Powerboat Racing

2016 USTS Lake Springfield Thunder Post Race Summary by Ray Rodda

“Mother Nature reared her ugly side for The Thunder at Lake Springfield, Illinois, this weekend. The weather could not have been more beautiful on Friday during testing, but the weather man had been warning that the Springfield area would receive between 4–6” of rain starting late Saturday afternoon and into Sunday. A decision was voted by the board to go to 2 heat/3 lap racing and run all classes on Saturday, and indeed we did with a total of 83 entries for the weekend”

Photo credit US Title Series — PRO Racing Series

The first class up was 250R with Tim Small winning one heat, and Derrick Gessler winning, but jumped in another and that opened the door wide open for Tim Small who put a winand a third to take home the title at Springfield. Mike Krier in his first race this year, showed no rust as usual and finished in the second spot.

Tim Small
Mike Krier
Derek Gessler

The next class up 350H had a number of gun jumpers and engine problems but what a great race as Amy and Kurtis Nydahl traded heat wins with just shear power as both started toward the back in each heat and ran hard to get the leads, while finishing 2nd to the other in the opposite heat.. In the two heat format, ties on points are regular and it came down to the stop watch, and by .09 of a second, Amy took it home over Kurtis. Jeff Kugler finished 3rd in each heat for the other podium finish.


In the 500H, Doug Hall put his stamp all over this one as he won both heats convincingly and finished out in front of Mark Gryskeiwicz and Rick Saver. We had 7 of them on water in this class and seems we are seeing a resurgence of the capsules, with Nick Shakeshaft having bought one of the two Budd Gann built boats from Tom Adkins and has joined up with the capsule drivers. In addition, Tom and David Hooten were not able to make the Springfield race, along with Robbie Galleta’s new entry, a full field of capsules will be there for Top Hydro at Depue.


K-Pro came up next with Rex Bayer again showing the way at Springfield as he did at Pleasant Praire. Mackenzie Hellsten, Brianna Payn, and the rest of the K-Pro drivers did not make it easy on him though. Lyndsay McGrath, Maxine Pulsipher, and a new addition with a legacy name joined the fray, as Tom Brinkman’s son, driving that famous number 88 was on the water for the first time and Brady just missed being on the podium with his first race.


In 125H, David Tenney showed the kids the way around the Lake Springfield course with an overall win over Brandon Mills and Ray Hammond. Fun to watch Brandon, he came up early for the first heat start, early and loaded it up as he slowed way off. He got it to clean out and working his heart out, climbed to second to take 300 points. He finished well as did Ray Hammond to finish on the podium as well.


500R came up with 11 of these monsters of the midway coming at you. Jared Gryskeiwicz, coming all the way from Loveland, Co to join the fray after not having been in the boat for months following last year. The layoff seemed to not matter as he had a little trouble in the first heat and finished 3rd, but in the second heat, he had the speed and won it overall. Derek Gessler getting better runs each time we are at it, was very fast as well, with Andrew Thirlby in the green Thirlby Automotive entry, finished in the 3rd spot overall. I can’t wait to see what we see at Depue as there are 3 or 4 others to join the challenge at Depue.


In 125R the young guns showed up with Jackson Hall and Brad Dygert trading heat wins for a time, with Brad taking the win on time. Lyndsay McGrath, driving the race of her life to the other podium spot and let me tell you she was a natural at the runabout and drove a great race to take 3rd overall.


250H came up next, with Chris Hellsten celebrated his birthday at Kingston with a win and then drove all night, thank you Chris, and joined with us to win at Springfield. Kurtis Nydahl won one of the heats only to go dead in the water in the other. But he accumulated enough to finish just ahead of Jake Quesse for the 2nd place finish.


700R was the same old song, from the same old hymnal with Austin Van Over taking both heats to keep his record perfect for the year in the Thirlby Auto entry. In the second heat Andrew Thirlby had a sizeable lead, and Austin not satisfied to take the win without them being back to back heat wins, put on the charge to take the 2nd heat as well. Andrew finished in the second spot, and the venerable Pete Voss took the other podium finish.


175H came up with Tara Cook talking a heat and then engine problems grabbed her, but Baylee Burkland doubled up here after the win at Pleasant Prairie with a heat win and a 2nd place finish in the other. She looks to have a great shot at the Nationals as her and Tara will be the two young ladies to watch. Jon Wiendant finished with enough points to take the 2ndspot.


350R was Bryan Payn’s to grab and boy did he. He was in about the 5th or 6th spot going for the start in the first heat and found his way to 2nd before it was all over and then won the 2nd heat going away. He was absolutely not going to be denied the win. Tim Small and Mike Krier finished 2nd and 3rd for the podium

The finish with the 1100H left the crowd breathless in the second heat as Amy Nydahl and Doug Hall hooked up in a tremendous duel for all 3 laps, with Amy coming around the inside of Doug at the bottom corner headed for the checkered flag and by less than a half of boat length to the win in the heat and the overall win. Rick Saver had a great weekend and finsished on the podium again after having done so in the 500H class.


I cannot tell you how great a crew the Title Series has both in the pits with Todd Brinkman, our President as the pit boss, Paul(Big Pal) Bosnich, and Rick Jedwabny being eyes and ears with the crews for timing and help along with Sue Sailer and her crew on the judges stand, my thanks and tell you how proud and grateful I am for your work.

With 83 entries here, it bodes for a great turnout at Depue, we will look forward to seeing you there.


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