Sunday, December 25, 2011


It's Christmas Day. We have has a great day at our house. The girls woke up to proof of Santa's existence, followed by some coffee and a great breakfast. Then, hot buttered rum and some wine. 1:00 came around and we all sat down to watch the race at Doha. I know, we did not make the final, and we watched Scott Liddycoat take the victory in the But you know what? Our U-17 was FAST, and we beat some really fast guys all weekend long. I am so proud of our team, and proud of the positive exposure we have brought to our sponsors this year. I wish I could go back and have a slightly different mindset going into the last two heats. I had kind of an "all or nothing" attitude, and that was not the right way to race. That being said, I can't say enough about our top-notch crew, led in Doha by Dave Bell, our crew chief. They gave me a winning boat, and I can't wait to pilot her next year. I know for a FACT that we raised eyebrows all over the sport in 2011, and we will start 2012 with a new confidence. I am so looking forward to seeing the old 17 again. The same certainly can't be said for our competitors. Happy New Year!

Kip Brown

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It's Thanksgiving Day, and I have not posted since after Seafair. Just when you think life will slow down a little, the hammer drops. Oh well. We are back from Doha, and a 22 hour plane ride gives you plenty of time to reflect.

Chip Hanauer always talks about how boat racing is full of the highest highs, and the lowest lows. Well, that pretty much sums up Doha. We qualified in the middle of the pack because we ran early in the day, when the water was rough. The other teams went back out to bump their times while the Red Dot guys were busy fixing a problem with the cockpit (namely, it would not open after a run.) So, while Doha Bay looked like a mill pond, we watched Hysol dry. That's OK, we knew what we had, and we showed it during the first heat. We drew lane one and drove away from the field, posting the fastest laps and fastest heat of the first day. Unfortunately, the turbine banged and complained during the second heat, and the bottom escape hatch blew in later in the heat, followed by the lid sticking shut again. Heat two was a bummer. We worked late fixing stuff, and Troy got the engine fixed in time for Saturday.

Heat 3 was a fast one, with Steve David outside of us. The U-17 was ROLLING, and the Oberto could not drive around us. I know that opened several eyes in the pits, and I was feeling bulletproof when Mona handed me the second heat victory trophy of the weekend. That feeling was short lived, however, as following the ceremony, I handed the trophy to Steve David, because I jumped the gun by 1/60 of a second (10 feet at 150 mph.) Long story short, we needed a good finish in heat four. The 88 was inside, we were in two, and the Oberto was in three. It was a fast start and we were three wide going into to first turn. We inched out into the lead and had Oberto covered by the second lap, and had three or four boat lengths on the 88. The heat was in the bag, as far as I was concerned. A rough turn in turn two resulted in a feeling in the steering like the transom was coming apart (bad wheel shake.) I bailed out of the throttle and jumped out of the cockpit, which thankfully opened (thanks, Nate). I ran to the back of the boat, expecting carnage, and saw...NOTHING WRONG. I guess it was rudder flutter, which I have never experienced before, and certainly did not expect at a lower speed course like Doha. That was it for us- not enough points for the final.

So the season is over. We came into the season with nobody looking at us to do anything. We started off the year with five straight heat race victories, and two podiums in the first three races. Two second place finishes (at Madison and San Diego) were our best of the year, and best ever for the team. We were easily one of the fastest boats in Doha, and I know for a fact that our team earned the respect it deserves this year. Our Red Dot/ Silver Cloud team has proven to be a force to be reckoned with, and we are no longer a team that the others want to race against. Our crew is absolutely top-notch, and have worked tirelessly throughout the season in our pursuit of greatness. The support of Red Dot Corporation and Silver Cloud Inns, as well as all of our other sponsors, has allowed us to excel this season, and we could not have reached these heights without your continued support. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this great team, and feel fortunate that our "coming out" year happened to be during the inaugural Air National Guard sponsorship for the H1 series, which allowed our great sponsors to get the coverage they deserve on national television.

We have a team party coming up in a couple weeks at Silver Cloud, and I already miss our crew. I can't wait to get everyone together for one more bash to celebrate the season- The Our Gang Bang!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Monday night after Seafair. I feel better tonight than last night. I just put Katie to bed and she sang to me. Taylor and Tiff are watching a movie. We just got back from dropping off my buddy Chris Kenner at the airport, then we stopped for Mexican on the way home. Life is getting back to normal.

We qualified sixth at Seafair, which is not as fast as we have been at the other races. We had a good heat on Saturday, losing to Villwock but beating everybody else. That kind of pumped everybody, including me, back up. Man, the bottom fell out of it on Sunday, though. Cal and I lost track of J Michael and I hacked him off going into turn one. REALLY hacked him off. Probably three boat lengths at 170 mph. Lucky he did not blow over. I got a level 5 penalty, which is what you get if you pull a gun on somebody at the dock. That was a DQ for the heat, $500.00 fine, and loss of 150 points. That is a big time penalty. Then, in the third heat, I put my fire out taking off at the score up bouy and got to the start about 5 seconds late. I picked off Hopp, but could not catch anyone else. Went to the last chance heat, gave J Michael the inside (cause we are faster) and got beat. No final heat, and no Seafair glory. We got some good TV time and good sponsor coverage, which is big. The TV guys said some nice stuff about our team. Lots of my friends have sent messages about the interviews, and I thank them for the compliments.

I still wanted to crawl under a rock last night. We have been kicking butt all year, and we got our butts kicked this weekend. We fell behind in points and I had a couple REALLY bad heats. It really disappointed me and I moped around the pits a bunch. Tiff kept trying to shake me out of it, but I was just too bummed.

That is the bad part about the weekend. Here is the good part: THERE ARE MORE RACES TO COME! We kicked ass before, and we will do it again. I got complacent in my milling procedure, and became predictable. That won't happen again. I was too aggressive going into the first turn. I learned a lesson and did not injure anybody. I am so VERY proud of my team, and I can't wait to get to the shop tomorrow and get back to work on our moisture missile. Dave Bell has stepped up into the position of Crew Chief this year, and the guys and gals just want to work for him. He is tireless in his pursuit for the right combination. We have a good setup for a 2.5 mile course (as evidenced by our performace at Tri Cities) and we will come to San Diego ready to play ball. Anybody want to bet against us?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have not written for a while because I have not been at the shop in a while. I missed Detroit so I could race our 5 liter and Mack Elliot’s National Mod at Black Lake. Cal Phipps drove a great race for us at the Gold Cup, and we came out of that event with the points lead, which is a first for our team.

Usually, Black Lake is fun. That’s why I have missed the Gold Cup the last couple years. This year, it was awful. On the second heat of the day of Saturday’s racing, Ryan Butler crashed his Super Stock and was killed. Those of you who did not know Ryan were deprived. He was one of the most gifted fabricators of our time. He was soft spoken and was the consummate sportsman. He was also a talented driver, and he has been a friend for several years. My heart aches for his companion, Cara, and for his family and other friends. John O Brien, Nate, and I are attending his memorial tonight at the Hydro and Race Boat Museum, where a standing room only crowd of over 600 is expected. I have been trying to keep my brain active for the past couple weeks, as when things slow down all I can see in my mind’s eye is that horrible scene. I have lost two friends racing this year, and I am struggling mightily with that.

The APBA Summer Nationals was last weekend in Waterford, Michigan on Pontiac Lake. It was a cool even with hot weather. I think there were 16 five liters there, and Jeff and I finished third, which was OK. Wally Johston won his first ever Nationals after 32 years! Kent Henderson (Bert’s brother) won 2.5 stock and JP Squires finished second. That was cool. Everbody’s favorite driver, Cal Phipps, won the title in Grand National Hydro. There were no accidents and some great racing.

The U-17 came back from Detroit in pretty good shape. Cal punched the dock (rookie) and put a golf ball sized hole in the right sponson deck. I fixed it on Tuesday, and patched a bunch of other little spots that will be ready this weekend for paint. Our plumber, Joe Yandell, is working on some secret squirrel stuff that I could tell you about, but then I’d have to kill you. The gear box is loaded with the correct pack and installed.

Tiffany has a shopping list about a mile long for Tri Cities. We are gonna eat GOOD there. Plus, Cal is not coming, so there will be enough to go around. Nate will be back on the radio, telling me for the ten thousandth time to “look for clean water.”

I am stoked to get back in the boat. My goals leading into the season were to get some heat wins and hopefully podium at a race. DONE AND DONE at the first event. Now, after the strong showing at Detroit we are all looking for continued success next week. The confidence that our boat has given me is astounding. I am thinking about strategies that I have never allowed myself to consider before, due to the fact that our boat handling was so unpredictable. Now, we are getting into the fun part of the season, with great courses at Tri Cities and Seattle. Now we need to show that the success is not a fluke…

Kip Brown

Thursday, July 7, 2011


You know, I still have some spring in my step from Madison. We have been working on, nay, FLOGGING, this boat since its inception, and to have the kind of weekend that we just had made it worth it. I am SO proud of my guys, both the crew that came to Madison, and also the guys that did not make it. Most of them will be at Detroit to help push Cal Phipps (driving this weekend) to another great finish.

The outpouring of support for our team has been phenomenal. My Facebook has been blowing up with folks backing us. I would like to thank all of them for their kind words. Strangely, several of the people are Madison locals who are Oberto fans, but disagree with the decision made by the H1 officials. Well, here are my thoughts: There are rules in our rule book that state we should be the winner. There are rules that state that the U-1 should be the winner. There are even rules that state, arguably, that the U-96 should be the winner. The officials made a decision that the U-1 won their home town race. I support that decision. I want to win my first race on the race course. Now, if they immediately called the U-17 in first place, I would have made sure that Steve and Super Dave were OK, and then I would have jumped up and down on the cowling and had my crew up on the boat for a party. That's how I picture my first win. I will never forget when my father in law, Terry Troxell, won the Tri Cities Columbia Cup. He did donuts out in the water with his boat. When Jeff Bernard (my brother in law) won Madison, he hopped on the cowling and pointed at the heavens. I want a moment like that. I want to EARN it, not have it given to us. And I am confident it is coming. Just wait and see....

By the way, I have a crew guy from Chicago named Spider. Michael Jackson is his real name. 'Nuff said about the use of a nickname. He is a stud. He is 6 foot 4 or 5, 240 pounds, plays hockey, and can reach things on any shelf you throw at him. He used to crew with my buddy Matty Gregory on the U-10, and was a crew guy for Mike Weber on his GP back in the day. Most of you know Ginger, who is Spider's sister. When Nate won the Gold Cup with the U-10, Spider was on the crew. Spider has been working with us for the past few years and I have gotten really close to him. And I am not a big spider fan. But I AM a big Spider fan. Know what I mean? One of the coolest things about our sport is the relationships that form because of it. Well, I can truly say that Spider is one of my best friends, and if it weren't for this sled that we call a race boat, I would never have met him. Also, the experience and expertise that he brings to our team makes me feel incredibly fortunate to have him. Have a good day, Bug!

Kip Brown

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Man, you would have to bring some serious heat to wipe the smile off of my face.

Let me catch you up. The week before Madison was insane. I was thrashing to get the E-55 rebuild and at least ready for body work so my guys could finish the paint while Jeff and I were in Madison. That was all handled beautifully. Jimmy LaBrie came to my house and knocked out the lion’s share of the bodywork, then Brian Hajne and Monkey knocked out the rest over the weekend at Hajne’s. I can’t thank them enough.

The truck ran great all the way to Madison , with no drama. We flew in on a red-eye Wednesday night and rolled into the pits at about ten in the morning. We hung the fin, installed the rear wing, and got the engine bay ready for the engine, to be installed Friday AM (no crane operators on Thursday.) We went to be early on Thursday night and went to the pits at 6:30 Friday AM.

Friday morning the Red Dot guys and gals were working like a clock. The deck boys had the engine in and fired early. Tiffany had the refreshments, uh, refreshing in a big way. Ginger and O Brien handled the cockpit. Cal (Don’t Call Me Phipps) Phipps took care of the stand up comedy. He had me in stitches all weekend long. We got in for the first test session, and the boat handled great, but speed was down considerably compared to some other teams. We checked the vitals and made an adjustment, and went out for the next session. Speed was up, and the handling stayed good. Qualifying was awesome. We clicked off a 138 and change, and set the bar pretty high. Only the Oberto and Qatar boats ran faster, which we were pretty proud of. Friday night everyone was in good spirits.

Saturday morning I tested a new propeller and liked it, after some nasty fog rolled out and debris was picked up on the course. After that, Cal got in the boat and hooted and hollered into the radio (something about how he liked the boat.) We drew a pretty soft heat in the first flight, and I got a good start and was never challenged. That led to my first Unlimited heat victory, which was pretty sweet. Cal was great on the radio, and the crew all did a great job having the boat ready to rock. Saturday night we all got together at Shooters Sports Bar and had dinner. Shooters took care of us all weekend, delivering lunch to the pits every day. We had the best spread of any team. Thanks to Tiffany for arranging that!

Sunday morning it was hot. I mean hot. Not that it wasn’t hot the other days. but this was like burn your knee on the deck hot. We drew a heat with the U-100, driven by my buddy Greg Hopp. Now, Greg and I like each other, but typically when we race, one of us gets a penalty against the other. Not this time! I beat Greg to the line and drove away. The Red Dot boat was MOVING last weekend! So, three years without a heat win, and we are two-for-two at Madison!

We had another great draw for 3C, but never got a chance to run it. Another racer missed a bouy in turn 1 and looped around to pick it up, but struck a rescue boat and critically injured one of its passengers. Last reports are still critical, but stable. Two others were badly injured. The rest of the third section was cancelled, and the rest of the event was almost cancelled. The race committee decided to run a final heat with four on the front line and one trailer. The front line consisted of the U-96 Spirit of Qatar with Super Dave Villwock driving, U-1 Oh Boy Oberto with Steve David behind the wheel, the U-7 Miss Valcon with rookie Scott Liddycoat, and our U-17 Miss Red Dot. The trailer boat was Jeff Bernard in the U-5 Miss Graham Trucking, who was winning his third heat when it was stopped.

I secured lane three beside Super Dave, with Steve in lane one. Why? Because Cal, Nate, and I figured that the 1 and the 96 might take each other out. What happened? At the start of lap 4, half-way through the turn, Super Dave hooked his boat into Steve’s lane and the Oberto ran over the Spirit of Qatar. Both boats were badly damaged, and thankfully both drivers walked away. Steve has some rib damage and will not be driving this weekend in Detroit. At first, rumors were that we would be awarded the victory, but ultimately the U-1 won their hometown race. Either way, it was all gravy for us. Our team had BY FAR the best weekend of our existence, and we are totally amped for the next race. Cal will be driving while I play with the E-55 and NM-1 at Black Lake in Olympia. I have nothing but faith in him and feel that we are one of the favorites going into the weekend. I absolutely cannot WAIT to get back in the boat at Tri Cities and go rip around the big course there.

Huge thanks go to Kelly Stocklin from Sammamish, WA. Kelly worked some magic on our skid fin and I feel that it made a huge difference in the way our boat handles, and I credit those changes for a lot of the success we had over the weekend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Crazy times are upon us. Everybody is scrambling to get ready for Madison. General maintenance is happening at the U-17 shop, along with truck organization. Also, we have been stockpiling spares in preparation for any mishaps. You know what they say: You only need it if you don’t have it. We have a spare skid fin, front canard, rear wing and horizontals, and cowling. This weekend, we are finishing a spare rudder. I don’t know if we are ready for everything, but we are in a lot better shape than previous years!

The boat paint is finished and buffed, and looks great. The new trailer turned out fantastic, and has lots of storage that our old light weight trailer did not have. In fact, we have a drawer for the skid fin, which will help cut down time at setup and tear down. Also, we have shafting and tool storage inside the trailer which will also save time and effort.

The E-55 five liter repair has consumed my last week. The deck piece is rebuilt, and all but one sponson parts are ready to glue in. In fact, last night I glued in the missing piece of running surface. If I am home early enough tonight, I will glue in the non- trip and prep the last side piece. Our paint and body guy, Monkey, is ready to rock and I am afraid he may start slinging poo at me (monkeys do that.)

Finally, my brother in law, Jeff Bernard, had a nasty crash in 2.5 stock at last weekend’s race in Chamberlain, South Dakota. His S-1 National Champion ride Liquid Lizard was destroyed, and Dutch Squires’ Mega Bucks was also badly damaged. Thankfully, both drivers are OK, though Jeffy is awfully sore. He should be fine by Madison!

Kip Brown

Friday, June 17, 2011


I spent the first part of last night wet sanding primer on the right sponson and deck, getting it ready for world famous 1 liter pilot, Jimmy LaBrie, to paint today. The second project was helping John O’Brien install a new polycarbonate fence on the right sponson. Then, the canard came back off and Jimmy and I serviced the bearings. We found the left side bearings were not happy (Doha got to them) and will replace them this weekend. I used some special Lucas Racing Lube that is sure to add 12 mph to our laps (shhhhhh.) Steve worked on trailer batteries. Dick made a travel jig for the rear wings and spare canard. Nate was working on the skid fin on a surface table, and running Kelly Stocklin out of the shop and back to Beaver Lake. Dave and Kurt were working on the #3 engine motor mounts. Joe holed up in the machine shop, blueprinting a gear box dry sump pump. The truck was out getting service, and should be back today.  

Tiffany (my lovely bride) is making arrangements for the team’s flights for San Diego already. Now THAT is being ahead of the game. That makes me think of how lucky I am, and how lucky so many of the racers are, for the support that we receive from our families. Boat racing is an incredible sport, but it requires an unbelievable amount of time and effort, especially at the upper levels. There are two ways to go about it: Be a bachelor and live at the shop, or have an understanding family who supports your passion. I have done both, and I have also seen relationships strained or ruined because of the commitment required to succeed in racing. I am so fortunate to have Tiffany, and we are raising our daughters Taylor (5) and Katie(2) at the races, just like both of us were raised. Hopefully, one of the girls will marry Jon and Joanne Zimmerman’s son Jack, and they will raise their kids at the races, too. Plus, then Jon will lay off of me in the five liter (probably not!)

There will be more details and organization being handled this weekend, while we prepare to head to Madison. The truck is scheduled to leave a week from Monday. I heard today that there may be a surprise team there??? Talk to you next week!

Kip Brown

Thursday, June 16, 2011


It was nice to not be in “thrash mode” on Tuesday night. After the big push for Sammamish, and a successful outing at Tastin’ and Racin’, we are working on smaller details, getting ready for Madison.

There were a few scuffs and pin holes on the right sponson that we weren’t crazy about, so I filled those with glazing putty and prepped them for paint. Also, there was a gouge near a deck hatch that needed to be fixed and painted, which is done. The right sponson runner had an old repair that was not looking great. I ground that out and repaired with Hysol.

Katie Forsell came to the shop to help out and learn how much fun an Unlimited crew night can be. She is fresh off of the Hydroplane Driver’s School at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum (instructed by Chip Hanauer, David Williams, and some guy named Kip) and her debut in 1 Liter at Tastin’ and Racin’. She helped Jim with inventory and organization in the truck, and then helped me build a shoulder rest in the cockpit. You may be shocked because of how thin I appear to be, but while driving I turn into a Hulk and need padding to keep my massive body from damaging the capsule. It’s my gift and my curse…

Tonight it will be more of the same. Organization, cleaning, and general readiness is the name of the game. I feel like we are ahead of schedule, which is a lot more than I can say for certain other teams (are the decks on yet?)

Speaking of decks, I cut the right deck off of the E-55 Miss Peters and May last night to begin the repairs caused by the unforgiving Lake Sammamish last weekend. Go to my facebook page to see the photo, and I will post more as it comes apart, and starts to take shape again!

Kip Brown

Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, quite a weekend for the U-17 and E-55 teams. The Miss Red Dot was in the pits nice and early on Friday at Tastin’ and Racin’ and our crew got everything ready to rock, and even left at a reasonable hour. Gremlins struck on Saturday morning when we trailer fired and an oil filter seal failed. Our guys scrambled and got the engine out, repaired the filter, and reinstalled. We fired again and found a fuel leak that could only be repaired at the shop. Again, the engine came out and a spare was installed. We ran well during the first exhibition, with no mechanical or handling problems. I was very happy with the boat ride and the cockpit changes.

Nate drove the boat in the afternoon and it looked great! He buzzed the point, then buzzed the spectator boats, then buzzed the houses in turn two, well, you get the idea… Leave it to Nate to create excitement. He was happy with the boat ride, also.

Saturday afternoon Troy Holmberg got back with the new engine, freshly repaired, and the team reinstalled it for my runs on Sunday. Sunday, we worked on gathering data for the new engine. We practiced going slow and accelerating from 45 MPH, about the speed that we expect when fighting for lanes. We were all very happy with the performance of the new engine, and our gear ratio package should prove to be a good race package for Madison. In fact, it may be a bit too aggressive for qualifying, but we will see!

The E-55, Miss Peters and May, was victorious for the weekend, but certainly not without a ton of effort. We won the first heat on Saturday, but lost an engine while crossing the finish line. Our team quickly removed that engine and we borrowed a spare from Justin Weymouth, a team member of the U-17, and a former National Champion in 5 liter. With Justin’s engine installed, we won the final Saturday afternoon. As soon as we were back on the trailer, we removed Justin’s engine and installed out backup engine, which had been retrieved from my house by a crew member. We left the pits at about 10:00 PM, under a blanket of darkness.

We looked forward to an easier day on Sunday, but it was not to be! After a rough first turn on Sunday’s first heat, the left sponson of our boat was badly damaged. Even full of water, we finished second to Jon Zimmerman. I figured we were done for the day, but my guys had a different idea! They quickly cut out the damaged pieces and I started mixing epoxy. Nate joined the fray and led the repair crew. We cut up a prop box and a pallet for some wood, and used a spare deck hatch from the Unlimited for aluminum. 32 ounces of System Three Resin and a roll of Gorilla Tape later, the Miss Peters and May was water-tight again. We ran another second in Sunday’s final, and finished first overall for the weekend, beating three other Unlimited drivers in the process.

I can’t sing enough praise for both of my crews! The U-17 crew has a few new guys, but they worked together like clockwork all weekend long. We also had Jerod Marin on tarp duty all weekend, keeping the sand swept off. He may have had the toughest job, and worked like crazy. Justin had a little health problem and went to the hospital on Saturday, but I am happy to report that he went home the same day and feels really well after some rest on Sunday. My guys on the E-55 and S-12 teams were the heroes of the weekend, literally cramming a season’s worth of repairs in two days. Even with all the problems and drama, we never missed a heat with either boat. Thank you all so much!

Now, it is time to check the data from the weekend and for a game plan for Madison. More to come…

Kip Brown

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Last night was a late one. A few of us got out of there around midnight. The boat is on the trailer. The canard is on and operational. The bull noses are on. Seat belts are adjusted. The trailer is fricking TALL. We need to come up with something in a hurry for steps. Either that, or a trampoline, which I think would be cool. I am not going to the shop tonight, though most of the guys are, and hopefully we will have an engine installed and ready to trailer fire this evening. The best thing is, we will be ready to rock this weekend at Tastin' and Racin'!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Well, we did not get the boat on the trailer last night, but we figured it was easier to work on it while it was on the floor. The trailer is ready and it looks AWESOME with the new wheels on it and new diamond plate. It really came together well.
John Spears from Auburn Way Autobody came back with the new bullnoses painted and the new rear wing painted. They look sweet. We will install the noses tonight once the boat is on the trailer. We will also probably test fit the wing.
I spent over 4 hours fitting the new head rest last night, but it came out nice. If it keeps me from crawling up the side of the cockpit during turns, it will all be worth it. The seat belts are also installed.
We are down to the finishing touches for the next couple days, which is good, cause this kid needs a little sleep. Maybe I can nap in the cockpit on Saturday. A belly full of Tastin’ and Racin’ Chinese food and a warm dry cockpit would put anyone to sleep!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


More positive action last night at the shop. When I got there after work, several guys were at it, knocking stuff out. The trailer bunks are carpeted and installed. The new tires and wheels are here today and will be installed. We are putting the boat on the trailer tonight. Last night, I got our spare rear wing ready for touch up paint. I attacked a “little bondo crack” on the leading edge of the front wing that became a bigger project (shocker…) I ended up digging out a fracture and filling with about 75 grams of Hysol. I will body work and paint it tonight. I got the cockpit all cleaned out and ready to go. I went to install the belts and realized that our sub belt has been MIA since after San Diego. One call to Al Lapointe at SRP, and that problem is solved. Joe is picking up the new belt today.

Speaking of Joe, he spent a better part of the evening building a fuel transfer pump monitor. After careful consideration, we collectively decided that a Honey Bear would be the proper reservoir. Thus, Joe has a new nickname. “Honey Bear” has a better ring to it than Joe, anyway.

My new Kirkey head rest came Fed Ex today. One of tonight’s projects will be mocking it up to see if it will work in the cockpit. I hope it will, ‘cause the part is really cool.

The engine dudes will be rocking tonight. They have two more engines to test fit. Then our new engine, fresh off of a successful dyno run, will be installed to be run this weekend at Tastin’ and Racin’.

On a side note, the five liter that Jeff Bernard and I run, Miss Peters and May, is all ready to go for this weekend. Our Block Head Machine power plant is fresh, and a little steering problem was fixed this week. I installed a new starter on Sunday, and Jeff is going to test fire tonight. We are expecting good things this weekend in a tough five liter class!


Saturday, June 4, 2011


Great day today at the shop. The team was in full force, and we busted out a ton of work. Nate and Dave got the trailer bunks ready, and Mary OBrien is coming out tomorrow to upholster. Dick continued his awesome metal work on the trailer. That guy is a sweet fabricator. Jim and Rick removed a bench from the hauler to make room for our third engine, which will go on the road with us this year. That's two aluminum engines and one magnesium. Joe worked on gearbox stuff and trailer hydraulics. Justin installed hinges on trailer storage doors, then hung the doors. Kurt installed the rear uprights. John and I installed the skid fin bracket. I installed the steering pulleys, cables, and steering shaft. Then I installed the wing pedals and cables. John and I installed the radio harness and tested all the radios- loud and clear. John Spears from Auburn Way Auto Body stopped by and picked up the new rear wing and right bullnose, which I finished body work on last night. He will paint them and bring them back for installation on Tuesday. My wife Tiffany stopped by in the afternoon to firm up travel plans (she is taking care of team travel arrangements) and brought our two girls with her. I got to show them off and Taylor (5 year old) played in the cockpit, as usual. I need to get the five liter ready for next weekend, so I am staying home tomorrow, but I will be at the shop Monday through Thursday to finish up.


Friday, June 3, 2011


We are in a thrash to get ready for Tastin’ and Racin’ in Issaquah, WA next weekend. We had a good turnout of crew last night, and we got a lot done. John O Brien, Steve, and I got the skid fin rod brackets installed with Hysol. Kurt worked on shim packs for installing the engine in the boat. Dick and Rich worked on modifying our freshly painted trailer (paint by John Spears from Auburn Way Autobody). Joe worked on gearbox and trailer hydraulics. Nate built trailer bunks. Oh yeah- we are one week away from testing and we don’t have bunks on the trailer. Oh well. A ton of work is going to happen between now and Thursday night, but we will be ready.

Tonight, we will have the foam and carpet for the bunks. I will finish sanding the new rear wing and right bull nose so they can be painted in the morning. This needs to happen quickly so I can scurry home to hang out with the kids before their bed time.

Saturday morning, we will Hysol on the main skid fin bracket, which will certainly cause three hernias among four guys (that chunk of metal is HEAVY.) Caution will be taken to ensure that the bracket is on as straight as possible, so minimal skid fin adjustment will be needed. I will install the steering cable, wing pedals and cables, and throttle and cables. More work will continue on the trailer, and hopefully be the end of the day it will be ready to accept the boat.

I’ll try to keep you up to date over the weekend, especially if something exciting happens. You never know what to expect at the U-17 shop…

Welcome to Today at the shop...

This is a new feature from Our Gang Racing's U-17 Miss RedDot Unlimited Hydroplane. Driver Kip Brown will supply updates periodically on what's happening in the shop. Stay tuned...