Port Angeles: Fog delayed light hydroplane races finally get under way

PORT ANGELES — The father-and-son team of Jerry and Greg Hopp of Snohomish won the national championship in Port Angeles for the second year in a row at the Strait Thunder unlimited light hydroplane races.

The Hopps won the title Saturday after winning two heats driving Miss Mike’s Hard Lemonade but still went out and won the championship race Sunday on a fog-marred day.

Only two main races were held Sunday because of a stubborn huge bank of fog that hung around the City Pier area most of the day. This is the second time that the second annual event has had to cancel some races because of fog.

But officials of the event, sponsored by Victoria Express, were determined to get in as many races as possible for the public’s benefit.

“We’re going to start the races as soon as we can see the whole course,” said John Lynch, head of public relations and the voice of Unlimited Lights, on Sunday afternoon.

“Mother nature isn’t cooperating today,” he said. “We won’t put the drivers in a dangerous situation, though. But as soon as it clears we will start racing.”

At times the fog would start to leave the course and drivers would fire up their engines and prepare the boats for races, but then the wind would blow the fog right back to make it a frustrating day for spectators, drivers and event officials.

Finally, the fog broke late in the afternoon and a couple of races were held.

There was another first in Port Angeles during the weekend as rookie driver Michael Flaherty of Auburn won his first-ever heat on Saturday. Flaherty’s main sponsor was 7 Cedars Casino for the Port Angeles race. Graham Trucking also is a major sponsor of the boat.

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