Keeping Pace

Hydroplanes Ready For Detroit River, 100th Running Of Gold Cup

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

The Gold Cup is the oldest active motorsport’s trophy in the world. The APBA Gold Cup is to power boat racing what the Super Bowl is to football, what the World Series is to baseball and what the Indianapolis 500 is to automobile racing.

DETROIT---The Detroit River will once again be the site for the 100th running of the oldest motorsports still in competition-the 2009 Detroit Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA Gold Cup.  An American Boat Racing Association (ABRA) fleet of 11 boats are expected to be in the pits for the competition that begins with qualifying Friday, July 10 with racing on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12. In 1990, the City of Detroit became the permanent home of the Gold Cup race.


Dave Villwock and the Elam Plus team made themselves the favorite for the Gold Cup by virtue of last Sunday’s Madison (Ind.)Regatta victory.  Villwock was the fastest qualifier and won all three elimination heats plus the championship final on the Ohio River course.  It was Villwock’s  57th career win in 113 total  races. 

In Madison, the ABRA fleet used the new starting rules for the first time allowing teams to select lanes on the basis of qualifying times and points for elimination heats. Of course, Villwock liked the new rules.

“I thought the starts were great and the racing was exciting,” said Villwock.  “Even though everyone thinks the fastest boat will always win, we were top qualifier by only ½ mph and the other boat (the Oh Boy! Oberto driven by Steve David) had its problems.” David and the Oberto team, the defending national high point champion, qualified at 154.551 mph while Villwock had a 155.004 qualifying speed. (For further information on the new starting procedure go to: )

UPDATE ON JEAN THEORET, MISS BELLO’S PIZZA:  Jean Theoret (Maple Grove, Que.), driver of the U-37 Miss Bello’s Pizza, had a blow over accident during Saturday’s elimination heat 1B.  Theoret was taken to King’s Daughters’ Hospital in Madison then transported to the University of Louisville Hospital for further evaluation.

On Monday (July 6), Theoret was placed in a private room.  Theoret is alert and improving rapidly. He is still extremely tired from the medication given to him over the weekend. The doctors are still evaluating and checking on any possible infection that could set in from the ingestion of the Ohio River water.

As for the boat, crew chief Scott Rainey is in Madison fixing the damage suffered in the crash.  The boat will be in Detroit for the Gold Cup though the driver situation is still unclear.

GOLD CUP INFORMATION: In an effort to make the event more fan friendly and easier to attend, Friday’s unlimited hydroplane testing will go from 1 pm to 3 pm with qualifying from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.

“We are hoping to get more people down to the riverfront,” said Mark Weber, Executive Director of the APBA Chrysler Jeep Superstores Gold Cup. “The new ABRA testing and qualifying will allow fans to know exactly when the unlimited hydroplanes will be running and with our offshore boats and other support events there will be a lot of action to watch all day.”

For more information on tickets and the schedule of events call 586.774.0980 or go to for all updated information.

SECOND TIME A CHARM: This will be the second attempt at racing the 100th running of the Gold Cup.  Extremely heavy winds cancelled the Sunday program. 

Oh Boy! Oberto’s Steve David said last year:  These are the worst conditions I have seen in 20 years on the Detroit River. The wind is coming right up the river and when you have a four-foot wave, you have to realize you have an eight-foot hole and that is dangerous."


Both set of elimination heats were run on Saturday but the conditions Sunday were extreme.  Elimination heat 3-A did get underway on Sunday but the U-7 craft driven Mike Allen (New Orleans, La.) blew over on the front straightaway early in the day. There was no more racing after the accident.


OLDEST MOTORPSORTS TROPHY OF THEM ALL: The Gold Cup is the oldest active motorsport’s trophy in the world. The APBA Gold Cup is to power boat racing what the Super Bowl is to football, what the World Series is to baseball and what the Indianapolis 500 is to automobile racing.  Officially known as the "American Power Boat Association Challenge Cup," it is the ultimate prize in the sport of boat racing. The very first Gold Cup race took place in June 1904 on the Hudson River in New York. The winning boat, the STANDARD, owned and driven by Carl Riotte, averaged just over 23 miles per hour.


Results of the Indiana Governor’s Cup (Sunday, July 5)
Place    Boat                                 Driver  (Hometown)                                             
Final Heat Avg.
1st     U-16 Miss Elam Plus     Dave Villwock (Auburn, Wash.)                       
2nd    U-7 Graham Trucking    Jay Michael Kelly (Payallup, Wash.)             
3rd     U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto    Steve David (Lighthouse Point, Fla.)              
4th     U-5    Jeff Bernard (Kent, Wash.)                           
5th     U-100 Shoreline Propellers Greg Hopp (Snohomish, Wash.)           
6th     U-3 Miss Chrysler Jeep    Jimmy King (Wales, Mich.)                            DNF

Expected Fleet for Detroit Chrysler Jeep Superstores APBA  Gold Cup


No.      Boat Name                 Driver (Hometown)               Owner (Hometown)


U-1      Oh Boy! Oberto           Steve David (Lighthouse Pt. Fla.)        City of Madison, Ind.                                        U-3      Miss Chrysler Jeep      Jimmy King  (Detroit, Mich.)    Ed Cooper, Jr (Evansville, Ind.)                         U-5      Jeff Bernard (Kent, Wash)        Ted Porter (Decatur, Ind.)                               U- 7     Graham Trucking          J.Michael Kelly (Seattle, Wash.) Ted Porter (Decatur, Ind.)                            U-16   Ellstrom Elam Plus            Dave Villwock (Seattle, Wash)   Ellstrom Family (Seattle, Wash.)            


U-17    actiVwater          Kip Brown (Preston, Wash.)                Our Gang Racing, LLC                                      U-22     ServPro                         Mike Webster                                Steve and Sue Webster (Reading, Pa.)               

U-25    Superior Racing          Dr.
Ken Muscatel (Seattle, Wash.)     Dr. Ken Muscatel                                      U-37    Bello’s Pizza           Driver to be determined       Billy and Jane Schumacher  (Seattle, Wash.)           U-48    Miss Albert lee  David Williams (Seattle, Wash.)    Greg and Brian O’Farrell (Maple Valley, Wash.) U-100 Leeland Unlimited       Greg Hopp (Snohmoish, Wash.)          Fred Leland (Kirkland, Wash.)


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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.



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