wane and the costs associated with creating a world record course escalated.  Regardless, the Parker Thanksgiving Regatta continues to be one of the enduring traditions for boat racers in the western U.S.

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GRAND NATIONALS

Bill Wheeler’s “Rusher Air” boat was dominate during day one of competition, winning two heats of the GN class in convincing fashion.  Lanse Haselrig’s  Rayson Craft “My Pleasure” was also a contender with a second and third place finish and Joey Cucci made a strong showing in heat one with Ted Kolby’s new solid white “Body Snatcher.”  But when it came time for the finals on Sunday, Heath Hiebert’s #369 took the measure of the class with a consistent performance earning him the overall GN champioship for the weekend.  Haselrig wound up in the runner-up slot and Wheeler registered a third place finish.

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45SS & SST

RJ West made it look easy in 45SS class posting three heat wins and one second place finish to take home his second overall class championship of the Turkey Day Regatta.  Steve Dawe got second in the final tally with Dean Comer third.  In 45SST class, however, Steve Dawe was the top point getter in Friday’s two heats (two second place finishes) while Jason Williams rebounded on Saturday to win the 25 lap final by more than 30 seconds over second place finisher RJ West.

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NOSTALGIA FLATS

Nostalgia Flat is attracting some interesting equipment.  Although originally intended as an all flatbottom SK type class, the rules are such that vintage Cracker Boxes can run here too.  In the field of six, two were in fact Cracker Boxes driven by Ron Sherin and Andy Games who wound up getting a fourth and fifth place in the final overall standings.  The win went to Brent Daily with strong competition from Dave Chandler and Jerry Cotter.

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CRACKER BOX

It was a full field of eight boats for the always exciting Cracker Box class.  As he has for most of the 2009 season, Tony Lombardo in the P-100 was the boat to beat.  Lombardo took double wins in the two Friday heats along with a single heat victory on Saturday (he was DQ’d for jumping the start in the first heat on Saturday) giving him enough points to hold on for the overall win.  The same fate was dealt to second overall finisher, Jerry Ross, as he too took a no points penalty on Saturday’s initial heat for crossing the start line too early.  Scott Schatz in P-9 came home in third with Jim Bandilin and Brian Dalhem in fourth and fifth place respectively.

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PRO STOCK

Only four entries showed up for this class and it was Mike March from Scottsdale, Arizona taking every checkered flag.  In fact, the finish order was the same for both days of competition with Jerry Cotter coming home in second;  Lee Stacy, third and Shane Hall, fourth.

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STOCK OUTBOARDS

In class ASH, it was a nip and tuck battle all weekend between RJ West and Jean Mackay-Schwartz.  Schwartz and West split heat wins on Friday but it was West who prevailed on Saturday to win the overall.  On the AXSH class, it wasn’t that close as Marlee Hill ran the board, winning every heat with KT Schwab finishing in second.  In CSH, it was the same route for Tony Lombardo as he dominated all weekend with a perfect record of all wins.  Jeff Conant took second with Roger Hewson in for a third.  Tammy Dawe also got into the victory column with an unblemished record for the weekend scoring four consecutive heat wins in 20 SSH class.

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COMP JET

Not a great weekend for jets.  Four boats made the first heat on Friday but only Harold Bruce in his 18-foot Rogers Cyclone was able to make the starting line later that afternoon for heat two.  All Bruce had to do was make one lap of the course in order to be declared the official winner was the rest of the field was sidelined with various mechanical problems.

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