A replica of the Eagle Electric hydroplane, and early 60's hydro driven by Rex Manchester and Norm Evans
A Thunderboat class hydro wearing the colors of Fatboyz Bodyworkz, a Madison bodyshop who helped sponsor the event.
Another Thunderboat class boat. This boat most closely resembles the 1972 Miss Madison, although I wouldn't call it a replica.
Racers sstarting their boats before sending them out to the water at the start of a heat. As mentioned before, the boats would have to be started from the shore, usually by turning some internal mechanism in the engine or pulling a cord inside the boat that functioned like a weedeater. This reminded me of the early turbine years when the engines were started by a crewmember holding some mechanism then sending the driver out. After the engines were started, a "coach" would toss the boats into the water and the person at the controls would send the boat on its way. The coach would then stand behind the person piloting the boat telling him or her how many laps he or she had completed.
1/8 scale replica of the 7-Eleven leaving the pits, in the infield is a replica of the 2010 Peters & May
Action from the 1/8 scale race. It's hard to tell from this photo but the boat on the frontstretch is a replica the Griffon Bud while the boat on the backstretch is a replica of the 7-Eleven.
Another shot of the Griffon Bud replica, with a Peters & May replica sitting in the infield dead in the water. The Griffon Bud was running away from the field but went dead in the water on the last turn of the last lap. Apparently he got caught in some weeds from the lake and was unable to go on. Yes, even in RC hydro racing they have debris issues.
This Miss Budweiser replica would be the only boat that would finish the first heat for the 1/8 scale hydros.
Small RTR (Ready To Run) hydros were the next to hit the water. These boats are essentially a stock class that functions as the entry level class for people looking to get into RC hydro racing. As the name suggests, a driver buys a boat that is ready to run out of the box and can take it to his or her local race club. These boats put on a great show, kind of like the 2.5 litre stock hydroplanes that used to run in Evansville and Madison nearly every year.
RTRs can be replicas too. The boat on the frontstretch was painted to look like the 1999 Miss Pico
The start of the heat for some gas powered RC hydros. Much like the start of a hydroplane heat the RCs will often come off the gas as the enter turn two to scrub off some speed before the start, then hit full throttle once the clock hits zero. Some boats though just speed around the course with seemingly no regard for the clock. Sometimes they look foolish and are on the backstretch when the clock hits zero and sometimes they are able to execute a perfectly timed flying start. The red boat in the lead was able to time a flying start and ran away with this heat.
Some smaller tunnel boats on the water. Like the human-driven tunnel boats, these RC tunnels have an outboard engine and are extremely quick through the turns. I always enjoyed watching the tunnel boat races when they were on the Madison Regatta program and hope that some class of them can return in the future.
Another Tunnel Boat, this one from a slightly larger class than those racing in the previous picture. There were three of these larger tunnel hulls, but three of them went dead in the water not soon after leaving the pits and this hull won the heat by default
Action from the Thunderboat class. As the name suggests, these boats are extremely loud and most closely resemble the shovel nosed boats from the "Golden Era" of Unlimited Hydroplane racing. Not only were they loud and fun to watch, I could quite literally smell the gas coming from the boats as they left the pits. These boats do a fine job of recreating the racing spectacle of Unlimited racing's golden era and were very fun to watch. Also, if anyone needed a reminder of where the race was taken place, they would notice the fact that more than half of the boats competing in the Thunderboat class had Miss Madison painted on it.