SEATTLE — Steve David used the same move and it resulted in another Albert Lee Cup at Seafair win on Lake Washington.
While the rest of the unlimited hydroplanes were queueing up around the south turn, jockeying for inside position, David simply piloted the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto around the gaggle of boats and into the advantageous inside lane.
“As soon as I came around, I thought as long as I don’t mess this up, it’s ours,” David said.
David claimed the inside lane, and with it the shortest route around the Ted Jones Race course, and won his third straight race at Seafair.
Boats can’t pass the buoy on the south turn until there’s one minute before the start of the race or they are penalized a lap. Boats often slow up, trying to establish position in the inside lanes.
“You have to wait to see if all the big guys are going to make a commitment and be up there really early,” David said. “Once they make the commitment, they can’t unmake it.”
If a driver times it correctly, a boat passes the buoy at full speed. A driver with a lead of five boat lengths can cut inside and prime position.
David said he mostly practices this maneuver in his trailer, using charts. He doesn’t want the other drivers to see him doing it in the testing sessions.
“I think I was the first one across (the starting line),” said Jimmy Shane, who was second in the U-5 Graham Trucking, “but that inside lane is so hard to beat.”
David used the same move to win at Seafair last year. He used the move last week in Tri-Cities, but was a little early and the lap penalty kept him from winning.
David’s fourth Seafair win in the past six years also vaulted him past Dave Villwock in the U-1 Spirit of Qatar in the national high points standings. David, who won two heats and the final, has 5,817 points. Villwock has 5,620.
David joins Villwock and Bill Muncey as three-peat Seafair winners.
It was plain on the docks after the race that Villwock wasn’t happy with the performance of the boat.
“I felt like we were getting power at times,” Villwock said.
Villwock is the career leader in Seafair wins with 10, but he hasn’t won here since 2009.
Villwock took third as J. Michael Kelly in the U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing was assessed a lap penalty.
Shane is making a name for himself in his first full season on the H1 Unlimited circuit. He won last week in Tri-Cities and won two heats Sunday. He’s third in the driver standings.
“I think we came out here to show these guys we can run with them,” Shane said.