September 9, 2011 at 9:21am
A SALUTE TO LOCAL MILITARY >>>
South Sounders interested in an up close and personal look at what hydroplane racing is all about will have that chance this weekend.
The "Scott and Linda Carson presents the 2011 Western Divisionals/Yapachino Memorial Regatta" championship hydroplane race, featuring the blown, 160-mph Grand Prix hydroplanes, runs Sept. 10-11 at Spanaway Lake. The fastest and loudest inboard hydroplanes in the western United States compete for this coveted championship race that revs up at 11 a.m. both days.
With the racecourse in the backyard of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Tacoma Inboard Racing Association, the host club for the race, is paying tribute to military members during the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
"We're honored to have about 20 military members serving as honorary crew members for our teams for the weekend," Shawn Warren, the commodore of TIRA, said in a release. "We're also having the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Honor Guard present the colors on Sunday (Sept. 11). But what is very special to us all is we have invited members of the Warrior Transition Battalion to be our special guests on Saturday (Sept. 10). We can't think of a better way to thank our military members by giving them a literally hands-on experience with the fastest, most exciting inboard hydroplanes in the country."
About 10 classes of inboard hydroplanes are on the schedule for the event. Six current and three former unlimited hydroplane pilots will compete in a variety of classes on the tight, one-mile record course. Spectators are so close to the always exciting first turn; many fans say they can hear the rooster tails fall back to the water.
Six of the Grand Prix West hulls are in the top 10 in the national high points chase, lead by unlimited driver Greg Hopp in the GP-12 "My 401K." And seeing six Grand Prix hydroplanes one class below the mammoth unlimited hydroplanes going through one of the tightest first turns in the country, side-by-side, is going to be a sight and sound hydroplane fans just can't pass up.
"Getting all the boats around the first turn is going to be hairy," said longtime unlimited veteran Jerry Hopp, an Army veteran who went through basic training at Fort Lewis who sits in third place in the GP-15 "Miss Peters & May." "The straights are not real long for us, and the water should be good. But I expect to see some really fast speeds."
There will be other inboard and flat bottom classes at the races with exciting deck-to-deck action all weekend long.
Racing fans can bring their own chairs or blankets. While there is no admission for the race, Pierce County Parks and Recreation charges $3 per car to come into Spanaway Park.
LINK: The Weekend Hustle
Off duty rules.
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