Cambridge Classic constrained by weather

CAMBRIDGE — Wind and heavy rain on Saturday forced a cancellation of day one of this year’s Cambridge Classic powerboat race, but a better day on Sunday allowed a full day of racing. Competitors came into town last week to iffy weather, but the worst of the week held off until Saturday, allowing the boats to test on Friday in preparation for the weekend. A total of 66 boats participated in the event, coming from across the East Coast, from Louisiana to Canada and as far west as Michigan.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper

Rain would not be an issue for this event; the problem comes from the wind and rough seas. Even the Jersey Skiff class, consisting of lap-straked runabouts powered by a 305ci V-8, can reach speeds of 80 mph on the course. The flat-bottomed hydroplanes are all capable of 100 mph, with the biggest boats capable of 140 mph or more. The least amount of chop can be extremely dangerous to any of these boats, to the point where the race action is routinely stopped if a passing unaware boater raises a wake onto the course.

The rain caused difficulty with parking at Great Marsh Park, but the community rallied to help. Parts of the parking entrance on Somerset were filled on Friday to reduce large puddles, but the field turned out to be too wet to park cars. Sandy Hill Elementary was pressed into service as off-site parking, and one of the Blackwater Shuttle buses jumped in to ferry spectators back and forth.

Saturday was a wash, but Sunday saw the races starting on time in the morning. Since this was the first race of the year, there were more than a few competitors who had to be towed in after having an engine quit on the course. Only one spectacular accident occurred, when Mario Blain blew over his hydroplane, boat number GP757 Canada Boy, in the first turn of his elimination heat. Speculation is that Mario slipped out of line and hit the rooster tail of one of the boats in front, and nosed-in the bow, tumbling the boat and breaking both sponsons off the hull.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper

Canada Boy did a spectacular moon shot and fortunately landed right side up. Mario was rattled in the crash, but was released after a thorough check-out by emergency medical personnel on site. Canada Boy is a GP class boat, one of the fastest boats on the water, and could have easily been traveling in excess of 100 mph when it went over.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper

The prestigious Nathan Index of Performance Award was won by Tom Pakradooni in his Jersey Speed Skiff JS7. The award is given to the boat that comes the closest to breaking a world speed record during the event.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper

The Skeeter Johnson Memorial trophy, awarded by the Hill’s Point Gang went to GP777 Steeler driven by Bert Henderson. The awards goes to the National Modified driver who accumulates the highest points total for the event.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper

Sunday results (position-boat #-name) 2.5 Litres: 1-52-Grant Hearn, 2-55-Alexis Weber, 3-313-Frederic Couturier, 4-4-Tommy Shannon, 5-44-Derek Demers; Formula 2500: 1-36-Yan Beaupre, 2-17-Gullaume Charette, 3-48-Donald Leduc, 4-69-Thomas Huganir, 5-25-Karson Kennedy, 6-92-Al Thompson, 7-519-Tyler Kaddatz; Hydro 350: 1-12-Jimmy King, 2-14-Donny Allen, 3-2-Richard Haineault, 4-97-Todd Liddycoat, 5-799-Remy Leblanc; Grand Prix: 1-777-Bert Henderson, 2-93-Marty Wolfe, 3-35-Mike Monahan, 4-50-Ken Brodie, 5-773-Martin Rochon, 6-9-Mathiew Daoust; 1 Litre Hydro: 1-1-J Michael Kelly, 2-80-Keith McMullen, 3-54-Valerie Wilson; Jersey Speed Skiff: 1-7-Tom Pakradooni, 2-10-Jimmie Stewart, 3-721-Courtney Stewart, 4-991-Billy Sewell, 5-61-Michael Hendrickson.

Paul Clipper is the editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at pclipper@newszap.com.

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