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Hammondsport Round 2

By Ray Rodda

Jun 15, 2021

This weekend was spent at Hammondsport, NY with a US Title Series race with the Hammondsport Fire Department as our sponsor. What a great weekend of comrade between the Fire Dept group led by Chief Bill Fris(sp) forgive me Chief, who worked tirelessly in our behalf. The Title Series cannot thank them, the city, and the fans for embracing us. Thank you too all who gave us a great weekend. And I cannot let our volunteers go without a big thanks for your help in putting this all together.

The water was roiled up at times between the wind and the pleasure boats that were coming out of the marina, as this is a large pleasure boat lake and rightfully so. We dealt with the wind on Saturday and only were able to run half of our usual program. So we had early wake up calls for Sunday and started the 2nd half of Saturday at 8:00 am Sunday morning which gave us smooth water for most of the day.

The weekend was not without drama as Danny Kirts decided to see what a capsule can take when you flip it as he did at Clarksville, Ar. This time instead of a blow over as there, this one was a side roll as the right sponson dipped and Butt end over tea Kettle occurred. My thanks to Gary Merkel who was in the turn who immediately went to Danny’s aide and dove in to assist getting him out of the capsule. WAY TO GO GARY!!!!! They transported Danny to the hospital and stitched up a leg cut and within a couple of hours was back at the race site. So grateful that this legend was okay. Grandson Andy was with him the whole time and fortunately was able to support his Grandpa.

Now for some action in the races this weekend.

I am going to start with the 1100R class as this was a weekend of remembering Bill Fales, long time leader of APBA as well as the founder of a company called PowerMist, and not least of all a National Champion in this class. Son’s Rick and Steve Fales donated a most beautiful trophy with a replica of Bill’s boat with N-77 on the side and a replica of a big Quincy Six Looper. What a prize for the winner.

Andy Kirts after going to the hospital with Grandpa Dan, came back and put the rest of the big runabouts that he is here and ready to kick butt. This is the second win this season for Andy in the 1100R, could not go to a happier man as he and Brad Dygert riding along took the trophy. Jason Sailer introduce young Michael Smith, Jerry Davids Grand Son to some big runabout speed as a deck rider with him for the 2nd spot, with Austin Van Over and Erin Pitman going for the ride as well. More on young Michael later.

Our thanks to Rick and Steve for the beautiful hardware and will be a prized possession for the 1100R class.

As the big 500’s headed to the water, the wind kicked up and these guys were not going to be stopped by rough water. Jason Sailer did a complete 360 just before the start but was able to keep it running.

Eric Van Over won the first heat with a great start and never headed. As the second heat came up, the drivers were a little scattered at the start with the eventual heat winner Steve Fales starting last in the Pat Wright entry N-611. We were running just 3 laps because of the water conditions so he had plenty of work to do.

Steve told me he and Pat put a smaller wheel on it and set it up for rough water and did that work. Slowly or shoukd I say “fast my” Steve picked off the guys in front of him and on the last lap, just before the bottom corner he got byAndrew Thirlby to take the heat and overall win.

Steve Fales
Eric Van Over
Andrew Thirlby


Michael Smith, the Grand Son of Jerry Davids took to the water driving a boat that his Grandfather built for him. The story is that Michael had been running some stock boats and took a ride in Paulie Bosnich's 250R and the heat was on for Jerry to build a new boat and secure the motors. Michael went out and ran away in the first heat of 250R with Rich Krier and Paulie fighting it out as Paulie held him off at the finish line by about a 1/2 a boat length.

What a great young man and what a treasure he has in a Grandfather like Jerry Davids to learn from

Ayden Sovie of Ogdensburg NY, and a generational Sovie racer finished out fron in all 4 of the heats of our class for our young people Joe Perez of Depue took the 2nd spot for the weekend.

Brad Dygert was the winner in the class as he was flying over the water literally at times. Brian Palmquist celebrating a birthday weekend driving the David Tenney entry, the D-10E ended up on the podium for the 2nd spot. Ethan Fox showing he has been learning quickly in boat racing finished on the podium for the 3rd spot.


Mike Krier, the innovator and builder of Pro Runabouts took the orange X-50 to the front after changing props and getting the speed he needed. Jerry Davids had won the first heat and Mike the second heat with Jerry finishing 2nd on the podium and brother Rich Krier for the 3rd spot.

Eric Van Over overcame troubles this weekend, he had to with Ike Yoder pick me up as I was trying to cross one of the orange plastic fences and went down in a thud. Tore up the elbow, hit the ribs a bit, and the knee. Lots of love from Sue and Denise got me through it though. Can’t say thanks enough for Ike and Eric’s help in literally lifting me to my feet.
As for the racing, Eric running the Thrilby Automotive Pugh Black and Green finished out front of Ray Bradford and Jake Hoffet to take the win. Dan Kirts who had flipped in 1100H was of course a non-starter here.


John Palmquist driving the Mike Schmidt Racing entry was just full of speed as he went out and that boat is one of the fastest and best turning boats I have seen. Gary Merkel of Arlington, Illinois had been struggling somewhat during the weekend, and Mike Schmidt went over and helped Gary, even though he was going to be running against his equipment later this weekend. Pete Nydahl finished in the 3rd spot for the class.

This is what I love about boat racing people, get everyone on the water is the mantra,

Pete Kelly in that beautiful TBR Orange and Black was the winner as he finished out front in both heats. Ethan Fox showing his improvement every time out took the 2nd spot with Brian Palmquist in the David Tenney entry rounded out the podium finishes. Brad Dygert a usually strong force in 125H fought the gremlins here in the this class after a great 175H win.


Johnny Wlodarski who is brand new to not only the USTS, but was brand new to the JW Meyers owned and built runabout entered the 700R class at Hammondsport. JW came by the booth and asked if we could give Johnny a couple of laps Sunday morning to give him some feel for the speed and the boat. We sent him out for a couple of laps and boy, did he get comfortable or what as he ended up winning the very first 700R race he entered. Well done by Johnny and J-Dub. Jason Sailer in the tribute boat to the Thirlby Automotive Team, Big Ed Thirlby took the second spot, with Big Ed's Grand son Andrew finishing on the podium for the 3rd spot.

I may have this wrong, but will correct later.
Memory says our President of the USTS Pete Nydahl took this one home with Brandon Mills and John Palmquist in the mix. My apologies to Marc LaRose as he finished in the 3rd spot, Congrats