With the off-season under wraps and a slew of experimental exhibitions in the books, we look forward to a upcoming SNHL season that brings a completely refined format to the table for season 2. A lot of changes were made to the structure of the league, particularly the milling period procedures with an abundance of rule changes that will completely alter the outcome of races this season. Season 2 will have a new era of Hydrosim racing and with the playing field essentially being reset, drivers will have to rethink their starting procedures for the year.
The biggest rule change this season will be the dismissal of the 80 MPH rule as there will be no speed requirement during the milling period. Without the 80 M.P.H. rule in effect, the milling period will drastically change with even more opportunities for different strategies to take place. Another rule that was terminated for this season is the use of DMZ's as there will be no DMZ violation that can occur that would disqualify a competitor. One of the most intriguing rule additions this season is the 1 minute score up buoy, as all drivers will be required to score up at a specific buoy (exit pin of turn 1) at 1 minute. This rule will provide a unique challenge to all drivers as it ups the ante in the milling period leading up to the race.
Along with these major rule changes, SNHL Season 2 will also be the first season where community created boats can be used alongside the real H1 Unlimited hydroplanes that you saw in Season 1. Some will remain in recognizable H1 unlimited boats while many returning drivers opted to bring their breath-taking creations to the waters for the first time ever in SNHL. What made the registration process ever more entertaining this year, in a season of firsts, was the first annual SNHL Live Draft where many returning drivers made their picks live according to last years positioning in points. Below is the draft recap of the selections that were made in order of last years positioning in Season High Points
1st pick Eddie Kanfoush *U-1 Llumar Window Film
2nd pick Nicholas Miller *U-75 Digital Confectioners Presents Depth
3rd pick Cei Bowen *U-43 Notre Dame
4th pick Matt Johnson *U-10 Matt Johnson Design
5th pick Kelsey Best *U-12 Miss Seahawks
6th pick Mickey Washburn *U-9 Kramerica Presents Miss Vandelay
7th pick Tim Johnson *U-50 Miss Tri-Cities
8th pick Peyton Hopp *U-5 Graham Trucking 2013
9th pick Cale Bruce *U-1918 Oberto Specialty Meats
10th pick Scott Przybylski *U-8 Mr Pringles 1986
11th pick Chris Porten *U-65 Oberto Specialty Meats
12th pick Codee Guyll *U-57 Miss Viper
13th pick Jeff DeWalt *U-31 Super Bee R/T
14th pick David Johnson *U-11 Miss Exide 2
15th pick Quinton Miller *U-67 Miss Sonics
16th pick Jake Bell *U-16 Red Bull Racing
17th pick Saxon Hopp *U-100 Znetix
18th pick Harley Gray *U-6 Frosted Flakes 2019
19th pick Simon Fortin *U-88 Degree Men
20th pick Noah Johns *U-666 Doom Slayer
21st pick Matthieu Brown *U-16 Miss E-Lam plus
22nd pick Luke Nelson *U-37 Beacon Plumbing 2012
23rd pick John Ashby *U-88 Nationwide Insurance
24th pick Tab Hebert *U-33 Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
25th pick Craig Montgomery *U-44 Hormel Presents Team Spam
The defending champion of the league, Eddie Kanfoush, comes off of a stellar season 1 after he dominated the field with 14 heat victories and 2 Final heat wins. Sporting a beautiful combination of Llumar Window Films and his fathers 1 litre paint scheme of the Fast Eddie Too, Eddie is more than honored to be running under Bill Wurster as the U-1 while paying homage to his dad's racing career. "The Y-1 Fast Eddie Too was the boat of my childhood. I grew up with that boat, and I never got tired of watching my father drive that hull. He was very successful with it, winning 10 national high points championships in a row before retiring in 2014. When I won the SNHL championship with the Llumar team last year, it seemed like a no-brainer to me. Honoring my father while sticking with the team and sponsor that brought my success is something that I take great pride in, and I’m very excited to start the next season."
Kanfoush will look to continue his dominance this year under a completely refined race format that he hopes will play an advantage to his strategy. "Last season was a surprisingly good year for us, in all honesty I didn't expect to do that well. Now we have a decent amount of changes to the starting procedure, and that's gonna spice things up a bit. Some people are stronger with one format than the other, so that will definitely come into play. For me, I'm just gonna get some testing and practice in and try to maximize my ability to get lane 1 and hit a start. I don't know if I'll be able to defend my title, but I'm sure gonna try! The U-1 Llumar team is prepared, we've made several changes to the hull and we're ready to battle it out with the best of the best!"
DJ Miller wound up as the runner up last season despite being arguably the fastest driver on the water after securing 5 top qualifiers out of 6 races that were ran. Miller has the potential to really make an impact this season and make a run for the title as he feels confident with the new format moving forward. "My plan this season is to be consistent and do my best to put myself in positions where I can run well. I'm proud of my performance in the off-season races and I think if I can replicate how I ran there I have a shot at a championship run. A key component to a championship is making as few mistakes as possible. Last season I made a few too many mistakes, but I feel more confident in my driving abilities now, especially with the new boat. The U-75 DC Presents Depth is a fast ride and capable of devouring the competition, but it is my responsibility as a driver to put the boat in a position to win. The competition will be fierce, so I will need to pick my battles on the water wisely."
The Gold Cup champion Cei Bowen has something to prove in the sophomore season of the SNHL after dueling with DJ Miller for the runner up position late in the season. Unafraid to push any boat to the brink, Bowen has his eyes set on more than just a runner up position this season. "Proved consistent and running good, but not how we wanted the season to go. We are looking to reclaim my title at Detroit and also end out the season on top. Strategy wise we will do the same as last year. Run hard, clean starts, and beat ‘em from the outside. Looking forward to the season, have been doing some repairs and had sponsor issues during the off-season so haven’t done too many practice sessions or races." Bowen will be a force to be reckoned with if he can adapt quickly to the new race format in place this year.
Matt Johnson got better as the season progressed, working his way from the middle of the pack and finished the year 4th in points and a Final heat victory under his name in Seattle. Johnson was often seen as one of the cleaner racers towards the end of the season, hardly committing any penalties and driving a smooth, yet persistent race. Johnson looks to build off the off-season momentum as he has high confidence in his ability to be a top contender in Season 2. "I'm feeling really good about season 2. I've been practicing a lot and I've seen that pay off with some really good results during the off season. I think I can definitely compete for the national championship."
Despite missing 1 race in the season, Kelsey Best still managed to astonishingly place 5th in season high points after boasting a wicked fast boat ride in 2018/2019. Representing the 12th man with his new hull in the U-12 Miss Seahawks, Best looks to better himself in season 2 after an overly impressive season 1 campaign that at one point saw him hold a 4 heat win streak. "The U-12 Miss Seahawks team is excited and ready for the upcoming season. The changes to the start procedure will make for some interesting milling periods. We were fortunate our driver was able to secure Lane 1 consistently last season but we anticipate the competition will be more intense this season. As a team we hope to be able to make all the races as that wasn't the case last season. We are also looking for a bit more consistency from our driver as a lot of unforced errors took away heat wins last season. Improvements in these areas should result in us fighting for the high points championship."
Like many other drivers, Mickey Washburn looks forward to the challenge that awaits the season with the 1 minute score up buoy in effect. Coming off of a top 10 finish in points last season, Washburn looks to make waves in his new Miss Vandelay this year. "This season we will be looking to be consistent and have the boat in position to win. I like the new format. The race before the race should be interesting. I’m betting there will be a huge dog pile at the 1 minute buoy for each final heat. Should be fun. With a little luck this year maybe the Kramerica presents Miss Vandelay can find herself with a race win this season."
Tim Johnson showcased plenty of speed last year as he propelled his way to a 7th place in season high points, but there was more left desired in the inaugural SNHL Season for Johnson. With great talent came great risk for Tim Johnson last season, and unfortunately it hurt him more than it helped in crucial moments. In the SNHL, only those who take the most time and effort to perfect the art of speed on water have the most success and Tim is bound to do that in season 2. "We need to make sure to practice more. We put ourselves in many difficult situations because we couldn't keep the boat on the water. Getting familiar with the water will be key in securing better finishes. We had a good offseason and are looking forward to season 2."
The learning curve was bittersweet for Peyton Hopp in Season 1 after placing 8th place in season high points. Slowly developing as a driver Peyton Hopp has shown potential for consistency towards the end of last season and is eager to gain more experience in Season 2. The first driver in the draft that stayed with a real H1 Unlimited team, Hopp looks to make a statement this season. "Left season 1 with mixed emotions about our performance on the year, but we leave our first year behind us and have a great feeling about Season 2. Have to thank Schumacher for the opportunity to represent a great team and wish them luck on the upcoming year as they look to develop a new driver like myself. I'm stoked to sign on to Porter for the year and show all these driver owned teams how it's done!"
The rest of the returning SNHL field will all be sporting new colors as the majority finds themselves in their own beloved creation. The 2019 fleet will be a sight to see with many up and coming drivers like Chris Porten, Codee Guyll, Jeff DeWalt, and Quinton Miller will look to make an impact in some of the more awe-inspiring schemes this year. While many drivers have chosen to jump in their self-created hulls, drivers like Cale Bruce, Scott Pryzbylski and Saxon Hopp have found H1 Unlimited teams to pair with in a season that lacks them. Hopp in particular continues with Leland Unlimited in the U-100 Znetix and is poised for a hopeful sophomore campaign. "Fred Leland got some good equipment during the offseason, I got my rookie stripes out of the way. Looking to work on my qualifying speeds as well getting lane 1 and mixing it up with the competition I have a good feeling about Seafair with this boat. Fred has some of the best rough water boats and it's up to me to execute at every course we run on this year. I am happy to be apart of Leland Unlimited and to have Znetix on board."
By far one of the most interesting developments in the off-season was the return of a former multi-time UHL Champion as Craig Montgomery announced that he would bring the U-44 Hormel presents Team SPAM out of retirement. One of the most dominant drivers in UHL history, Montgomery will be a household name in his first season on competition in the SNHL. While his previous racing experience shows how efficient he was out on the water, Hydrosim and the SNHL is a completely different league than what the UHL consisted of. For Montgomery's first year back in competition, he doesn't expect any immediate success as he begins to learn the ropes in the SNHL. "I don't really have any goals! I haven't mastered these physics and I don't have the practice time that I used to. I hope to make good starts and stay out of trouble."
With all of the sudden changes in year 2 of the SNHL, this season will be a season of firsts as this years competition on the water will be incomparable to last years. Many drivers have honed their skills in the off-season, long awaiting the chance to prove their worth to compete with the very best of the best. Many potential storylines are up in the air before the season even begins, the racing atmosphere seems so palpable this year compared to last. Ranging from the obvious battle for the championship to who the 1st ever rookie of the year will be, there will be no shortage of entertainment throughout the season at every position.
Do you have what it takes to push yourself to the absolute limit, to overcome adversity, and to immortalize yourself as the Champion of SNHL Season 2? The path the glory starts Friday, October 25th in Guntersville, Alabama.