HydroFest racing cancelled Friday due to weather

Storms in the area produced choppy water conditions on Lake Guntersville.

Posted: Jun 22, 2018 3:05 PM
Updated: Jun 22, 2018 5:56 PM

Unsafe conditions on Lake Guntersville cancelled the Friday qualifying round of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing and Grand Prix World.

Choppy waters brought on by severe weather moving through the area led race organizers to call off the first day of HydroFest.

A day of hour-by-hour wind delays hampered the seven H1 Unlimited team’s attempts to qualify for the Southern Cup hydroplane race. Unfortunately at 2:30 pm (CT), H1 Unlimited chief referee Doug Shelton made the decision to postpone qualify until Saturday, June 23rd after studying weather forecasts for the remainder of the day.

Qualifying for the Southern Cup has been rescheduled for Saturday between 11:00 am-noon on the 2-1/2 mile Lake Guntersville race course .

“It is unfortunate that Mother Nature did not cooperate today,” Shelton said. We apologize to all the thousands of fans that came out today but we have to consider the safety of our drivers,” Shelton said.

The large white cap waves did not allow the H1 Unlimited hydroplane race teams to even put their race boats into the water.

In addition to white caps, there were also issues with the course markers breaking away from their moorage.

“It looked like a bunch of beach balls at a Jimmy Buffett concert when those course marks broke loose and drifted across the lake,” said Cal Phipps, driver of the U-27 Greater Gadsden presents Chase Building Group based out of Rainbow City, Ala. The U-27 team is the only race team based in the South.

Even though there was no racing today, drivers remain amped for the inaugural race.

Tom Thompson, driver of the U-11 Reliable Diamond Tool presents J&D’s said, “It doesn’t add to my pressure tomorrow because every driver is in the same predicament. But we would have been more prepared for racing on Saturday and Sunday had we run today.”

2017 national champion Jimmy Shane, driver of the U-1 Miss HomeStreet said, “I’m bummed that we couldn’t get the boats on the water today, buy I am looking forward to getting the race boats on the water tomorrow and putting on a great show for all the fans in Guntersville.”

Saturday’s preliminary heat races will remain at the scheduled 2:30 pm (CT) for heat 1A and 3:00 pm for heat 1B.

Saturday’s Revised Schedule
8:00 am Gates Open
8:30-9:45 am H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Testing
12:15-1:30 pm H1 Unlimited Drivers Autograph Session
2:30-3:00 pm H1 Unlimited Preliminary Heat 1A
3:00-3:30 pm H1 Unlimited Preliminary Heat 1B

Sunday’s Schedule
8:00 am HydroFest Gates Open
9:30 am–10:30 am H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes Testing IV
10:30 am–11:15 am Hot Pit Media Access to H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Drivers, Crew Chiefs, Teams.
1:30 pm–2:00 pm H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes Preliminary Heat 2A
2:00 pm-2:30 pm H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes Preliminary Heat 2B
2:35 pm–2:45 pm Media Press Conference-First place winners of Preliminary Heat 2A, 2B
3:00 pm–3:30 pm H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes Preliminary Heat 3A
3:30 pm–4:00 pm H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes Preliminary Heat 3B
4:05 pm–4:15 pm Media Press Conference-First place winners of Preliminary Heat 3A, 3B
5:00 pm–5:30 pm Southern Cup Championship Final
5:35 pm Media Press Conference, Podium Finishers (1-3)

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