(From left) The U-11 J&D’s, the U-6 Miss HomeStreet and the U-12 Graham Trucking fly down the front stretch during the Lake Guntersville Hydrofest in Alabama last year. The Unlimited Racing Group, which owns the U-11, may run a second boat this season, joining the HomeStreet and Graham as multiple-boat teams. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
(From left) The U-11 J&D’s, the U-6 Miss HomeStreet and the U-12 Graham Trucking fly down the front stretch during the Lake Guntersville Hydrofest in Alabama last year. The Unlimited Racing Group, which owns the U-11, may run a second boat this season, joining the HomeStreet and Graham as multiple-boat teams. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
The annual H1 Unlimited Spring Training session in the Tri-Cities, Washington has become the latest Unlimited hydroplane event to be canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The daily session, which was to be held on June 6 on the Columbia River, was canceled by the Tri-Cities Water Follies last week. The event is not necessarily a public event, but it has become the traditional kickoff to the hydroplane season as teams hit the fastest water on the circuit to test out offseason changes.

The season-opening race in Guntersville, Alabama — set for June 27-28 — was canceled in late March and the Madison Regatta, which was set to host the APBA Gold Cup for the second-straight year, was canceled last month.

Currently, there are only three races left on the circuit, beginning with the race in the Tri-Cities July 25-27. Kathy Powell, event director for the Tri-Cities race, told the Tri-City Herald that she is hopeful that it will go on as planned.

“I’ve talked to Rob Graham (owner of the Graham Trucking boats), and he is eager to race,” Powell told the paper. “(Miss Madison President) Charlie Grooms called me and wanted to know our status. He’s ordered propellers for his team.”

Powell said the Water Follies board of directors will likely make a decision on the Tri-Cities event at its June meeting.

In addition to the Tri-Cities race, H1 will also run in Seattle July 31-Aug. 2 and San Diego Sept. 18-20.



URG may run two boats

The number of races may be dwindling but the number of boats continue to rise.

Unlimited Racing Group co-owner and crew chief Scott Raney said in an interview with the H1 Unlimited Facebook page that the team is preparing two hulls for the 2020 season.

The team has already been campaigning its primary boat, the U-11 J&D’s, but spent the offseason getting its other boat, the former Miss Budweiser T4 hull, ready for action as well. The T4 was the team’s primary hull until damage from several wrecks forced it to the sidelines.

“We spent all winter, put a lot of effort and resources, with the support of J&D’s, and have done a refurbishment of the T-4,” Raney told H1. “Potentially we’re positioning ourselves to maybe (run two boats), maybe we’re not.”

Should the URG decide to run two boats it will be just the latest team to decide to campaign two boats.

The Miss Madison team ran two boats for the second half of last season, with Jimmy Shane steering the primary U-1 Miss HomeStreet to the National High Points Championship and Jeff Bernard seeing action in three races aboard the U-1918 Oberto Quality Meats. The team is expected to run at least two boats again this season.

Rob Graham’s Graham Trucking team sent two boats to every race last season, with J. Michael Kelly steering the U-12 and Corey Peabody in the U-98.

Two other teams have indicated that they may run two boats this season. Dave Bartush’s Spirit of Detroit team will run the U-7, driven by Bert Henderson, and the U-10, driven by Patrick Haworth. Bucket List Racing owners Kelly and Sharon Stocklin will run the U-440 and possibly a second hull as well. The team purchased the former U-99.9 boat in the offseason.