Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Detroit Gold Cup date change will yield 'great show,' Jimmy Shane says

Jimmy Shane
Count the newest Gold Cup champion among those glad about the date change for the annual unlimited hydroplane race on the Detroit River.
“We’ll be back; I’m excited,” Jimmy Shane, whose U-6 Oberto won the APBA Gold Cup on Sunday, said of the move to late August 2015.
“There’s going to be some fantastic racing coming in. It’s going to be an exciting time.”
One feature of the move from the weekend following the Fourth of July holiday, race director Mark Weber said, will be the addition of Grand Prix boats to the racing program.
That’s fine with Shane, who went undefeated in qualifying, heat races and the Gold Cup final last weekend.
“Those Grand Prix boats are going to rock your world,” Shane said. “Those guys put on a great show. Crazy drivers. Crazy boats.”
“You guys are going to be really happy that they changed the date for the Gold Cup, because it’s going to be a great show next year.”
The Detroit River Regatta Association, which puts on the Gold Cup, is considering changing the event from three days to two, Weber said.
But, for the time being, the Gold Cup is scheduled for Aug. 21-23.
“We’re saying it’s three days right now, because those are our traditional dates,” Weber, a Washington Township resident, said.
The DRRA sought a date change because many fans are on vacation and out of town the first two weeks in July due to widespread automotive industry shut-downs, Weber said.
“That was a big part of the problem,” Weber said. “The holiday draws people out of town.”
June weekends were not good, Weber said, because of events like the open-wheel automobile race on Belle Isle and the annual Detroit fireworks show, the latter of which compels the City of Detroit to maximize police overtime expenses.
With July comes the city’s new fiscal year, Weber pointed out.
The weekend of Aug. 21-23 will not interfere with events like NASCAR racing at Michigan International Speedway and the Woodward Dream Cruise.
“Making a major event change is not something you take lightly at all,” Weber said. “That weighed very heavily on our decision. It’s a little scary.
“But we’ve got to embrace this thing the best way we can.”
A casualty of the change will likely be the loss of 5-liter boats racing during Gold Cup weekend, Weber said.
The 5-liters are scheduled to race in Ohio on the new Gold Cup weekend.
“It’s a business decision, nothing against them whatsoever” Weber said. “They will be fine.”
In recent years, unlimited hydroplane teams have traveled to Detroit after racing at Madison, Ind.
Unless the H1 Unlimited order of events changes, Detroit will be fourth on the 2015 schedule, following Madison, Tri-Cities (Washington state) and Seattle.
“There’s a level of concern (about travel),” Weber said. “At the end of the day, we needed to make what we feel is the best decision for this association.”
H1 Unlimited, which sanctions the Gold Cup and other unlimited hydroplane events, is “supportive” of the date change, chairman Sam Cole said.
“H1,” Cole said, “is committed to assisting the DRRA and (ensuring) the long-term viability of the Detroit event and the APBA Gold Cup race,” Cole said in a statement. “H1 leadership will work to integrate the new dates into the 2015 schedule and coordinate changes with any events which might be impacted.”
Grand Prix hydroplanes look similar to unlimiteds and use supercharged engines. The 2014 ACHA schedule includes stops at Valleyfield, Quebec, and Brockville, Ontario.
“They make gobs of noise,” Weber said.



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