USTS 2017 DePue post race wrap-up by Ray Rodda
Well the withdrawals have already started this day as the 2017 USTS Nationals came to an end on Sunday with terrific racing, a great crowd, and the best weather for a weekend of Depue that I can remember. The Depue Men’s Club remains the best and outstanding sponsor and were rewarded all weekend with record crowds, as they were 10–15 deep all the way down the lake front. And on top of all of that the USTS Nationals had a surge of 15% to take 171 entries to the water this year.
The big crowds all weekend had a treat as a secondary clock on the barge was turned toward the crowd so that they could see the countdown to the start and be able to judge whether we had boats coming up to early or not. Our thanks to the Depue Men’s Club for their help in donating to help put this in place. Thank you Men’s Club.
Because we were unable to complete Saturday’s program that day, we started up early, and our thanks to the churches of Depue for allowing that to happen. We started off with the big 500R with 12 of them scheduled to hit the water.
Tim , driving for the B&B Electric-Brinkman entry finished out front in the first heat only to stick a piston as he circled back to the pits. Fast work b the Brinkman team put him back into the fray for the second heat. Tom Kirts in his laydown runabout dug the outside chine in the first turn and rolled it over but was okay. Andrew Thirlby gave Tim a run but finished second in that heat with Jared Gryskiewicz finishing third.
In the next heat they all hit the line together and the water was flying in the first turn and as it settled, Andrew Thirlby’s boat sat in the first turn sans the driver. Andrew was pitched out of his boat and another boat hit Andrew in the water coming through on the outside. It took quite a chunk out of the helmet and banged Andrew up a bit. He was transported to the hospital awake and conversing with his safety people and family. Initial reports were no broken bones or cuts, but they were going to do an MRI to ascertain any injuries not noticed by the medical team at the hospital. Grateful, very grateful.
Tim Small, promptly with a new piston in that 440 Rossi, went out and hid from the rest of the competitors in the second heat while a number of drivers jumped the gun and gave Tim 800 points and an insurmountable lead so that he did not have to run the third heat, as Jared finished out front in the 3rd heat, while Brennan Burkland running two good heats after jumping the gun in one, finished on the podium here, a great run for the young man.
Next up was 700H with Doug Hall driving that big 4 cylinder Rossi, finished out front in two heats with Amy Nydahl finishing 2ndand 3rd in the two heats she ran, while David Hooten won the third heat as Doug hung back at the start as he should have to keep from jumping the gun, he only had to finish to win. David put a 1,2,3, finish in his heats in that 34 year old boat, but with new bottom under her.
Now on to Sunday’s original schedule. First up was 125H as we had engine changes to make from the Hydro’s to the Runabouts for 1100. We had 20 125’s to start the heats and split them up to run. This class had a lot of gun jumping going on. In fact the two boats that won finished next to last and last on the water to take the heat.
David Tenny took the first heat as did Brandon Mills. In the second heat, David once again finished out front, but the other heat had all the gun jumpers with John Maddrell winning. Steve Niesen won the other heat to put him in the points lead for the 3rdheat. Again the gun jumping took its toll and David Tenny with two heat wins takes the title back to Connecticut.
Next up the 1100R hit the water with Austin Van Over looking to add to his 700R title with his girlfriend Kristen Brennan, who was not only attending her first boat race, but went for the ride with Austin. He reeled off two heat wins with ease and then came the 3rd heat with Derek Gesler and Amy Nydahl going for the gold in the 3rd heat as Austin and Derek brought the crowd to their feet as they went four laps side by side the whole heat, with Austin eking out a boat length win for three in a row. Joe and his Dad Mike Franck gave a great accounting of themselves and finished all three heats and finished 2nd in one of the heats.
The second half of the program started with the super competitive and fast 250H’s as Chis Hellsten with a great start in the first heat was never headed and finished far out front. But this was not going to be an easy win for anyone as this class has become a fan favorite for a reason, you never know who will surface for the win. Pete Kelly won a heat, but unfortunately jumped in one of the other heats, while Kurtis Nydahl also took a heat win. See, that’s what I told you, who, who, who, was going to surface as the winner overall.
As they went to the 3rd heat, Kurtis and Chris were tied with a first and fourth for each, with Eric Schmidt lurking right behind those two, Amy Nydahl just behind them in points. Anyone of the 4 could have won this one. At the start Kelly took the lead and stretched it out, while Kurtis going into the first turn at the start missed a buoy and had to go back around ending his chances, while Chris Hellsten settled into the second spot with Eric Schmidt just behind him.
350R came up and it was almost all JJ Walls, a young man driving the B&B Electric, Brinkman entry to the 4th title for the team in the 2017 US Title Series Nationals. On Friday, Brady Brinkman won the K Pro class, JJ took the 250R class on Saturday and Tim Small driving for B&B won the 500R on Sunday. Now it was time for JJ, a welder with John Force Racing, did just that to complete a great weekend for him and the Brinkman team. JJ the won the first two heats, although he lost the cowling in the second heat and nursed it home without doing damage to the engine. In the third heat he hung back once again as he should at the start, but not too far, finished the race to take the title home. Tim Small took the 3rd heat and Brian Payn had the 2nd in that heat.
The last class of the Title Series Nationals was Top Hydro, with a run what you brung to the party. Our thanks to Robbie Galletta of Robbie Galletta Enterprises as he put up $2, 500.00 for the win while 2nd and third were 1,000 and 500 respectively.
Doug Hall as he cut across the lake to join up the rest after the one minute gun went off saw his cowling get taken to the wind, and that is a real problem for these engines as too much air getting to them and could damage them. Doug of course in contact by radio knew that this had occurred, did he let that bother him, some, but not enough to keep him from taking the win with that Rex Hall prepared Rossi. Amy Nydahl chased him for the whole heat, but Doug had too much. The steadiness of Ike Yoder is something to behold as he finished in the 3rd spot in he heat.
Doug went out and controlled the 2nd heat, I am sure that cowling had 150mph duct tape holding that to the boat. Amy once again finished in the 2nd spot with Ike 3rd once again. The excitement in this heat was David Hooten, who stopped just outside the 1st turn exit, and low and behold, he went down with the ship. The bottom hit something and put a hole about the size of a 5 gallon bucket and down he went. David was ok, not so much can be said for the boat. Glad you are ok David.
Well the third heat was a repeat of the holding back theory to not jump the gun, but Amy had no such concern and promptly went off and hid in the 3rd heat to put her stamp on it. Again, Doug knowing what he needed to do, finished and took home Top Hydro once again and also won the Nic Davis Memorial trophy for garnering the most points in the 3 capsule classes for the weekend. Congrats Doug.
Well as I said, withdrawal has already set in and as I wrote this I relived the 3 days of glorious weather, the crowds, the great organization of both the Depue Men’s Club and the US Title Series under the direction of Todd Brinkman our President and Sue and Denise and their crew on the judges stand.
Thanks to Mayor Bryant and Steve Solario for all the work, the commitment to this sport and your leadership.