Two high points champions. One champion happy; the other - not so much.
Joe Perkins wanted to go out and keep on racing after he locked up the 4-Cylinder Lighter-Than-LIGHTS high points title Oct. 4 winning the first heat. But team manager Brian Perkins saw enough of the rough water conditions on Saturday to beach the "Perkins Glass" hydroplane for the remainder of the weekend.
"Brian didn't want to risk the boat or the engine," Joe Perkins said about his cousin. "I can understand it. But as a racer, I really wanted to go out on the water."
So did Belfair's Bud McKay.
Both Perkins and McKay just had to finish one heat each to lock up the high points titles in their classes. Then it didn't matter what the other teams did.
While the "Perkins Glass" boat ran a flawless heat, McKay couldn't finish one heat.
"Three times on the water and three times I was towed in," said McKay, the owner/driver of the GEICO of Lakewood Presents West Sound Electric.
"I knew the last time wasn't good."
The team's brand new engine exploded going into the last turn of the second heat. But because of weather problems, the race was shortened to three heats and eliminated any teams from catching Perkins or McKay in their quest for the high points titles.
This is Perkins' first high points title - he shared the seat with Bianca Bononcini. For McKay, this is his third consecutive 8-Cylinder LTL title.
"This was such an exciting season for me," Perkins said in his rookie season. "The plan this year was just to see if I can go out there and race. We didn't do too bad. I got a lot of support from the family."
Perkins started to share the ride with Bononcini in Montana. The other "Perkins Glass" boat Bononcini drove was damaged and was set aside for the year.
For McKay, this year has been his most challenging. Two flips and three spinouts have taken a toll on the hull this season.
"I owe the title this year to my sponsors who allowed me to make every race," McKay said. "I also owe it to all of the people who helped me this season. And last but not least to the inventor of duct tape - I think that's all we had holding the boat together toward the end of the season."
Both Perkins and McKay see both classes growing next year, and both are excited about the future of the LTL series.
"They're talking about a five- or six-boat increase the LTL series next year - true 'Y' boats (1-litre modified) where we can have our own class. More competition is always more fun and more exciting. Our plan is to start working on the boat in the next couple of weeks and get ready for next season. I'm hoping that we make the entire series. It's going to be so much fun next year."
With the new agreement between the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association and the American Power Boat Association, more boats are expected to compete in the LTL series as those drivers could earn both ULHRA and APBA points under the "Special Events" sanction for the races.
"The numbers to field a strong class of 8-cylinders are there," McKay said. "There are a lot of banged up boats that are already being worked on for next season. I can see 10 hulls, even more, showing up for each of the LTL races next year. Who knows what we'll get when we run in South Dakota with some of the east coast boats joining us, too.
"But one thing I do know, count us as one of the banged up boats that will be ready to go racing in 2009."
|8 Cylinders Points|
|1. Bud McKay, GEICO of Lakewood Presents West Sound Electric - 3,750 2. Kevin Eacret, Baker Equipment - 3,100 3. Shane Pratt, Victoria Express Presents Roadrunner 76 & Gordy's Pizza and Pasta - 1,425 4. Steve Clark, Power Punch Performance Lubricants/Thunderstuck - 1,325 5. Mike Schroder, Manzanita Berry's Farm Presents Tight Spot - 1,100 6. Greg Sheard, Nasty Ol' Heffer - 0 7. Craig Bonner/Mark Evans, StraitThunder.com - 0|
|1. Joe Perkins/Bianca Bononcini, Perkins Glass - 4,000 2. Austin Eacret, The Trainer - 2,277 3. Kevin Eacret, Miss Boat Electric - 1,475 4. Jesse Robertson, Meyers' Auto Tech Inc. - 994 5. Dave Soloway, My Joy - 600 5. Leslie Warren, Team Toothpick - 600 7. Bianca Bononcini, Perkins Glass (Y-82) - 563 8. Joe Gutierrez, Cojote - 525|