Well as I stated a few weeks ago that the action would heat up at Pleasant Prairie for the US Title Series, unfortunately I was not talking about the weather. The day started off very muggy, low clouds and warm temps. As the morning wore on we were waiting for a 5K swim to finish on the lake to start our day’s activities. As the morning wore on the weather took a big turn to the worst. Wind, rain, and cool temps asserted themselves and the thought was that we would not get any racing in. But our luck turned and the clouds thinned out during the day and racing we did and the action as stated was fast and furious and a surprising good crowd came out. We ended up with 75 entries so far, but a few other drivers are committed to coming in tomorrow, so a good field of boats for today and tomorrow’s racing are and were promised.
First up was the 250R’s with National Champ JJ Walls in the B&B Brinkman entry nursing a small 40 point lead for the Hi Point championship over Tim Small. As they hit the water in the first heat, Rich Krier jumped out front and was never headed as Tim Small found himself sitting off the exit of turn one, having broken a prop shaft and losing the prop as well. Rich came back and won the second heat easily as well, only this time it was JJ sitting on the backstretch with a broken ring. So the 3rd heat with JJ still holding on to his lead, as both he and Tim were tied on points having each a 2nd in the first two heats. The third heat, brother Mike went out and lead the field the whole way with Tim edging out JJ for the points for 4th while JJ finished in the 5th spot, 169 points vs 127 to give Tim a Hi Point Championship by 2.5 points. Paul Bosnich had a good run in all three heats to finish on the podium as well.
Next up was the 350H class with Kurt Nydahl holding a slim 43.5-point lead over his sister Amy. Lee Tietze and Olivia Valentine from Oregon came to play in the USTS and we are grateful they willingly made the trek. In the first heat, there was no doubt what was on the mind of Amy as the National Champ, she wanted to add the HI Point to it. She finished out front of the field as Gary Buskirk who led them up, unfortunately jumped the gun and led most of the heat until Amy was finally able to get by him at the last corner for a win on the water, but not knowing Gary had jumped. Brother Kurtis finished second, so did we have another come from behind Hi Point to contend with???? Well, Brother Kurtis said thank you very much and went out and won the next heat while Amy finished in the third spot. Gary took the second spot, so it set up for the 3rd and final heat, with another heat win by Kurtis to cement his Hi point win.
Next up was 500H with Ike Yoder having the lock on the Hi Point and good think it was already decided, as he blew up in the first heat and never got back to the water unfortunately. Mark Gryskiewicz and David Hooten in the third heat put on a clinic of exciting racing as David using a wide arch on the last corner eaked out a 2 foot win over Mark for the third heat, while having not finished the second heat, Mark took the win overall in 500H. Jake Hoffert, driving a steady race this weekend finished on the podium for the second time in three races, BTW, those are the first 3 races of his career, way to go Jake.
First up in the second flight was K-Pro and the battle is between 2015’s National and Hi Point Champ, Mackenzie Hellsten and 2016’s National Champ Brianna Payn. Mac had an 87.5 point lead on Brianna entering this event. As you would expect the two friends off the water went after it hot and heavy. They ended up trading the heat wins today with two more tomorrow. Rex Bayer finished in the 3rd spot for the two heats. Two more tomorrow to crown the Hi Point champ.
125 Hydro was all about David Tenney, in the D-10E, get that number??? David won all three heats easily over Ray Hammond who will take the USTS Hi Point championship away from this weekend and Jon Wienandt, who was in a brand new Sam Hemp built hydro after Jon unfortunately tore up both of his boats in two crashes a week apart, did not do himself much good either, but was great to see running again.
The day ended sunny and bright and what a 500R race was had. Brennan Burkland ran off and hid in the first heat with a very stout field. Jared Gryskiewicz coming into the bottom turn, came to a sudden stop as he peeled the bottom of the runabout and sunk it. After getting a good ride in that first heat, Brenan led them up for the start with Kurtis Nydahl just off the right side when they both jumped the gun and that opened the door for Tim Small, Bill Hemp, and Daniel Hooten to take the top 3 spots, but as they all headed to the 3rd heat a scant 202 points separated the top 6 drives and you knew the 3rd heat was going to be a donnybrook and it was.
As the 3rd heat wore on, Tim Small took a pretty good lead on the field with a beautiful first turn with everyone looking for good water at the start of the first turn. Tim dove to the inside and led them through the first 3-1/2 laps. Kurtis Nydahl began to show some speed, tried inside a couple of times, but Tim held him off, then Kurtis looking for the best line of attack, took to the outside and began to close the gap, letting that arching speed take some of the short way around away from Tim. As they entered the last corner, Kurtis caught Tim on the outside and they were arching the corner headed to the finish line when they bumped and up and over, with the wildest runabout blow over I have seen in a very long time, went Kurtis. The audience, crews, and judges stand held our collective breath, until Fred Mason our safety director on the safety boat pronounced that Kurtis was A-OK, whew, thank you good Lord. What a wild and crazy finish, but as I say when asked, how were the races, GREAT, EVERYONE GOT TO GO HOME.
Tomorrow will bring some sadness and relief as we finish out our year and hope that our drivers, crews, and fans will take away something good from a wonderful USTS season. My thanks to Susan Sailer and sister Denise, and all of our folks for the great job on the judges stand, along with our volunteers over the year. Fred Mason, you deserve nothing but the best and nothing but the affection of all of us for a job well done my friend.
My thanks also to our fearless leader, Todd Brinkman, his helpers in the pits, Big Pal, Paul Bosnich, and Rick Jedwabny, thanks guys.
Write for tomorrow will come Monday, see ya then.