St. John has become the mecca of Sprint Boat racing in recent years thanks in part to the dedication of Webb’s Slough owners Matt and Amanda Webb.
While hundreds of fans and the top racers in the sport flock to St. John every year to take part in events at Webb’s Slough, the return to the community in the form of economic impact and tourism is one of the biggest victories for the small community.
Offering a venue that is friendly to racers and fans alike, the couple has seen tremendous support over the last five years for the unique style of racing. The Webbs put much of their efforts into making their course among the top in the country, but without volunteers to guide traffic, take tickets and keep things running smoothly, their events would not be as popular, according to the organizers.
Sprint Boat racing is built around a two-person team, their boat and the ability to cut the fastest lap among competitors over a tricky shallow-water course. Built into the farmland of the Webbs’ Palouse property, the twists and turns of the course are some the most challenging in the sport.
Side-by-side racing gives way to one 1,000-horsepower boat against the clock. Safety is a priority among race organizers, with each boat featuring a roll bar over the two-person team. Driver and navigator are required to wear helmets and safety gear to compete in the race.
Action gets underway Friday evening with a technical inspection of competitor boats that takes place along the main street of St. John. For ticket and other information log on to webbsslough.com
Stateline Speedway’s youngest drivers have quietly become one of the top divisions of racing this season. The car count in the Bandolero class is up and with it the competition bar raised, with Daniel Watkins and Alex Bartlett each picking up wins after tough battles with the likes of defending champion Bailey Babin, Jess Havens and brothers Hayden and Leighland Plybon.
Bartlett swept the racing action in the division’s last event (June 6) while Watkins, who had been the championship points leader, struggled most of the day before rallying to a fifth-place finish.
The results of the night shook up the points standings, as Bartlett sits atop the ladder with Havens, Hayden Plybon, Babin and Watkins rounding out the top five.
Stateline’s Hobby Stock division has also put on exciting races. The tight racing in the 16-car field has points leader Gerald Nash and second-place Aaron Nevers in a virtual tie. Reesen Tarr is in third, a point behind Nevers.
Late Model points leader Justin Popple used a solid run to victory in the division’s June 6 race to put some distance between himself and rookie Corey McGuire, leading by 20 points as the halfway point nears.
McGuire’s freshman campaign has been impressive. A former kart racer at Sunset Speedway, the recent West Valley High School graduate had never raced on a full-size track until this year. With three top five finishes, the 17-year-old has established himself as one to watch each week.