Havre de Grace native and unlimited hydroplane driver Jimmy Shane was looking for a fourth straight win Sunday in Seattle, but untimely damage to his Oberto Racing U-6 Hydroplane in the winner-take-all final race left Shane and his team with a third place finish in the weekend's Albert Lee Appliance Cup at Seattle's Seafair in Washington state.
Despite the non-winning finish, the first in four races, Shane maintained the season's high-points lead by 973 points over closest competitor, J. Michael Kelly in the Graham Trucking boat. Shane's 1,350 Seattle points were a combination of becoming the fastest qualifier (156.243 mph) along with good and bad "racing luck" on the course.
In Saturday's Heat 1B, Shane and the Oberto were struck by Dave Villwock's Beacon Plumbing hydroplane, suffering damage which hampered the hull's handling. Oberto finished heat 1B in third position.
With damage fixed, Shane easily bested the field in Heats 2B and 3B, but when the front canard wing of the Oberto splintered after three laps of the five-lap final race, the Oberto became difficult to control and Shane wrestled it around the course for the final two laps, finishing third.
Despite the bad luck on the water, the Oberto team and Shane had a bit of post-racing luck. At the post-race award ceremony, the Oberto team was selected as the recipient of the Fox Plumbing & Heating Jackpot Award winner, earning the team $20,000 and an additional five thousand dollars for Shane.
A week earlier in the Columbia Cup in Tri-Cities, Wash., Shane drove the Oberto to another win, but not without more nailbiting repairs.
In Heat 3B, the Oberto was damaged badly when former champion driver Villwock dislodged a course marker buoy, then veered wildly to the right, slamming into Shane and sending the U-6 off the race course.
Shane brought the Oberto to the Columbia Cup pit area, and the crew quickly assessed the damage and set about repairs, with the help from the GBR11 Peters and May crew. The teams' had 40 minutes to prepare the hull for the final heat and the repairs were completed with time to spare.
In the final heat, Shane was able to grab the inside lane and motor away from the field. Oberto's winning average speed in the final heat was 145.254 mph with a fast lap of 148.194 mph.
The H1 Unlimited Hydroplane series resumes in San Diego, Calif., on Mission Bay for the annual Bayfair event, set for Sept. 12-14.