SBRA Puddingstone Circles, March 2009
by , 10-22-2009 at 04:04 AM (3212 Views)
Boat Racing returns to Puddingstone
The site: Puddingstone Lake, or more technically known as Frank G Bonelli Park, located in the heart of Southern California in a small town called San Dimas. Puddingstone had not seen circle boat racing on its waters for 17 years. That all changed on March 28th and 29th. The new SBRA (Speed Boat Racing Association), formed by Gordon Jennings, Ron Hill, Scott Schatz, and Steve Sequeria, held its inaugural race which was host to dozens of race boats and several hundred racing fans. Not bad for a first-time event. The SBRA’s mission to create a race which was affordable to racers (the goal being to just cover event costs) seemed to be a huge success. This was also an APBA sanctioned event which increased its appeal to racers from out of the area. All the popular inboard runabout and hydro classes were represented as well as Comp Jet and Cracker Boxes. Some who are familiar with the history of boat racing in Southern California will remember circle boats at Puddingstone in the 1990’s as well as IHBA drag boat events. With boat racing venues becoming scarce in recent years in Southern California, events like this one at Puddingstone and the recent NJBA drag race at Lake Elsinore are pleasant developments.
Saturday’s action began a bit late but gave me an opportunity to really browse through the pits. With the SBRA being a new organization and this race also completely new, running late was fully understandable. In the pits were some of the finest circle boat rigs in the country. All the inboard classes with the exception of Grand National had pretty full fields of boats as did Comp Jet and Crackers. I can’t begin to list them all here but some of the notables;
Marty Gavin’s immaculate “April” was in attendance from the east coast with Paul Fitzgerald at the helm. I’ve been told that this boat will run several west coast events this season. From what I’ve seen Marty and Paul’s team will be giving the recent west coast class leaders in Pro-Stock and Super-Stock some headaches to deal with on the race course.
Jeff Brochheseur’s capsuled SS-68 debuted with Tony Scarlata at the wheel. This is a change from last year’s open cockpit SS-68 and would be Tony’s first race in this boat. Scarlata had a serious accident in the open boat at Lake Ming last spring and it’s been Jeff’s and his desire to get into a capsule boat this season. Mission accomplished, the boat looked good.
Tony also would shoe the Dave Rankin owned K-69 to victory in the K-boat class. The K-69 “Freedom Child” is another capsuled entry. The K-5 “Shazam”, owned by Scarlata, would be driven this weekend by veteran Pro-Stock driver Mike Darner. This K-5 boat is the former K-51 with the capsule removed and the boat reworked into an open cockpit configuration. As the K-51 capsule boat, it was plagued with handling problems the past couple years. Those problems seem to have been solved by removing the capsule and reworking the boat a bit. This K-5 is a very fast machine. Darner was out for some seat time since his own Pro-Stock boat wasn’t put together in time for this race. Mike would also shoe the SS-126 boat in the Super-Stock class.
Dave Rankin’s championship SS/PS-80 boat would continue its winning ways taking both the Super-Stock and Pro-Stock titles. Ty Newton was in the seat and made it look easy although he was challenged by Paul Fitzgerald in the SS/PS 24 “April” boat a few times.
Mike Leach’s PS-89 boat was in attendance with Chris Kenner at the controls in what I believe is his second race weekend driving the boat following Mike’s retirement from driving. Mike won the 2008 high point championship in Pro-Stock piloting this boat. The 2009 season should be an interesting one as the PS-89 boat is very fast, as are the SS/PS 8 of Mike Darner and the SS-501 owned by Ray Pauli out of Utah as well as the above mentioned SS/PS 80 “Wild Child”, the SS/PS-24 “April”, and the SS/PS 68 boat driven by Scarlata.
The popular Cracker Box class was well represented and Scott Schatz with rider Bob Williams would take the weekend’s honors. The P-9 boat is a consistent winner and Ed Solis’s Suncoast Motorsports team was out in force at this race.
The Comp Jet class would see close to a full field of boats and Lance Nicholls in his 496ci powered Liberty hull would take the weekend’s win. Lance is a relative newcomer to Comp Jet and it’s obvious he’s going to be tough to beat.
Rounding out the class winner list which was determined by combining points from both days are: C Stock Hydro, Jeff Conant; 20SSH, Tammy Dawe; A Stock Hydro, Tammy Dawe; SST 120, Dan Schwartz; Western Tunnel Tour, Jason Williams; Nostalgia Flat, Jerry Cotter; AX Hydro, Amanda Rich; and Classic Outboard 2.0 Litre, Pat Bowman.
Saturday’s race action got started around noon and continued well past 5 PM. There were lots of spectators and the day was a warm one. Sunday’s action would start earlier and the afternoon would turn a bit cool and windy as a low pressure area slid in. All in all, a great weekend of racing. The new SBRA paid for the lake expenses from the reasonable entry fees and spectator gate fees which was their goal. Jerry Griffin (Sharp Shooter on the pb forum) of v-drivevideo.net was in attendance shooting video from a lift by the start/finish line all weekend. Some of these clips are posted in the v-drive section of the pb forums.
There is discussion of a second SBRA race to be held at Puddingstone in October. I encourage everyone to come out and watch. There is a large grassy picnic area to view the races from and it’s a very scenic little lake nestled right in the middle of suburbia within an hour’s drive of millions of people.
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