Shane (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Shane (Courier file photo by David Campbell)
Jimmy Shane didn’t win every heat but it still turned out to be a perfect weekend for Shane and his Miss Madison Racing teammates.

Shane pulled off a rare double victory, clinching not only the 2016 National High Points Championship but also winning the HomeStreet Bank San Diego Bayfair after an impressive performance in Sunday’s final heat on Mission Bay.

Running in lane two, Shane drove his U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank out ahead of rivals J. Michael Kelly and Andrew Tate and never looked back to pick up his second win of the season.

It was everything Shane and the team was hoping to accomplish in the Mike’s Hard Lemonade H1 Unlimited season finale, even if the team did finish second and third in two preliminary heats.

“I had enough of a lead on Andrew that I could get out front and make sure that the boat didn’t hit any rough water and slow us down and that’s what we did,” Shane said of the final heat. “We wanted to be clean, we wanted to get a good start and we wanted to win the final heat. We accomplished all of our goals.”

The victory was the 13th of Shane’s career, breaking a tie with George Henley and Mark Tate for 13th all-time. It was also Miss Madison Racing’s 27th victory, moving the team into a three-way tie with Joe Schoenith (Gale Enterprises and Atlas Van Lines) and Ole Bardahl (Miss Bardahl) for fourth on the owner’s win list.

In terms of National Championships, it was the seventh in the past nine years for the City of Madison, which now trails only the Miss Budweiser’s Bernie Little (22) for most as an owner. Shane’s driver’s title was his fourth, with all four coming in succession.

Shane actually clinched the national title in Heat 3A when he ran as conservative of a race as he has ever run at the Unlimited level. Holding a 750-point lead over Kelly in the points chase, he knew that all he had to do was finish the heat in order to clinch the title.

Shane initially steered his bright blue boat away from the field, preferring to stay as clean as possible. He still ended up in lane two at the start but never seriously challenged Tate, who ran away with the win.

After the heat, Shane celebrated a national title for the fourth-straight year, something only Dave Villwock, who won seven-straight from 1998 to 2004, has done.

“We knew going into that heat that if we scored any kind of points we would lock it up,” Shane said of Heat 3A. “We had a very conservative start. Two of the boats got up there really early; I just wanted to stay as clean as possible and stay out of the salt. Our goal in that heat was to win the national championship. We did exactly what we wanted to do.

“It’s amazing. We set goals for our team before the season started and it’s great to accomplish what you set out to do.”

Free from worrying about points, Shane let it all hang out in the final. Kelly took lane one in the U-5 Graham Trucking while Tate, who had a perfect weekend going in the U-9 RealTrac Performance, was relegated to lane three.

Kelly was early for the start and had to back off, allowing Shane to rocket past. Once Shane got through lane one cleanly, he controlled the race course and was on his way to victory.

“We put ourselves in good position. Mike got up there about four seconds earlier, but we were able to get a little bit of a run at the start and beat him to the first turn. At that point we could hold a little tighter arc to keep in lane one,” Shane said. “Once I got out front and had the lead, I made sure that I left Mike a little bit of room going into the first turn on that second lap. He just caught some rollers and came unhooked and went through our tail. It was shaping up to be an exciting final heat. I’m just happy the Miss HomeStreet Bank got out in front, controlled the race course and got the win.”

Kelly’s chances at a win ended on lap two when he took a big hop and went through Shane’s roostertail, slowing his boat considerably. He recovered to finish third but never threatened again.

Tate stayed close enough to Shane to keep him honest but running from the outside he was unable to make up the difference. Shane’s winning speed was 149.198 mph was almost 3 mph faster than Tate’s 146.285.

Tom Thompson was fourth aboard the U-11 Peters & May while Kelly’s teammate, Jeff Bernard, ran fifth in the U-7 Graham Trucking II. Brian Perkins broke a rudder bracket in the U-21 All Access Equipment and did not finish.

Tate won all three of his preliminary heats and was the fastest qualifier to finish with 1,600 points, just 100 points shy of a perfect weekend in his fifth career race. Shane scored a win in Heat 2B while Kevin Eacret and Bernard had the other preliminary heat wins.

Eacret steered the U-99.9 KISW Miss Rock to victory in Heat 1A on Saturday when Kelly, Shane and Thompson all jumped the gun, his second career heat win. But engine problems later forced the team to withdraw on Sunday.

Bernard got an easy win in Heat 3B when Thompson and Perkins both jumped. It was Bernard’s first preliminary heat win since a victory at Doha in 2011.

Shane, who also won the season-opener at Madison, and Kelly, who claimed victory at Tri-Cities and Detroit, each won two races on the abbreviated Mike’s Hard Lemonade Tour. Tate claimed the other victory, at Seattle.

Shane’s final margin in the National High Points ended up being 919 points more than Kelly. Tate ended up third, 2,233 points back.

H1 Unlimited has not yet released its schedule for the 2017 season. Along with the five events from this year, races in Phoenix, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Dayton, Ohio, and Evansville as well as an exhibition in Guntersville, Ala. are possibilities for next year.

The Indiana Governor’s Cup in Madison is scheduled for June 30 through July 2.