SNHL Indiana Governor's Cup Preview
Race 2 of the SNHL Madison Regatta Indiana Governor's Cup is upon us as teams all across the country prepare for what should be an action packed weekend on the Ohio river in Madison, Indiana. After an eventful Guntersville final that led to an abundant of penalties and defeat, Beau Rarig in the U-12 Miss Budweiser nailed the start and survived to be crowned the Southern Cup champion and the first ever SNHL final heat winner. Currently sitting 2nd in National High Points, the Budweiser team is riding on a wave of momentum as we caught up with Beau Rarig and asked how his expectations changed since winning the inaugural race of the season.
"I think everyone's expectations of me have risen since Guntersville. Some have said I got lucky in the Southern Cup Final, and to an extent, I believe that too. I'm not the fastest driver in the field, I will admit that. The key to Budweiser Racing's success going forward is to maintain consistency. Simply finishing in the top 3 each heat was enough to place into the Final, and now Miss Budweiser is second place in National High Points. I won't make any predictions of how Madison will turn out, but I'm confident Miss Budweiser will be a legitimate threat to the rest of the field."
While a hint of pure luck was given to the Budweiser camp on that final win, there's no denying that consistency paid off well for Beau Rarig and that could be the key to a successful year for Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser. Entering a challenging course this weekend in Madison, this could be the true test for Beau with a hungry field eager for their first win. Searching for his first win after nearly boasting a perfect weekend is Eddie Kanfoush in the U-8 Llumar Window Films from Team Wurster. The U-8 was a rocket ship at Guntersville as Eddie showcased his potential as a champion to the tune of 3 straight preliminary heat wins. He came up just short of a final victory, however, as the Llumar finished 2nd in the Southern Cup final after he jumped the gun but 1st in national high points. Asked if being the points leader this early on leads to more pressure, Eddie replied with confidence.
"Absolutely. Leading points kinda puts more of a target on your head, so the pressure is on to keep it up and try to stay on top. All I can do to handle it is run my race and try not to worry too much about anyone else."
Proving that he can fly the boat while keeping it on the water, the Llumar Window Films will be the hull to watch entering the Indiana Governor's Cup after an electric start to the season. Madison is a completely different course than Guntersville as the long straights coupled with hairpin turns make an already rough ride on the Ohio river more challenging. One driver to keep a close eye on is none other than the current 2.5 mile qualifying record holder, Nicholas Miller piloting the U-9 Les Schwab Tires. At a blistering 161.306, he set the tone for a solid weekend finishing the 1st race of the season 3rd in the point standings. Being one of the many victims of a penalty in the final, Jones Racing will be looking to rebound on a challenging Ohio River. Known to fly the boat more like a plane than a hydro at times, Nicholas gave his take on what could be an advantage in Madison with the unique course design.
"I think the long straightaways can provide an advantage to the outside lanes. A fast boat can keep momentum on the outside and avoid the risk of being pinched by other boats. It'll be interesting to see what lanes other drivers prefer."
Given how fast we've seen the Les Schwab Tires at Guntersville, you can bet that Nicholas Miller will be one of the top threats entering Madison. One driver that will be looking for redemption from Guntersville is the 2nd half of Team Wurster, Cei Bowen in the U-8 Tide. Cei kicked off his season with a bang being 1 of only 3 drivers to hit the 160+ mark in qualifying. Capitalizing on his qualifying time, the Tide would go on to win 2 of 3 preliminary heats. Disaster struck however in the final, as a critical lane infraction penalty before the start ruined any chance of a victory at Guntersville. All in all, Cei still had a dominating weekend as he sits 4th in national high points. With this weekend's race at his home course, Cei is confident he can rebound with authority in Madison.
"It’s my home track and been going for 17 years now and I feel pretty confident. Qualifying may be rough but the heats and final I’m very confident. Been running lane 2 a lot and it has been very powerful for mainly heats but if I can get a good start in the final it’ll be a dog fight for the win. Hopefully I won’t make any mistakes this weekend but I’m looking to move up to 1st or 2nd after Madison in the standings."
He also has a boost on confidence to the fact that Team Wurster is on a rampage after 1 race. The Llumar sits 1st in points while the Tide is comfortably in 4th, and there's a great possibility that this team is just getting warmed up. Cei and Eddie have great chemistry working together and it shows on the course and off it. Asked how far they think this team can go this season, Eddie didn't hesitate to respond.
"I think we can go pretty far. Cei’s a great driver, I think we make a pretty good team. We have high expectations for our team so we’re gonna work as hard as we can to exceed them."
The sky is the limit at the moment for Team Wurster, but there's a lot of season still left to be played. One competitor hoping for new beginnings after a lackluster performance is Mickey Washburn in the U-1918 Oberto. After a great start to the season with a 4th place qualifying position, Mickey struggled mightily in the preliminary heats. He didn't have a terrible weekend by any means (one 2nd place finish, and 2 4th's), but Mickey was looking for much more that the current results imply. With a fast Madison course ahead, the Oberto team is looking for redemption to save their season early on.
"After qualifying 4th fastest it was down hill from there. But this weekend is a new race and time to get the 1918 Oberto back on track. If I have any hope for a national title I can’t make any mistakes this weekend."
The Oberto will be a crowd favorite to watch, whether that's the 2018 Oberto or the only community owned hull in the world, the U-6 Miss Madison sponsored by Valvoline. Madison has a rich history of hydroplane racing, and this upcoming weekend, it will only add more with an expected field of 16+ boats for the Indiana Governor's Cup. Who will begin their season at Madison? Who's going to conquer the Ohio River? Who's going to be crowned the Indiana Governor's Cup Champion? We'll find out soon enough.
You gotta Regatta!