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Irvine V-Drive Regatta 2008 - Part One

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by , 12-22-2008 at 04:55 AM (6632 Views)

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

Irvine V-Drive Regatta - Part One

The Lake Irvine V-Drive Regatta has become an annual event that many in the small community of v-drive boats look forward to every year. Having never been to it I decided this year is the year. Dave Noyes who manages Lake Irvine, a boater himself, has been kind enough to organize this event and open the lake up basically to anyone who owns a vdrive boat. This year the limit for boats on the water was 75. It’s a run whatcha brung deal and there were all types of flatties, a few day cruisers, and several hydros in attendance. Some race boats, some pleasure. The common denominator was everyone was having fun.

Lake Irvine is a relatively small privately owned lake just east of the City of Orange and north of Irvine up in the hills. Several decades ago it was the host to drag boat racing and was a very popular venue. I had not been there since those days so as I drove in it was kind of a déjà vu experience. Although a 3-day event, Friday through Sunday, I had to work so my regatta experience started around 8 am on Saturday. The weather was warm and the wind was calm as I arrived at the lake from my home, which is under an hour away. It was a pleasant change from my back-to-back weekend 9-hour trips to Red Bluff a couple weeks prior to the IHBA races. As I walked in I could hear a couple boats screaming down the lake, and a few more warming up in the pits. There were already quite a few people present and more lining up behind me at the gate.

As always in my online blog I will tell much of the story with my photos. An average weekend of shooting produces around 800-1000. Here are 200+ of the better ones I shot. When printed in the magazine, the blogs only include 6-12 so the printed versions are much condensed compared to online. I’ll start off with some pit shots…

This is Billy Berkenhager’s (Billy-B) immaculate K-11 machine. That is engine builder Rick King in the foreground (Blown to the Bone on the pb forums) and Billy beside the boat. The engine had just gone through a rework by Rick. It is a 475 c.i. Chevy, 11 to 1 compression, running on alcohol.

Some shots of Gordon Jennings Jr. (Gordy) tuning his K-69 Freedom prior to the K boat challenge.

Richard Van Beenan’s immaculate Bezer, Prime Time Live. The boat was sold to Tom Buckles before the event was over.

Forum Members Ben Marrone (Maximus) and Dave Sammons look like they haven’t seen each other since high school. In reality it had only been an hour or so.

I ran into Paul Miller (FC Pilot on the pb forums) out on the point. Paul shoots photography at many of the races and runs a N/A alcohol funny car as well in the 7.50 bracket. Paul’s dad (The Doctor on the pb forums) has a Schiada, and the family also owns a Hallett Flat, has a couple Beisemeyers (one in process), strictly hobby boats. Paul’s brother Buzz (Wannabe on the pb forum) also shoots photos at the races. We talked about cameras and boats for a few minutes, (Paul’s makes my camera look like a toy).

This Saturday would be host to the K-boat challenge. K-boats, for those not familiar are circle racing hulls primarily consisting of Biesemeyer origin or several derivatives built by others, commonly referred to at B-boats as general terminology. They are blown, injected, alcohol breathing monsters that are the kings of the circle boat class structure. There are some limitations on the engine displacement, size of blower and amount of overdrive, etc. They are some stout players. Most run a large bore and short stroke to accelerate off the corners quickly and down the straights. As the circle boat nomenclature would imply these boats normally race several to a heat in the normal sanctioned racing organizations on an oval course. At this v-drive regatta things would be different though as no side by side racing was allowed. The K-boat challenge would consist 8 boats running single runs on an oval course for time. Each boat would run 2 timed laps after one warm up lap, 2 times during the day. The fastest single lap from each heat for each boat would then be averaged together to determine the overall winner. A separate award would be given to the fastest lap of the day. These were cash prizes so these guys were all over it trying to get around the short tough single pin course in record time. In the end Gordy took the overall honors in his K-69 Freedom boat by fractions of a second. Gordy goes by the name of “The Real K Boat King” on the forums. He proved he still is, at least on this day. Tony Scarlata took the fastest lap honors in the K5 Traffic Cone. Tony is “Jetboatguru” on the boards. Gordy is a proven veteran K-boat champion with a history of dominating the class for many years before retiring from racing after a serious crash. Tony is one of several more recent K-boat drivers and also one of the best out there. Tony also holds the Top Alcohol Flat ET record in the IHBA. Rounding out the field of entries… Billy-B in the K-11 Krazy Kolors Express. Steve Sequeira was in attendance but had mechanical difficulties and didn’t run. Scott Steele, Phil Gould, Jack Landers, Wayne Herbert & Rick King.

Here are some of the dozens of pictures I shot of the K boat challenge…

Scott Steele in his Biesemeyer with a 390” destroked BBC

Jack Landers in his Kelron Spitfire hull

Rick King’s “Blown to the Bone” runs a .030 over 454 Chevy on gas, stock crank, and TRW pistons. Rick runs this event and a couple river vacations a year. For a gas powered K boat it gets with the program.

An unidentified red beaked spectator seemed to be enjoying the K-boats

Phil Gould in his Eliminator. Phil runs a 540 ci BBC…

Wayne Herbert’s showpiece K-50 “The Ghost of Coldfire” takes to the course. The K-50 boat is a replica of the K-50 boat that dominated K boat racing in the 70’s with Julian Pettingill at the helm. Julian and engine builder Bubby Wilton attend many of the events Wayne takes the K-50 boat to. It is an impressive piece of hardware both on the trailer and on the water.

Gordy “The Real K-Boat King” Jennings in his K-69 “Freedom”. This is the same boat that Gordy set the K-boat kilo record in many years ago. Gordy still has the magic touch taking the title on this day also.

Here are some pics from the afternoon session. The light was not as good so I won’t post as many of these.

The bird lost

Tony Scarlata in the K-5 Traffic Cone. I missed his earlier run so I’ll post a few more here. Tony took the honors of the fastest lap of the weekend in the “cone”.

Continued in part Two...

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