City's new Regatta First Lady is a racing vet who's passing the passion to the next generation.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 11:00 AM
Bianca and Jimmy Shane both come from families where hydroplane racing courses through their blood. Ever since they were little, their summer weekends have been spent on a lake or river somewhere watching boats race.
Bianca Shane helps her son Colton don his dad’s helmet during a recent visit to the Oberto/Miss Madison garage. (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Now the newest member of the family is getting to experience that same life. Little Colton Shane, who recently turned 1, is already a veteran boat racing fan and has crisscrossed the country a dozen times over.
"It's been fun. Colton has gotten to see things and go places kids his age never get to see," said Bianca Shane who added with a laugh. "We'll get on a plane and people will say, 'Aww, is it his first time?' And we're like nope, 12th."
Phil Bononcini was one of the top inboard drivers on the West Coast and little Bianca and her brother, Nick, spent their childhoods traveling around the country watching their dad race and loved every minute of it.
"When I was younger I went to Seafair (in Seattle), San Diego and Kelowna in Canada, and when I got older, I told my dad that I wanted to go everywhere," Bianca said. "So I ended up going to Evansville and Tolowanda (Ohio) and Valleyfield (Quebec). It was really cool to get to do those things and now that I get to bring my son, it's even cooler."
Bianca and her brother both grew up to be hydroplane drivers, and Bianca even got to test an Unlimited a few years ago when she took the Formulaboats.com out on the Detroit River. It was during that stretch that she got to better know the team's back-up driver, Jimmy Shane.
Jimmy also grew up in a racing family, only on the other side of the country in Maryland. His father, Stew, and mother, Robin, were both racers and his older sister, Kelly, is one of the top inboard pilots in the country.
Bianca and Jimmy had met initially in 2007, but four years later was when the romance blossomed.
"It's funny, but every time my status on Facebook changed to 'single,' I'd get a message from Jimmy asking me how I was doing," Bianca said with a laugh. "We really got to know each other during that year we were on the team, we went to the race in Doha and it was just a whirlwind. I was flying to Maryland, he was flying to Washington. It just took off."
Colton was born last June and less than three weeks later, Bianca and Jimmy brought him to Madison for his first race. In the fall, the two were married.
Bianca said that having the support of two close-knit racing families has been invaluable. No matter where they go, there is somebody to help.
"My family is at every race, Jimmy's family is there. Everybody's going to be in Madison," Bianca said. "We get a lot of help, and it's just fantastic."
Bianca said that she has not ruled out a return to the cockpit but for now, she plans on just relaxing and enjoying being a mom. She also said that motherhood has changed her point of view of the sport just a bit.
"I used to tell Jimmy that if he didn't win, not to bring the boat back," Bianca said. "I was all about win, win, win. Now, I just want him to be safe."
Colton and family will be in town this weekend when Jimmy makes his debut as the Oberto/Miss Madison driver in front of the hometown fans. It truly has been a whirlwind past two years for the couple who have had a baby, gotten married, won the National High Points Championship and moved to the top team on the circuit. What else could there possibly be?
"Everything has been perfect," Bianca said. "The only thing that would make it better would be to win that Gold Cup. We'll work on that next."