Seafair Hydro champ Kip Brown: ‘Racing went reasonably well’

August 4, 2009

By Christopher Huber

As many hydroplane races are, Seafair was an up-and-down weekend, in terms of racing success, said local hydroplane driver Kip Brown.But, considering his boat, the U-17 USNW Express, came out of the long weekend of hard racing on Lake Washington without any technical failures or mechanical problems, “racing went reasonably well,” he said.

Brown and the Our Gang Racing team, based out of Preston, finished fifth in the Chevrolet Cup final race with 127 points and an average speed of 127.29 miles per hour.

Dave Villwock, driver of the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus, won the cup.

Brown, who took fourth in the 2008 event, earned the final qualifying position Aug. 2 after placing third in Heats 1A and 3A, and fourth (due to a driving penalty) in Heat 2B.

“I got the far outside lane,” Brown said. “It’s a tough position to be in to expect a good finish. We did as well as could’ve in that lane.”

Brown ran a race-qualifying speed of 148.514 miles per hour at Seafair, according to the American Boat Racing Association.

Despite damaging the propeller at the Tri-Cities the week before, Brown said, he raced well against leading driver Steve David (U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto) and was thus coming into the Chevrolet Cup on a high note.

“I was really starting to feel the boat and to drive more aggressively,” Brown said. “We wanted to have very solid, good showing and I feel like, on the whole, our team really did do that.”

The boat ran 100 percent as expected throughout the entire Seafair weekend, a testament to his crew, he said.

Brown said he would have liked to finish better than middle-of-the-pack, but the team is satisfied as it gears up for the ABRA World Championship in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 12-14.

“We definitely gave the fans what they were looking for. There were no heats that were parades. As a hydro fan, I enjoyed the heats that I wasn’t in. I gotta think the people that were even casual fans enjoyed the show this year,” he said. “Overall, myself and the rest of the team are pleased with the performance.”

Brown is also preparing to possibly race the U-17 USNW Express in Evansville, Ind., Aug. 28-30, he said.

In the Unlimited Lights Graham Cup, King & Bunny’s-Pogacha of Issaquah made the finals, but did not finish. The UL-8 boat, driven by Kelly Stocklin, took second in Heat 2B and third in Heat 1B. On the Web

See video of the U-17 USNW Express hydroplane in action at

Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment on this story at

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