Today, 02:49 PM

The final day and day 3 of the Nationals broke with Sunshine at its maximum, but with a front having gone through, the wind was over the threshold for safety for a good part of the day. We were able to run off the 1100R’s and the 125’s before we ended up with about 4 hour delay for safety as the wind was tearing it up big time. The Sunday crowd was enormous as usual and the vendors were doing brisk business.

By Ray Rodda

July 28 2014

The first class up was 1100R with saying the winner 3 different times, Derek Gessler and Amy Nydahl, as Derek was challenged by Mike and Julia Thirlby in each heat, but Mike’s engine was balking in the first two heats and was unable to finish. Jim Kirts and Ike Yoder finished in the second spot over Andrew Thirlby and Ashley Rucker.


  1. Thirlby/Rucker

A fitting tribute was paid to Howard “Andy” Anderson of the famous R-12 equipment with a very nice article in the Depue Men’s Club program booklet, and by Colin and Ashley Rucker to Grandpa Andy just before the 1100R’s, his favorite class, hit the water.
In 125H we split the first heat as we had 15 of them and needed to get to the top 12 before we got to e boats.
Between GJ, a flip, Todd Anderson, he is OK, and engine problems, David Jones taking 2 heat wins and a 5th in a heat gathered enough points to take the title over David Tenney and Dom DeFebo. Todd Anderson and Jake Quesse won the first two heats, but with the flip, GJ by both, and a carburetor falling off for Jake, they can only wonder what if.
We also presented the 500R podium finishers to the crowd as well as we had not done that on Saturday evening. Andrew Thirlby won 2 heats by good margin, being pushed by his dad Mike to set again another record for Lake Depue by 12.5 seconds. This absolutely was one of the fastest heats of the weekend. It is funny how Dad chasing you, in no matter what part of life, you hurry along a little more, kind of running for your life. Andrew finished out front in the first two heats, was not going to be snookered into jumping the gun, by hanging out back as they approached the starting line, he did exactly what he should have done, and finished with 4th in that heat. Andrew’s Dad Mike finished in the second spot, with Brian Payn in the Jim and Pat Wright entry, finished on the podium as well.

This gave Andrew a double as Jared Gryskiewicz did last year winning both the 500/700R classes.
Then as we broke for the changeover on the turn judges, the wind really decided to do its thing, on hold we went. I was amazed at the best race fans in the country who held with us, hoping that we were going to get back on the water. We took the time to honor the folks with 1100 and 125 podium finishes by presenting their Olympic style medals to each of them. It was fun for the fans to see, meet, and greet the drivers at their level.
After about a 4 hour wait, we began again worried that we would not get it all in to finish out the 2014 USTS Nationals. Although that did happen, were able to run off two heats of the 250H, 350R, and Top Hydro.
In the 250H category again GJ, engine problems, and a mix of issues combined to give you a mixed up point total, except for Kurtis Nydahl who won by winning one heat and finishing 2nd to Eric Schmidt riding a rocket ship in the 2nd heat, but Eric had a defective spark plug boot in the first heat, unable to finish and can only wonder. Kurtis, Jeff, and Eric all showed great speed and was great fun to watch. Kugler in that ne Pugh is getting it dialed in and will be a force.

Brian Payn and Don Rusnak were the only two legal boats on the water when the first heat ended up. In the next heat Brian had trouble, but was able to finish and take the win. Mike Krier after having jumped the gun in the first heat took second, with brother Richard finishing 3rd.

M. Krier
R. Krier

Top Hydro came up next with over 12k in prize money on the line from Robby Galletta and the REV-2 company which we want to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH ROBBY. The crowd had hung around all day getting ready to watch this one as 11 Top Hydro’s hit the water with a vengeance. In this heat disaster struck as Sean McKean went over in the bottom turn and in the confusion and debris Jimmy Wright also went over. Both drivers were able to escape from the capsules and surfaced. Our Safety director Fred Mason and Black Diamond safety boats were on scene to help. Both drivers were injured, Jim with cuts to his face that required some stiching, and Sean to a gash to his lower leg. Both were transported to the hospital and Sean was later transferred to a regional hospital in Peoria, Illinois. Keep both of them in your thoughts and prayers please.
In the rerun, let me tell you, no one can throw a hydro into the corner like Amy Nydahl as she and Doug Hall in a spirited battle for the top spot, Amy came up the inside of Doug and got him in the first turn and off she went. Doug unfortunately jumped the gun in the 2nd heat, not by much, and lead the first couple of laps before he pulled off the course, with Amy going on to a well deserved victory.

It was a great day of racing for the Nydahl family with Amy winning the 6,000.00 first prize, finishing first with Derek in the 1100R, Kurtis winning the 250H category, Momma Kelly on the judges stand to enjoy it. Pete one of the best wrenches around proved the medal this weekend.
Our thanks to all of our volunteers who work tirelessly to make the USTS the best in putting on a National event and races all over the country week in and week out. To our leader, Todd Brinkman, thanks my man for doing it in style. Big Pal, always there and to Sue Sailer our Chief Scorer, Fred Mason and all those on the stand, our turn judges, thank you very much.
To our friends in The Depue Men’s club our thanks for 30 years of a handshake deal on the Nationals and another 30 on the handshake as well. Slick, thank you for all you have done, as you turn this to the younger generation, no foundation laid has ever been better. I looked around this weekend and found new faces, enthusiasm, and joy in serving the community, that is a wonderful legacy that you have left. Top’s to you Slick.
Our thanks also the city of Depue, lead by Eric Bryant and his folks to set the stage for another successful interaction between the boat racing family and our Depue brothers and sisters. Well done!!!!!


Photo by Jean Tennell

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