Miss Home Street, Photo by Sherwin Eng/H1 Unlimited

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Norris Comer Nautical News Power Boating

World’s Fastest Boats Turn up the Heat at Seafair

Seattle’s Seafair is one of the area’s summer mainstay water-based events, and what is now known as the HomeStreet Bank Cup H1 Unlimited hydroplane race has a long local history as part of the fun. The Seafair race on August 4 served as both an homage to the sport’s heritage in the Pacific Northwest and spectacle of extreme speed. This year a dash of podium penalty drama was also part of the mix.

Far more than a simple exhibition race, the HomeStreet Bank Cup at Seafair is an official part of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series, the main competition series for the sport that features the world’s fastest boats. In addition to the HomeStreet Bank Cup at Seafair, the 2019 series consists of four other events: Guntersville Lake Hydrofest in Alabama, Madison Regatta in Wisconsin, HAPO Columbia Cup (also in Washington), and Bayfair in San Diego. Seafair was the fourth race of the year, with Bayfair held on September 13 to 15.

Why are two of the five series races in Washington? According to H1 Unlimited, most of the teams are located right here in the state. The H1 Unlimited headquarters is located in Kent, Washington, and several legends, including Seattle-born Chip Hanauer, have their roots here. Hanauer won the APBA Gold Cup a record 11 times and rode the iconic Miss Budweiser into the ‘90s. He is still the youngest inductee to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Hyrdo Heroes, Photo by: Chris Denslow/H1 Unlimited

top of page: Miss HomeStreet Bank in a duel with CARSTAR powered by KISW Miss Rock. (Photo: Sherwin Eng/H1 Unlimited); Below: U-6 Miss HomeStreet Bank leads at Seafair. Althought first across the finish line, a time penalty cost the boat first place (photo: Chris Denslow/H1 Unlimited).

The race this year featured much of the same high-speed thrills as previous years, with some theatrics at the podium. The driver to cross the finish line, Jimmy Shane of U-6 Miss HomeStreet Bank, lost his first spot after referees reviewed the tapes after the race. The actual winner turned out to be J. Michael Kelly of U-12 Graham Trucking presents Beacon Plumbing.

Kelly, who originally had a time penalty for going under 80 miles per hour during the pre-race milling period, had his penalty reversed. Shane on the other hand was slapped with a one-minute penalty for going under 80 miles per hour twice. One minute may not sound like a lot, but in this sport, that one minute brought Shane down from first to fifth. Interestingly, this is the third year in a row that the Seafair race has been decided by penalty.

Below are the final results from the 2019 HomeStreet Bank Cup from Seafair. We are as confident as possible that no more penalties are incoming:

  1. U-12 Graham Trucking presents Beacon Plumbing
  2. U-1 Delta/RealTrac
  3. U-11 J&D’s presented by Reliable Diamond Tools
  4. U-1918 Oberto Super Salami
  5. U-6 Miss HomeStreet Bank
  6. U-98 Graham Trucking American Dream
  7. U-99.9 CARSTAR powered by KISW Miss Rock
Norris Comer

Written by

Norris Comer is the managing editor of Northwest Yachting. He was raised in Portland, Oregon and got his BS in Marine Science at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL where he lived aboard a 1973 Catalina 27 before moving to Washington. He has worked as a commercial fisherman, wandered aimlessly around the world, studied oil spills, and was a contestant on the Norwegian reality TV show, Alt for Norge. He loves living in a state where he can explore the ocean and mountains in the same day.

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