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Was watching the Live Stream when it happened. Prayers sent to his Family and Friends. RIP Sir.

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"Driver in Sunday’s fatal speedboat crash was ‘a true gentleman on and off the water’
 

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Was watching the Live Stream when it happened. Prayers sent to his Family and Friends. RIP Sir.

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"Driver in Sunday’s fatal speedboat crash was ‘a true gentleman on and off the water’

Tim Grobaty

For more than 70 years, speedboat racing has had one of its most popular homes at Marine Stadium, drawing thousands of spectators to several series of races each year until recently, when the stadium’s schedule was pared down to just one annual event, the Long Beach Sprint Nationals, a prestigious two-day regatta filled with the ear-shattering roar of circle boats tearing through the water at speeds up to 150 mph.
This year’s second-day event on Sunday came to a sudden and tragic end a bit before 1 p.m. when the boat piloted by 37-year-old John “Jay” Hart of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, hit a depression in the choppy water alongside the craft driven by Duff Daily, of Miami. The hole in the water, as it’s described by racers, caused Hart’s boat to corkscrew and become airborne, ejecting Hart who was rushed to a nearby trauma center where he died as a result of his injuries.
“He was a very dear friend and his death pains me greatly,” said Ross Wallach, president of the Southern California Speedboat Club, which organizes the annual event. “He was a respected racer and a true gentleman on and off the water.”
Hart was racing in the K class, the fastest class in the event with boats able to reach 150 mph on the straightaways. But, said Wallach, the two boats were only going 110 mph when the accident occurred. Wallach said that Daily, the other driver who was not injured, was experiencing a great deal of guilt and grief about the death of Hart, even though, according to Wallach, videotape of the accident showed it was nobody’s fault.
Speedboat accidents resulting in death are relatively rare, said Wallach, “but like all motorsports, crashing comes with the territory. It’s unfortunate, to say the least.”
Hart, who was born in Salt Lake City, comes from a boat-racing family, and Wallach said that’s probably why they settled near Lake Havasu, a prime venue for the sport.
“His father was a circle boat racer and his brother, Fred, concentrates on drag boat racing,” said Wallach.
Fred Hart was unable to comment on Monday. “Fred was Jay’s best friend,” said Wallach. “They were very tight. I’m sure it’s just devastating for him.”
The tragedy puts the future of the Long Beach Sprint Nationals in question, something that Wallach is aware of.
“The timing doesn’t make it look too good,” he said, with Jay’s fatal accident following the death of racer Gregory Duff, 36, of Newport Beach, who succumbed to his injuries 12 days after his boating accident at the event in 2018.
The city initially canceled the event in 2019, citing safety concerns, until Wallach agreed to a slate of improvements, including an increase in the event’s insurance policy from $1 million to $10 million.
Tasha Day, the city’s manager of Special Events and Filming, said no determination has been made yet on the future of the race.
“Anytime there’s an incident like this, we go through a full review and make a determination,” said Long Beach City Manager Tom Modica, nothing that that process is underway. Still, he said, “It’s concerning that this is the event’s second death in the last three years.”

Driver in Sunday's fatal speedboat crash was 'a true gentleman on and off the water' • Long Beach Post News (lbpost.com)


hole in the water? uh no, Jay was exactly where he was suppose to be on a perfect set. the other boat went right into him. plenty of video proof out there and no doubt at all what happened, sad the news is misrepresenting what happened. RIP buddy
 

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It is sad that we lost a great racer and friend. We need to be careful not to paint our sport in a bad light when so many would love to shut us down. The news report might be wrong, as so many reports are wrong these days. Fred, Mary and the rest of the family want us to remember, celebrate and morn the loss of our friend.

Paul
 
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