Day of thunder in Port Angeles allows hydroplanes to reign

PORT ANGELES — Greg Hopp is back.

Near silence on Saturday turned to a joyous roar on Sunday as the hydroplane races got in a full day of activity on Port Angeles Harbor, where Hopp’s racing team has dominated in five of the past six years.

There were only two races Saturday because of strong winds and choppy water at the sixth annual Strait Thunder presented by Victoria Express.

“The ground swells were just awful,” John Lynch, spokesman for Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association (ULHRA), said.

“It wasn’t raceable; very dangerous.”

But it was near a perfect day Sunday with the sun peaking through clouds and almost no wind.

Hopp reclaimed the Unlimited Light national championship for the fifth time in six years while last year’s surprise winner, Kayleigh Perkins, finished second in the final race and for the season.

In other divisions, 28-year-old Dustin Echols of Woodinville won the first-ever Thunderboat national championship, while Bud McKay of Belfair won his third consecutive 8-Cylinder Lighter than Lights national title and Brian Perkins of Seattle took the 4-Cylinder Lighter than Lights national crown.

However, in 4-Cylinder Lighter than Lights, Dave Solway of Port Angeles won his first-ever ULHRA race by claiming the Strait Thunder title in his division.

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