The Jersey Speed Skiff, Hydro 350, Formula 2500 and 2.5 litres classes will see many new faces, and some familiar ones, appear on the Hydroplane Racing League circuit for the next season. Following the 2020 calendar that was forced to be cancelled because of the pandemic, we can bet that the newcomers and veterans alike are eager to jump aboard their craft next year. Here is a look at the main changes to come.28 October 2020
The next generation of talented drivers has arrived in 2.5 litres. Outboard driver and 2013 Rookie of the year of the APBA, the American Jeff Dobis, who was supposed to participate in his first HRL season in 2020, will be driving the S-49 Dock Blaster next year. Sébastien Leduc and Tristant Maheu, son of the Grand Prix triple champion Pierre Maheu, will team up at the wheel of the S-555 Happy Sunny, an Auld-Henderson hull. The duo also saw their debut in the HRL pushed back because of the cancellation of the 2020 season.
Hydroplane racing enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to witness Ayden Sovie in action. The 15-year-old is a third-generation driver as the son of Joe Sovie and grandson of Bob Sovie. 2019 APBA East Coast Rookie of the Year, he will compete in the 2.5 litres class aboard the S-135 of Ed Thompson.
A rookie on the HRL roster in 2019, Owen Henderson, son of Grand Prix triple champion Bert Henderson, will no longer share the commands of the S-16 Miss Sweet Sixteen with Mathis-Gabriel Chiasson. The latter will now drive a new boat, the S-57 How?. Choosing number 57 was not a coincidence, as he is the stepson of the popular driver of the GP-57, Patrick Haworth.
Finally, brothers Colin and Connor Handy, aged 17 and 19 respectively, will share the wheel of the S-333 for the first time on the HRL circuit. They have, however, been driving outboards since the age of 9.
2021 2.5 litres drivers
- S-16 – Owen Henderson
- S-29 – Alex Tremblay
- S-49 – Jeff Dobis
- S-57 – Mathis-Gabriel Chiasson
- S-135 – Ayden Sovie
- S-199 – Simon Fortin
- S-333 – Colin et Connor Handy
- S-555 – Sébastien Leduc and Tristan Maheu
The Ontarian driver Steve Armstrong will now be at the helm of the F-92 Tenacity of owner and team leader Al Thompson. He hopes to take over where his predecessor Bobby King left off, as the winner of the class in 2019.
Meanwhile, Frédéric Couturier is joining Hearn Motorsports’ The Legacy team and will be driving a brand new motorboat, the F-52, which will be completed in time for the first race of 2021. Frédéric was previously part of the F-313 Hydroïd Racing team, which won the 2018 Régates de Valleyfield in 2.5 litres.
2021 Formula 2500 drivers
- F-4 – Tommy Shannon
- F-6 – Yves Villeneuve
- F-7 – Philippe Billette
- F-8 – Jean-François Latour
- F-14 – Grant Hearn
- F-22 – Dominic Billette
- F-26 – Kevin Smith
- F-43 – Doug Martin
- F-44 – Guillaume Charette
- F-52 – Frédéric Couturier
- F-63 – Scott Liddycoat
- F-92 – Steve Armstrong
- F-102 – Dominic Demers
- F-751 – Marc Lalonde
A lot of movement is happening in Hydro 350, as two drivers known from the fans will debut in the class. Indeed, Tyler Kaddatz, hydroplane driver since 2013, is making the jump in H-350 aboard a craft with new pontoons designed by his step-brother Bert Henderson, the H-195. Meanwhile, young driver Louis-Alexandre Beaudoin, who made his debut in JSS in 2019, will once again compete in this category, but also behind the wheel of Louis Allard’s previous boat, the H-113.
A new team lead by Alex Abbott will be introduced in 2021, in memory of Mathieu Daoust. Tommy Shannon is the designated driver to mount Daoust’s old H-350 hull. The boat will use the number H-306 Dognasty to commemorate the 30/06, day of the tragic death of the young driver. Tommy Shannon will also be driving the F-4 Pièces d’auto Valleyfield in Formula 2500.
2021 Hydro 350 drivers
- H-2 – Richard Haineault
- H-4 – Erik Allard
- H-5 – Gary Chalfant
- H-8 – Mikael Tremblay
- H-14 – Donny Allen
- H-37 – Karl St-Vincent
- H-52 – Paul Barber
- H-79 – Derec Smith
- H-104 – Marc Lecompte
- H-113 – Louis-Alexandre Beaudoin
- H-155 – Mickael Leboeuf
- H-195 – Tyler Kaddatz
- H-242 – Bobby King
- H-300 – Andrew Tate
- H-306 – Tommy Shannon
- H-447 – François Leroux
- H-519 – Kent Henderson
- H-666 – Danny Léger
- H-773 – Martin Rochon
- H-799 – Nicolas Rousse
- H-999 – Eric McKenna
Jersey Speed Skiff
There is little news in the Jersey Speed Skiff class, as the 2019 champions, Tom Pakradooni and Michele Morgan, who were competing for the first time on the HRL roster, will be back with the JS-7 Rolling Thunder.
A motorboat will, however, debut in JSS, as Brandon Kennedy and Mason McClure will drive the brand new Jamie Attardi hull, owned by Ron Thompson.
2021 Jersey Speed Skiff drivers
- JSS-7 – Tom Pakradooni and Michele Morgan
- JSS-10 – Jimmie Stewart and Peggy Ewancio
- JSS-35 – Brandon Kennedy and Mason McClure
- JSS-48 – Samuel Tremblay and Michael Tremblay
- JSS-61 – Michael Hendrickson and Joseph Clauss
- JSS-99 – Dave Greenlaw and Alexandre de Roy
- JSS-113 – Louis-Alexandre Beaudoin and Valmont Groulx
- JSS-991 – Billy Sewell, Austin Hayes and Frédéric Couturier
Stay tuned for the news in the Grand Prix class, which will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Cover photo credit