CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. – Race #3 in the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association 2008 series is four weeks away (July 12 & 13) and teams are busily preparing for the start of what has been dubbed "The Gauntlet". The Pepsi Racing Power Cup Challenge at Chamberlain-Oacoma, South Dakota kicks off 5 races in 5 weeks; the most aggressive scheduling in ULHRA history. Not only will "The Gauntlet" go a long way toward determining the Unlimited Light and Thunderboat series champions in 2008, the first three races will decide the 14 boat Unlimited Lights lineup for the Graham Trucking Cup at Seafair in Seattle, August 1st through 3rd.
The first River City Racin' event is the first major hydroplane race ever conducted in South Dakota, and the entire state has taken notice, from the Governor's office on down. Chamberlain-Oacoma are two communities that border the Missouri River where it's crossed by Interstate 90.....the main easterly route out of Seattle. It'll take race teams based in the Seattle area about 20 hours of on-road driving time to get there; roughly the same amount of time as driving from Seattle to San Diego CA.
Because of the new points program initiated by ULHRA's Board of Directors in support of ULHRA race sites in 2008, there are significant "participation points" available to teams that race ULHRA exclusively.
Because of those extra points teams that have not yet raced in 2008 can still race their way into the field of 14 at Seattle by competing well at South Dakota, followed by Polson, Montana and Tri Cities WA. With 5 consecutive races "The Gauntlet" is no sprint; it's a marathon. Taking care of racing equipment and keeping parts together will be the top priority for all of the teams and particularly those teams that would be "on the bubble" for entry into the Seattle race.
Popular Kayleigh Perkins just turned 20 years of age. She already is the first woman in major hydroplane racing with a race victory, beating fellow female racers Ashley Force, Melanie Troxel and Hilary Will (NHRA) and Danica Patrick (IRL) to the top of the podium with her victory at Silverdale WA in 2007, followed by the Team and Driver championships in 2007. Today, Ms. Perkins and the UL-72 Miss Boat Electric lead Greg & Jerry Hopp and the UL-15 Graham Trucking G.T. - Happy Go Lucky by 125 points going into South Dakota. The two teams split the first two races with Perkins winning at Phoenix in April and Hopp successfully defending his 2007 victory at Richland WA, last month. 625 points back of Perkins in third is Paul Becker and the UL-14 Miss Critical Logic which has competed in nine heats this season and finished second in each one.
A dozen or more Unlimited Lights teams are expected for the Pepsi Racing Power Cup Challenge next month in South Dakota, with a couple more teams expected to be added for the Anderson Radio Broadcasting "Radio Waves Regatta" on picturesque Flathead Lake MT at Polson, July 19 & 20. Then the Graham Trucking Thunder Cup at Tri Cities WA follows on July 25, 26 & 27 with what may well be a record turnout of Unlimited Lights teams as they all try to eke out enough points to qualify for the race in Seattle. "The Gauntlet" concludes with Silverdale Thunder at Silverdale WA, August 9th & 10th.
For more information on the ULHRA, drivers and teams go to www.ulhra.org Event information and advance tickets to the Pepsi Racing Power Cup Challenge can be found on www.rivercityracin.org
Editors: This article was released by ULHRA on can also be found on their website at www.ulhra.org