It was Tate’s first Gold Cup championship (above) and with it he and the Delta/Realtrac wrapped up their first National High Points championships with one race left in the season. (Photos by David Campbell/Special to the Courier.)
It was Tate’s first Gold Cup championship (above) and with it he and the Delta/Realtrac wrapped up their first National High Points championships with one race left in the season. (Photos by David Campbell/Special to the Courier.)
By DAVID CAMPBELL

Special to the Courier

sports@madisoncourier.com

DETROIT — As a young boy, Andrew Tate got to watch his father win the biggest trophy in Unlimited racing twice while dreaming someday he could do the same. On Sunday that dream came true.

Tate pulled away from chief rival Jimmy Shane and the U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison on the second lap of Sunday’s APBA Gold Cup final and steered his U-9 Delta/Realtrac to a dominating win his hometown of Detroit.

The victory allowed Tate to join his father, Mark Tate, as the only father-son duo to win the prestigious Cup in 102 years of racing and the thought brought tears to the younger Tate’s eyes.

“I don’t know what my thoughts are right now. I haven’t had time to let it sink in,” said Tate, moments after returning to the dock. “You watch guys lift this trophy year after year and how much it means to them. I can’t describe it.

“As a little kid you don’t appreciate it and how hard it is to win it. It’s a dream come true.”

In addition to claiming the Gold Cup crown, Tate also clinched his — and his team’s — first-ever H1 Unlimited National High Points championship with one race still remaining in the season. Tate currently has a 1,803-point lead over Shane with only a maximum of 1,700 points left to be earned in the season finale at San Diego.

On Sunday, Tate saved his best driving for last. Twice he was paired up with Shane in preliminary heats and twice he put up token resistance early before backing off late in those heats.

But there was no such let-up in the final. Tate secured the inside lane and, after falling behind coming through the first turn, caught Shane on the backstretch and quickly pulled away on lap two. Shane never challenged again.

“The inside lane is always advantageous and we got a good start,” Tate said. “Tom Thompson nailed the start and that buffer between me and Jimmy was huge. That HomeStreet is fast but the Delta/Realtrac has been great all season. Congratulations to those guys. Those Delta gears really made us go fast.”

The final heat wasn’t without drama. Bert Henderson was penalized for going through a restricted part of the infield in his U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers and disqualified and Thompson was penalized one minute for encroaching on Henderson in his U-11 J&Ds just before the start. Once the race began, Thompson found himself in trouble in the first turn when he ran through Shane’s roostertail.

But the biggest sub-plot emerged when H1 Unlimited officials decided to remove the 80 mph strobe lights that are attached to each boat just before the final. The purpose of the lights has been to monitor and ensure that no craft goes under 80 mph before the start.

Shane had been assessed a one-minute penalty in the final heat at Seattle earlier this month for violating that rule — costing him the Albert Lee Appliance Cup championship — even though there was evidence that the lights were not working as designed. The word from officials Sunday was that the lights were “flawed.”

Although he declined to be specific, Shane railed against a rule change before the final that he believed cost his team victory.

“The officials made a change, just before the final heat and didn’t say too much about it and I wasn’t too happy about what they did,” Shane said. “I’m not going to get into too much detail, but what happened on the race course is exactly what I predicted. We were the only ones that were honest in our timing marks in the warm-up period and we should have come away with the Gold Cup win.

“Andrew won and congratulations to them, but once again the Miss HomeStreet got put out of a wonderful race for the fans and another Gold Cup win … It’s been the same thing all year long and I’m tired of talking about it. Unfortunately, there is no consistency right now. That’s our biggest challenge to overcome as the professional race team the Miss HomeStreet is.”

Shane was also displeased over the lack of a call on the incident with Thompson in turn one just after the start.

“Tom got washed down big time in turn one and I don’t know what happened exactly,” Shane said. “I led into turn one and there was three and a half, four lanes in there. So there was plenty of room to get two boats through there. If they don’t make a call on that, I’ll be pretty upset because it did affect the outcome of the race.”

For his part, Thompson blamed himself for the mishap in turn one.

“I fell into a hole and hooked the boat, then I got into a ‘tail and I got into the other ‘tail,” Thompson said. “It’s very frustrating for us because we’re working really hard and running really well. It’s nobody’s fault but mine.”

Despite the mishap, Thompson recovered to finish third while Dustin Echols capped off the best weekend in his U-440 Bucket List Racing Team’s history with a fourth-place finish.

Echols and Thompson also picked up a pair of wins in preliminary heats to go along with Shane’s four wins and Tate’s two. Echols’ win came in Heat 2B when both Thompson and Jimmy King jumped the gun, earning one-minute penalties. King, driving the U-3 Roostertail, 60 Years of Parties, was also penalized for dislodging his second buoy of the day.

Sunday’s race schedule included two more heats of racing that a normal Gold Cup weekend at Detroit after all racing was postponed on Saturday due to high wind and rough conditions on the Detroit River caused by weather. The two rounds of preliminaries normally contested on Saturday were shifted to Sunday morning followed by two more rounds of preliminaries in the afternoon and the final.

The H1 fleet now heads back west for the final race of the season the weekend of Sept. 14-16 on Mission Bay in San Diego.

———

H1 UNLIMITED HYDROPLANE SERIES

METRO DETROIT CHEVY DEALERS

APBA GOLD CUP

Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan

Length: 2.72 miles

RESULTS

Sunday, Aug. 26

FINAL HEAT

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 150.460 mph; 2. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet/Miss Madison, 148.864; 3. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 113.325*; 4. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing,84.710; Bert Henderson, U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers, DSQ.**

*-penalized one lap and $350 for lane encroachment.

**-disqualified for DMZ violation.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 2, 154.601.

PRELIMINARY HEATS

HEAT 1A

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 152.481; 2. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 128.591; 3. Jimmy King, U-3 Roostertail, 121.385.*

*-penalized one minute and $350 for dislodging a buoy.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 154.374.

HEAT 1B

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 146.203; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&D’s, 140.517; Jeff Bernard, U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers.*

*-disqualified for flagrant fuel violation.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 1, 151.799.

HEAT 2A

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 124.588*; 2. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 119.541*; 3. Bert Henderson, U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers, 112.011.*

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 157.119.

HEAT 2B

1. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 127.767; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 119.638*; 3. Jimmy King, U-3 Roostertail, 111.400**

*-penalized one minute for jumping the gun.

**-penalized one minute for jumping the gun; penalized one minute, $400 and 200 points for dislodging a buoy.

Fast Lap: Thompson, U-11, No. 2, 150.741.

HEAT 3A

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 149.244; 2. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 116.740; 3. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 115.271.*

*-penalized one minute and $350 for lane encroachment.

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 1, 155.752.

HEAT 3B

1. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 141.706*; 2. Jimmy King, U-3 Roostertail, 134.661; Bert Henderson, U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers. DSQ.**

*-fined $250 for encroachment.

*-disqualified for flagrant fuel violation.

Fast Lap: Thompson, U-11, No. 1, 146.110.

HEAT 4A

1. Andrew Tate, U-9 Delta/Realtrac, 136.572; 2. Tom Thompson, U-11 J&Ds, 130.144.

Fast Lap: Tate, U-9, No. 1, 148.424.

HEAT 4B

1. Jimmy Shane, U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 140.766; 2. Bert Henderson, U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers, 139.944*; 3. Dustin Echols, U-440 Bucket List Racing, 118.113.

*-fined $250 for lane encroachment

Fast Lap: Shane, U-1, No. 4, 143.111.

NATIONAL POINTS STANDINGS

BOATS

(after 5 of 6 races)

1. U-9 Jones Racing, 8,590*; 2. U-1 Miss HomeStreet, 6,787; 3. U-11 J&Ds, 5,856; 4. U-440 Bucket List Racing, 4,164; 5.U-21 PayneWest Insurance, 3,388; 6. U-1918 Oberto Beef Jerky, 2,344; 7. U-12 Graham Trucking, 1,724; 8. U-99.9 Miss Rock, 1,399; 9. U-3 Grigg’s Ace Hardware, 766; 10. U-27 Wiggins Racing, 625; 11. U-7 Detroit Machinery Centers, 565.

*-clinched season championship.

DRIVERS

1. Andrew Tate (U-9), 8,590*; 2. Jimmy Shane (U-1), 6,787; 3. Tom Thompson (U-11), 5,856; 4. Dustin Echols (U-440), 4,164; 5. Brian Perkins (U-21), 3,388; 6. Cal Phipps (U-27/U-1918), 2,969; 7. J. Michael Kelly (U-12), 1,724; 8. Aaron Salmon (U-99.9), 1,399; 9. Jimmy King (U-3), 766; 10. Bert Henderson (U-7), 565; 11. Jeff Bernard (U-7), 0.

*-clinched season championship.