Mike Weber gets airborne while piloting the Miss EMCOR
unlimited hydroplane in Heat 3B of Sunday's Columbia
Cup. Weber landed upright and was uninjured
RACE RESULTS & RECAPS ...
Bob Condotta; The News Tribune ...
KENNEWICK - Hard racing on the Columbia River turned into harder feelings once Dave Villwock and Nate Brown finally reached the shore Sunday afternoon.
Brown piloted his U-16 Miss E-Lam Plus to a win over Villwock and the U-1 Miss Budweiser in a controversial championship heat of the Columbia Cup unlimited hydroplane race that left the Bud team fuming and Brown reveling in Villwock's misery.
Brown and Villwock raced deck-to-deck for the first two laps of the five-lap finale, with the Bud on the inside and E-Lam on the outside.
The boats appeared close to touching as they entered the first turn of the third lap, with neither wanting to give the other an inch to breathe.
Then the Budweiser - attempting to miss a buoy as it fought to keep its inside position from the E-Lam - jumped high into the air. Villwock was able to regain control of the boat before it flipped, but not before having ventured inside the buoy, which resulted in a one-lap penalty and essentially gave the race to E-Lam.
Joe Little, serving as the leader of the Bud team in the absence of his father - owner Bernie Little - said the Bud would protest the result. Hydro-Prop officials, however, declared no further penalties after a quick review.
Villwock ducked reporters afterward, with a Bud official saying Villwock had been instructed to stay inside the team's truck.
He was coaxed out only to accept the team's sixth-place trophy. Interviewed on the stand, Villwock said "it's an unfortunate incident, that's the way it goes.'' He then sprayed Brown and the E-Lam team with a beer, though his intent didn't appear to be one of celebration.
As he walked off the podium, Villwock dashed by reporters, saying only "there's nothing more to say.''
Brown denied having done anything wrong to force Villwock to miss the buoy, saying he gave Villwock enough room.
"I held him tight and he launched it and came unhooked and he didn't settle the boat down,'' Brown said.
Asked about Villwock's post-race demeanor, Brown said, "Dave's a poor sport. Plain and simple, he's a poor sport. That's the only way to explain that.''
Brown had to wait a while to celebrate his second win of the season - Villwock has won the other two races - and fourth victory in six races dating to last year.
Just as Brown crossed the start-finish line - he was actually still trailing Villwock, who was technically a lap behind due to the penalty - the U-25 Miss Silver Dollar Casino, driven by Ken Muscatel, flew in the air and did a complete flip. The boat landed nose first, breaking in two on impact.
That caused a red flag that forced all the boats to come to a stop for several minutes before it was determined that Muscatel -who said he suffered only some soreness and a bump on the head - was okay.
It was the second close call of the day. Also emerging almost totally unscathed was U-10 Miss Emcor driver Mike Weber, whose boat flew high into the air before landing right-side up in Heat 3B. Weber was examined for a minor concussion before being released.
The crazy finish capped a day in which Hydro-Prop chairman Gary Garbrecht's new parity-inducing rules - namely, limits on fuel for the fastest boats and pre-assigned lanes - appeared to work as well as ever.
There were five different winners in the first six preliminary heats, with only Brown winning twice.
Villwock might have beaten Brown in Heat 3A, but was penalized a lap for forcing Brown to go wide in a turn, a fitting precursor for the final heat.
Mark Tate finished second in the U-2 Miss Trendwest with Steve David and the Oh Boy! Oberto in third place, Mike Hanson and the U-9 Miss Jack-sons Sports Bar fourth and Jimmy King and the U-8 Llumar Window Film fifth.
Villwock could take some minor solace in the fact that he still leads the national high points standings with 546, followed by Hanson (489), Brown (477) and Tate (432).
He'll have to wait until Sunday to get some more when Brown and Villwock will meet again for Seafair on Lake Washington.
"Hell yeah we've got a good rivalry going,'' Brown said. "I can't stand the guy.''
Short-lived defense - Terry Troxell's defense of his Columbia Cup championship didn't last long.
The Gig Harbor resident was done for the day after the first three preliminary heats, not even bothering to attempt to race in the last-chance consolation final - the winner of that heat serves as a trailing boat for the winner-take-all championship finale.
Troxell's U-100 Fairweather Masonry boat blew out two engines Friday and Saturday, but the team had high hopes heading into Sunday after putting in a third engine.
The boat's throttle froze in the first heat and a rear stabilizing wing broke, making the boat hard to drive, and Troxell limped in in last place. The engine then ran into fuel control problems in the second heat, resulting in a fourth-place finish.
Troxell finished third in the third heat, after which he called it a day, deciding the chance to be a trailing boat wasn't worth possibly incurring more damage to the boat. He said the boat should be fine for Seafair Sunday.
FINAL HEAT SPEEDS ...
1st ... U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 146.721
2nd ... U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate 135.970
3rd ... U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David N/A
4th ... U-9 Miss Jack-Sons, Mike Hanson N/A
5th ... U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jimmy King N/A
6th ... U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock N/A
DNF ... U-25 Silver Dollar Casino, Ken Muscatel
HEAT 3B ...
1st ... U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate 145.027
2nd ... U-9 Miss Jack-sons, Mike Hanson 143.832
3rd ... U-99 Fairweather Masonry, Terry Troxell 136.471
4th ... U-25 Silver Dollar Casino, Ken Muscatel 121.766
DNF ... U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber
HEAT 3A ...
1st ... U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 141.968
2nd ... U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 137.494
3rd ... U-100 American Pride, Greg Hopp 118.897
4th ... U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jimmy King 141.062
5th ... U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 105.444 (Lap Penalty)
HEAT 2B ...
1st ... U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 147.403
2nd ... U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber 146.094
3rd ... U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate 141.407
4th ... U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 141.015
5th ... U-100 American Pride, Greg Hopp 131.527
HEAT 2A ...
1st ... U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jimmy King 143.053
2nd ... U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 139.046
3rd ... U-9 Miss Jack-sons, Mike Hanson 136.243
4th ... U-99 Fairweather Masonry, Terry Troxell 128.239
5th ... U-25 Silver Dollar Casino, Ken Muscatel 125.769 (no points)
HEAT 1B ...
1st ... U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock 139.659
2nd ... U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David 136.256
3rd ... U-25 Silver Dollar Casino, Ken Muscatel 121.621 (no points)
4th ... U-10 Miss EMCOR, Mike Weber 114.657
5th ... U-2 Miss Trendwest, Mark Tate 103.535
HEAT 1A ...
1st ... U-9 Miss Jack-sons, Mike Hanson 141.489
2nd ... U-16 Miss Elam Plus, Nate Brown 139.163
3rd ... U-100 American Pride, Greg Hopp 138.751
4th ... U-8 Llumar Window Film, Jimmy King 137.909
5th ... U-99 Fairweather Masonry, Terry Troxell 107.169
Final Qualifying Speeds ...
U-16 Miss E-Lam Plus, Nate Brown ... 162.666
U-1 Miss Budweiser, Dave Villwock ... 158.895
U-9 Jacksons, Mike Hanson ... 156.393
U-2 Trendwest, Mark Tate ... 155.803
U-100 American Pride, Greg Hopp ... 154.051
U-10 EMCOR, Mike Weber 153.518
U-8 LLumar Window Film, Jimmy King ... 152.178
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto, Steve David ... 150.235
U-99 Fairweather Masonry, Terry Troxell ... 147.766
U-25 Silver Dollar Casino, Ken Muscatel ... 143.104
U-3 Vacationville.com, Mitch Evans ... 141+ testing
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