Lake Irvine V-Drive Regatta, June 2009
by , 10-22-2009 at 05:54 AM (8548 Views)
The Lake Irvine V-Drive Regatta has become an annual event produced by Dave Noyes who manages Lake Irvine. The lake is nestled in the hills just to the east of Orange and to the north of Irvine, California. Primarily a water storage facility for crop irrigation, it is also a popular fishing destination for Southern Californians. Dave opens the lake up for boat testing during the week and hosts events like the V-Drive Regatta a few times a year. This year the Regatta was held around on the back side of the lake in a different location from last. This was due to the large amount of water currently in storage, virtually flooding some of the area where last year’s event was staged. The event location this year was a large field and a new ramp was constructed on higher ground specifically for the regatta.
The event format is pretty much run whatcha brung, requiring pre-registration and limited to around one hundred boats. It drew a wide variety of entries ranging from vintage flatties and hydros, to day cruisers, to some of the fastest circle and drag boats out there, including Steve Westerfield’s “All Lit Up”, 2008 IHBA Champion Top Alcohol Flatbottom. This was my second year and I was only able to attend Saturday, but the regatta was a three day event, Friday though Sunday. Saturday was the day that hosted the K-Boat Challenge. Ten of the blown alcohol and gasoline powered machines would run two laps each in the morning and again in the afternoon. The laps are timed and radar speeds recorded. The win goes to the one with the fastest lap time coupled with the fastest speed. The winner got wad of cash and bragging rights as being the King of Lake Irvine, along with a nice trophy. Some of these boats actively race on the APBA circuit and others are fast river and lake runners that don’t actively race.
This K-Boat Challenge would see the first woman entry. Long time v-driver Fran Hsu brought her Biesemeyer out and ran with the big dogs. I’ve known Fran for over three decades and know she was proud to be part of this year’s Challenge. She is also in excellent company with Gordy Jennings building her engine and giving her driving tips along with several other drivers as well.
The participating boats and drivers were as follows:
Wayne Herbert in his immaculate K-50 “Ghost of Coldfire”, Dave Bryant in Scott Steele’s Biesemeyer, Jack Landers in his K-24 Kelron Spitfire, Rick King in his K-7 “Blown to the Bone”, Gordon Jennings in Tony Scarlata’s K-5 “Racin Dirty” Revenge hull, Fran Hsu in her Biesemeyer (the first woman ever in the K-Boat Challenge), Tony Scarlata in Dave Rankin and Gordon Jenning’s K-69 “Freedom Child”, Billy Berkenheger (Billy-B) in his K-11 “Krazy Kolors Express”, Ryan Heiser in his K-323 (which was Scarlata’s K-5 “Traffic Cone” at last year’s event), and last but not least, Steve Sequeira in Terry Lankford’s K-6 Biesemeyer. How’s that for the run-on sentence of the year award?
When the smoke and dust settled, Gordon Jennings (The Real K-Boat King on the Performanceboats.com forums) driving Tony Scarlata’s K-5 showed once again he is still the real K-boat king. He won the cash, the trophy, and the fastest lap time for the day at 22.6 seconds. Gordy also won the Challenge in 2008 in his own K-69 open boat, “Freedom”, and has countless wins and records from his active racing career in the 80’s and 90’s. Scarlata came in second, with fastest speed of 123 mph, and a hard charging Jack Landers landed the third spot.
The K-boat Challenge may have been the highlight but was only a small part of the event. Most the water time was dedicated to the other ninety or so v-drive owners and drivers who just showed up to display and run their boats. Two to four or so boats were allowed on the water at one time and they could run a few laps and then get off the water for the next boat to launch. They were only limited by the number of times they could rotate through the cycle. Some guys got a lot of running time in, others were mainly there for the display and camaraderie. There was no side-by-side racing allowed so the boats were limited to running laps on their own. It worked out great and everyone was there for a good time. Many of these v-drivers show up with motor home rigs and trailers and the whole family for the entire event. Other’s just come out for the day. It develops into a giant v-drive enthusiast party like no other in Southern California and one I highly recommend you attend if you’ve never been.
Pictures are presently being re-hosted and will be posted here soon (10/22/09)
I have been a boater for the better part
of 40 years and owner of Rex Marine
since 1981. In my blogs I will attempt to
tell a story of each event I cover,
from my perspective and through my
photos. I hope more people will become
involved as spectators or racers as a result
of my coverage. Enjoy