PORT ANGELES — A slew of race teams were stymied by a highly technical race course and others by mechanical breakdowns in the return of sprint boat racing to Port Angeles.
Veterans and rookies alike had plenty of time off due to the pandemic and it showed somewhat at the first sprint boat race at Extreme Sports Park since September of 2019.
Area race teams had difficult days.
Port Angeles’ Wicked Racing No. 10, driven by track co-owner Dan Morrison and navigated this time around by Sara Hopf, was eliminated in the eight-cut quarterfinals after posting the second-fastest Unlimited time in qualifications.
Psycho Racing No. 151, driven by Kyle Patrick and Amanda Thompson, posted the fastest lap of the day, 43.249 in qualifying, but missed a turn in the four-cut semifinal and was eliminated.
Team Kiwi No. 35, a boat driven by New Zealand expats Chris and Katie Munro, claimed the Unlimited title with a final-round lap of 48.226. Chris Munro didn’t have to force things in the final after a mechanical failure forced a DNF by the No. 4 boat driven by Dean Lautenschlager and Jack Bringham.
In the Modified Class, the 146B driven by Port Angeles’ Nicole Brown and navigated by Tina Huff made the eight-cut quarterfinal and were on tight lines through the channel, but missed a turn for a day-ending DNF.
The fleet Fear Not No. 623 boat laid down fast times all day, including a 47.869-second lap in qualifying that beat all of the 400 boats and one Unlimited boat.
Fear Not, driven by Clint Birch and Terri Lovell, won the Modified Class with a time of 48.352, besting the Jolly Roger 146A driven by Eric Werner and navigated by Huff which posted a final lap of 49.096.
The Sequim-based Live Wire No. 2 team of driver Vaughan Trapp and navigator Matt Denson qualified for the 400 Class eight-cut but bounced into an island, sucked up some turf and clogged its pump, forcing the boat to effectively limp to the finish line.
The father/daughter duo of Darrin Swindahl and Ashley Swindahl in the Bandit Racing No. 47 boat only had about an hour to learn the race course after arriving to the facility Saturday morning, but posted the fastest 400 time in qualifying and claimed the 400 title in 48.368, besting the No. 5 Black Magic boat driven by Kelly Stevenson and Dennis Robertson in 50.771.
The crash of the day belonged to Steve Church and Lisa Bowman in the Bad Influence No. 156.
Church bounced off an island, lost his line in the channel while pinballing back and forth, banged into another island, which sent them headed backwards across a third island and into the spinout pool, where the boat was quickly submerged.
Church was able to extricate himself almost instantly, while Bowman had a tougher time getting above the water line.
Both Bowman and Church walked out for the driver introductions during a break in racing later in the day and competed in the 400 semifinals.
The sprint boats return to Extreme Sports Park on Sept. 11.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected]