Good as gold
July 16, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Preston team’s Kip Brown wins Super Bowl of hydroplane racing
The National Football League has the Super Bowl; Major League Baseball has the World Series; but for hydroplane racing, it’s the Gold Cup that stands as the pinnacle of the sport’s achievements.
Local team Our Gang Racing, of Preston, took home that gilded trophy, after driver Kip Brown came in first place in the Detroit American Power Boat Association’s Gold Cup July 14.
Brown, of Ravensdale, drove the 95 Spirit of Qatar, in what Our Gang Racing principal owner John O’Brien said was one of the best races he had ever seen.
“It’s got to be one of the best races in the past 10 years as far as deck-to-deck competition and the dueling,” he said. “I think they must have changed leads seven or eight times.”
After early leader Steve David received a one-lap infraction, Brown battled Jon Zimmerman for the duration of the race. It remained close through much of the competition, though at one point, Brown trailed Zimmerman by about seven boat-lengths, O’Brien said.
“You just don’t make up that much ground in these races,” he said. “Kip drove the race of his life to do this.”
It was Brown’s first career win on the Unlimited hydroplane circuit, and an unlikely one at that, he said.
“We’ve been competitive the past couple of years, but I didn’t really expect to challenge to win this weekend in Detroit,” Brown said. “If you’re going to get your first Unlimited win, to do it at the Gold Cup, it’s almost unheard of.”
What’s more surprising is that Brown is not the first one in his family to hoist the illustrious trophy. His uncle, Nate Brown, won in 2004, while his late father-in-law, Terry Troxell, won it in 2005.
“That’s what makes it even more special,” Kip Brown said. “To be included with other members of my family to win that prestigious award is just an unbelievable feeling.”
The Gold Cup is the oldest motorsport trophy in America, first handed out in 1904.
Spectators usually see Kip Brown and Our Gang Racing associated with the Miss Red Dot hydroplane, but this season, the group was offered the distinction to carry the sponsorship of the Spirit of Qatar. The honor essentially means that the boat and Our Gang Racing represents the Middle Eastern country of Qatar this season, O’Brien said.
“They could have picked 12 different boats to carry on with the sponsorship and they asked us to do it because they saw that we could do,” he said. “It’s quite an honor.”
The team has about a week off before it gets ready for the Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities at the end of July, and then Seafair immediately after that.