Roar of the hydros creates a buzz on the lake

June 14, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Beaver Lake residents could hear the pulsing vroom of the beefy hydroplane engines at Lake Sammamish from five miles away June 11 and 12. All weekend long, the racing machines skimmed along the water, wowing crowds that gathered along the shoreline.

Kip Brown, driver of the U-17 Miss Red Dot, powers down the straightaway on Lake Sammamish at more than 150 miles per hour during exhibition laps June 12 at Tastin’ n Racin’. By Christopher Huber

The 5-litre boat races created an ominous, pounding hum that reverberated up and down the lake from the waterfront at Lake Sammamish State Park. And the vintage “thunderboats” boomed a low drone as they tore through the water in a thrilling display.

Event coordinators expected better-than-normal turnout in 2011 as the sun came out and the park dried up enough to attract visitors from across the state for the 15th annual Tastin’ n Racin’ event.

“I think there’s a lot of people around who see it as a growing sport,” said Tim Cowan, of SeaTac, as he watched the superstock race through binoculars.

The main course for the weekend was served on the lake and included 1 litre, 2.5 litre, 2.5 modifieds, 5 litre, national modified, Grand Prix and vintage hydros, superstock, pro-stock and the nostalgic flat-bottom boats. But families and racing enthusiasts also experienced a smorgasbord of food and entertainment options on land.

From deep-fried candy bars to bratwurst and burgers, smoothies to waffle cones, event goers perused the plethora of vendor booths. Children dug in the sand on the beach as their parents lounged in the temporary sun. Others watched the races from the beer garden, enjoying beer on tap from Seattle and Snoqualmie. Classic rock band Chrome Molly blasted “Highway to Hell” and other AC/DC songs from the main stage.

Sammamish resident Bianca Bononcini won the 1-Litre final June 12 as the driver of the Y-6 Pile Contractors boat. The Y-8 boat, owned by the Bononcini family, took second in that race.

Tastin’ n Racin’ had something for everyone, including the youngsters in attendance. Jet ski fans enjoyed Personal Watercraft races, featuring nearly 90 racers who performed jumps and tricks, and participated in obstacle course races. On shore, car enthusiasts perused a classic car show, as well as the vintage hydro museum exhibit.

Jason Murphy, of Kenmore, got to sit in the U-17 Miss Red Dot cockpit, he said, and meet its driver, Kip Brown, an Issaquah High School alumnus. The unlimited hydroplane did laps for exhibition between races and was clocked at more than 150 miles per hour. Murphy said he liked the view from the driver’s seat.

“You can barely see out of it,” he said as he played in the sand with his cousin Drew Heiser, of Seattle.

“It’s awesome, just the atmosphere,” said Matt Murphy, who brings his family each year. “There’s a lot of stuff going on.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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