All week, the weather forecasts for Longview predicted heavy rain and wind for Saturday.
It didn’t happen.
Without the rainstorm, ERCU was able to get in its final race of the Covid-19 Pandemic shortened season – the 2020 Seafair Cup at Lake Sacajawea Park in Longview.
It was a great day of racing, camaraderie and growth of ERCU, as 22 boats were in the pits, including new racers to the club.
The first exciting and cool thing to happen was when rookie Jay Fonville – in vintage 1C, his first heat of ERCU action – piloted his 1963 Tahoe Miss to first place, from the trailer position, after penalties to the Hawaii Kai and the Hallmark Homes.
Jay eventually also won the vintage connie and moved himself into the final as the trailer.
The modern final, as it has been in each of the three points races this year, was won by David Newton, driving Harry Gatjens’ 1986 Miss Budweiser “Bubble Bud”. Second in the modern final went to another new ERCU member having a great day – David Heilbrunn, with his 2019 Miss J&D’s. In third place was Ron Daum’s 2009 Grandview on the Lake, which really only “turbinated” Nelson Holmberg, driving Jim Bakke’s 2013 Graham Trucking, who finished fourth.
The classic final was another good race. Brad Lewis took a quick lead and held it start-to-finish. In fact, the first half lap was led by three different models of the 8255 hull as Paul Dunlap with the Boat and Bill Mowatt with the Miss Houston were in the mix. It didn’t take long, though, for Newton – who won the classic connie and started the final as a trailer – to pick his way through the pack and end up in third place.
Before the classic final was over, Newton had almost caught Dunlap in the boat for second. Fourth place went to Gerry Bordon in the defending Seafair champion 1974 Miss U.S. Fifth was Mowatt with his Miss Houston.
Nelson Holmberg finished second in the classic connie with his 1987 Oh Boy! Oberto and Heilbrunn was third. Joey Caines didn’t finish the connie with his 1976 Spirit of Dayton Walther.
After Bordon’s Parco’s O-Ring Miss scratched out of the vintage connie and Holmberg’s 1975 Oh Boy! Oberto didn’t start, the connie was a two-boat affair. Despite starting as a trailer, Fonville’s Tahoe Miss was solid and steady without mistakes. Daum’s Miss U.S. I missed a couple of buoys and Tahoe came home in first, advancing to the final.
In the vintage final, there were some thrills and spills, when Lewis – while way out front at the end of lap four – blew over 360 and landed right side up. He kept going and won the race. His second straight vintage final of the shortened season. Second place went to Robbie Roberts in the 1971 Hallmark Homes, followed by Jerry Dunlap, rounding out the podium with the Hawaii Kai III. Fonville finished fourth in the final with the Tahoe Miss. Mowatt was the only boat to not finish the final, as his 1963 Miss Bardahl blew over in the backstretch.
All in all, it was a fantastic day of racing and ERCU is feeling like it’s turning the corner to get back on top. Everyone was happy the club continued to try and race responsibly during the pandemic, even though it stretched the season into mid-November.
April will be here before we know it, so the offseason will be shorter than usual. Stay tuned to ERCU’s website and social media for news that we’ll keep you informed about as the winter continues.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. We want to see all of you back at the races very soon!