8.7.2016Rookie driver takes home first career win in Seattle!
The week running up to the Seafair weekend in Seattle was hectic. The previous weekend, a propeller had broken a blade on the U-9 in the second round of competition heats in Tri-Cities and left us sidelined for the rest of the weekend. The damage done by the broken propeller included some chunks bitten off the bottom of the boat near the strut, the strut itself had been snapped in half, an obliterated gearbox, and the tearing up of the shaft log. The damage wasn't as bad as it could have been and not as bad as the last time it happened to us in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 2013, but with only a few days between races to fix the damage, time was ticking.
Over the course of three nights and days, the U-9 hull was rolled upside down, a new propeller shaft system was aligned and glued into place, the bottom was repaired, rolled right-side-up again, and finishing repairs were made to allow the U-9 to roll into the Stan Sayres Pits for "Set-up Day" Thursday evening while some of the carbon fiber epoxy and paint were still curing on the new repairs. There was a feeling of satisfaction being able to set up the boat on the day that it is normally done. Although there are decades of experience performing repairs on these boats by the senior crew members, we looked forward to seeing how the boat would perform and looked towards the weekend and what surprises it would hopefully not bring. After the breaking of the gearbox in Tri-Cities, we were left with only one complete gearbox to run in Seattle and because of the broken propeller blade the weekend before, all of the propellers on our inventory list were looked at with skepticism as we were leery of breaking another one.
Friday would see the U-9 and Andrew Tate as the 3rd fastest qualifier, with only tenths of a MPH separating the 2nd through 4th place qualifiers. On Saturday, there was only one round of heats with the U-9 coming out on top for its first elimination Heat 1B. All the work during the week seemed to have paid off as the U-9 hull and Andrew Tate performed excellent. Sunday would be a busier day of racing as we would compete in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of elimination heats and hopefully make it to the Final Heat. With 2nd Place finishes in Heats 2A and 3A, the U-9 was primed for the showdown in the Albert Lee Cup Final Heat. There had been some penalties among the top running boats as the fastest qualifier U-16 Oh Boy! Oberto jumped the gun in one heat and both the U-16 and the U-1 HomeStreet Bank had penalties for going too slow (under the 80 MPH minimum).
Leading up to the Final Heat, Andrew was busy studying previous heat videos and going over his timing marks as he concentrated on his heat start and lane jockeying strategy. There was definitely an intensity and focus that seemed heightened more than usual. As the Final Heat got underway, Andrew hit his timing marks as planned and managed to get into lane two for the start of the race. It was deck to deck as boats maneuvered for their lanes and the U-5 bumped sponsons with the U-21 during the milling period. It was to be a six boat lineup with a seventh trailer boat and it was anybody's guess who would get lanes three and outward. Jimmy Shane cut across the course right before the start and in a kind of 'Muncey like' maneuver squeezed between Andrew and the U-5 in a gap at the front line to secure lane three next to Andrew. Three quarters of the way through lap one, the piston powered Miss Dijulio pulled into the in-field and stopped, letting go of lane one as Andrew took over with a head to head battle with Jimmy Shane in lane two. The next four laps would see the U-1 gaining and losing ground on the U-9 but could not quite make up the distance on Andrew Tate. Andrew would later say, "I never saw so much blue in a rear view mirror in my life!" The U-9 hull would have its first victory in 14 years and Andrew Tate, a rookie, would have his first career win! The last driver to win at Seafair in his rookie season was Jim Ranger in "My Gypsy" in 1966.
Since the first full season commitment by Jones Racing in 2012 it has been a heck of a journey with lots of ups and downs. In the last four and a half race seasons we've had over 34 qualifying runs, 82 test runs, 80 elimination heats, and 20 Final Heats. The boat has flipped once, broken a rudder & bracket, broken two propellers along with two gearboxes, broken a few wings, fairings, cowlings, and canards, burned the hands of Tommy Thompson, crisscrossed the country many times, and traversed the Atlantic to Qatar three times. We've had numerous supporters and sponsors, crew people, three drivers, friends lending help, late nights working, many weekends in the shop, and a lot of pizza for boat shop days. There must be a reason we all do this. I guess we love boat racing. It's been a long time coming for this particular team's first win, but I have to say... it was worth it.
Now on to the next race!
7.24.2016Andrew Tate qualifies in Madison, IN. On the first weekend of July, at the first race of the 2016 season, Andrew Tate qualified as an Unlimited Hydroplane driver. He is a fourth generation boat racer with many wins in smaller classes and has won nine national titles and has been inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions twice.
Most notably, he is the son of famed hydroplane racer Mark Tate, who has numerous wins in the Unlimited class and who had piloted boats such as Oh Boy! Oberto, Winston Eagle, Smokin' Joe's, Close Call, Freddie's Club, and Miss Trendwest.
That being said, Andrew has done his best to stay out of the shadow of his family's legacy while honoring it at the same time by proving his own individual talents as a boat racer. His performance in Madison, IN showed he could do just that by qualifying as the second fastest boat of the weekend- just under 2 MPH behind the leader and previous year's National Points Champion, Jimmy Shane.
The Madison Regatta was quite eventful and exciting besides Andrew's first chance to drive in competition. There was an incident in the pits where a trailer for the U-5 lost its blocking and rolled away from under the boat as it was being craned down, brushing against the boat and causing it to swing wildly on its lifting straps over the heads of its team. The regatta saw boats racing at the ragged edge of almost flipping and eventually one did flip in the Final Heat, as Cal Phipps in the U-27 went end-over-end on the last lap!
Throughout all of the craziness, Andrew kept his wits about him and concentrated on his strategies for race starts, learning the feel of the boat as he got more seat time and began the process of showing the competition that while being a rookie, he could be a contender.
The next race for Andrew and the U-9 team will be in Pasco, WA or the "Tri-Cities" as it's often referred to. Andrew will be able to start the heats on the front line with the rest of the boats now that he's qualified and show he's got what it takes to be competitive driver. The future looks bright for this burgeoning career of an Unlimited driver as Andrew makes his own mark on the sport!
6.24.2016Realtrac Performance ERP to sponsor U-9 Jones Racing team. The U-9 will be racing at the MainSource Bank Indiana Governor’s Cup presented by Belterra Casino and Resort (July 1-3) as the famous Bellos Pizza presents Realtrac Performance ERP. The U-9 team is also excited to partner with the Delta Research group, a leader in gearbox and transmission technology.
Delta Gear manufactures complex gearing for: Turbine Engine, Helicopter Drivetrain Systems and Fixed Wing Actuation for Aerospace companies throughout North America, Europe and Asia for commercial passenger jets and defense aircraft. Delta Gear products can be found worldwide in aircraft ranging from military cargo planes, attack helicopter gunships to large commercial passenger aircraft and business jets.
Delta Research manufactures R&D, Prototype and Production gearing, including complete transmissions for hybrid electric, gas and diesel powered vehicles for passenger cars including the heavy truck transportation industry worldwide. Delta Research also produces drive system gearing for US military tracked and wheeled vehicle’s including complex 5 Axis machined components used on the US Navy’s new Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System designed to catapult fighter jets safer and faster on the Navy’s newest aircraft carriers.
Both Delta Research & Delta Gear have become the Aerospace and Automotive OEM’s “Go To” supplier of choice for fast turnaround prototype, development and production detail gearing, including spiral bevel gears, gearbox assemblies and complete drive systems. delta-gear.com and deltaresearch.com
A third Delta company, Realtrac Performance ERP Software, specializes in manufacturing software for small to mid-size machine shops, job shops and make to order manufacturers. The company was founded in the heart of a machine shop and has served the manufacturing industry for over three decades. Realtrac is used by thousands of machining suppliers across North America.
Realtrac’s ERP software is very easy to learn and use and boasts the lowest total cost of use software on the market. With a quick start implementation, Realtrac ERP is operable in just a few days compared to weeks or months. Realtrac is built on a real time platform allowing businesses to stay on top of all of their jobs, labor and material costs, outside vendors, quality metrics and customer delivery tracking. From Estimating to Quality conformance and Accounting integration, Realtrac is a completely integrated shop system that is real quick with real profits. Realtrac gives an analysis of a business’s current and past status allowing them to make educated decisions based on real facts for a maximum return on investment. realtrac.com
4.14.2016Mike and Lori Jones, owners of the U-9 Jones Racing Unlimited Hydroplane Race Team are proud to announce the new driver of the U-9 for 2016 is 26-year-old Michigan native, Andrew Tate.
As a fourth-generation boat racer, Andrew Tate was born to drive hydroplanes. The Tate legacy began in 1930's with hydroplane pioneer Joe Tate, Sr., who built and raced his own boats. The desire to go fast on water was passed on to his son, Joe Tate, Jr., who drove Grand National (7-litre) hydroplanes until he was 70 years old. The Tate name was etched into boat racing history by Andrew's father, Mark, who was inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions four times, winning the APBA Gold Cup twice. Mark married California native and champion 145c.i. driver Sandy Wray, creating a family embedded in a world of high speed on the water.
Driving his first hydro at 9 years old, Andrew honed his skills at the beginning of his career by piloting various types of kneel-down outboard hydroplanes. Since 2006, Andrew won nearly 100 races in various APBA outboard hydroplane categories, including nine national titles, and inducted into the APBA Hall of Champions twice (2010 and 2016). The well-known Tate name and Andrew’s early success in the smaller hydros caught the attention of boat owner, and family friend, Randy English. In 2011, the English family hired Andrew to drive one of their 2.5-litre modified inboard hydroplanes. Winning the 2013 APBA National High Point Championship and a slew of races, success was prevalent for both the English family and Andrew. In 2015 the English's invested in a two-boat Grand Prix Hydroplane team, giving Andrew the honor of piloting the GP-101, Fat Chance Too. A rich history followed Andrew to a prestigious class of boat racing. By the end of the team's 2015 rookie campaign, Andrew had silenced any critics and gave his expanding fan base something to cheer about. Winning his first ACHA race off of “rookie restriction” in Tonawanda, NY, and the APBA Grand Prix National Championships in Waterford, MI. Andrew's footprint in the sport continues to grow. 2015's results spoke for themselves. Winning four APBA National Championships in three different categories of racing (stock outboard, modified outboard, and inboard hydroplane) Andrew was voted into the APBA Hall of Champions for the second time.
4.8.2016New sponsor for U-9: Mike and Lori Jones- owners of U-9 Jones racing, are proud to announce the addition of Sound Propeller Service's Inc. as associate sponsor for the 2016 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series. Sound Propeller Services, Inc is located on the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, Washington. "When your propulsion system needs some help, you can call on us. Our uncompromising commitment to quality has helped us become a leading manufacturer of marine propulsion equipment and has resulted in nationwide orders for our custom-engineered products. Whether it's a pleasure boat, fishing boat, tug, small freighter or large yacht, operators value the propeller performance provided by our highly skilled craftsmen. We supply propellers to vessel operators and boat builders across the United States." Sound Propeller Services, Inc will be on the non-trip of the U-9 for the entire circuit replacing long time sponsor Honda Auto Center of Bellevue.
7.22.2015Gold Cup: The U-9 Team is in the Tri-Cities to compete for the Gold Cup. This will be the first time Scott Liddycoat will pilot the U-9 in competition and we are confident he will bring his 'best game' to the race! A field of 13 boats are expected to show up for the 50th running of the Water Follies and the 106th Gold Cup event. Because it's a rarity to host the Gold Cup on the Columbia River (only the 5th time and not since 1984), a larger than normal number of fans are expected to show up and witness one of the most competitive and prestigious races of the season. All of the teams save their best equipment to run at the Gold Cup and the event is even drawing out the only piston powered boat out of storage, to bring some thunder back to the water. Because the 2015 season has a short schedule of races, every heat and every amount of points they bring- no matter how small- can influence who will be high point champion of the season. There are only four races this season that will yield points for Heat competition. Pile that on top of the Gold Cup being in the "back yard" of most of the teams (the Pacific Northwest)- this go-for-broke race of the season... The Gold Cup, is sure to be packed with intensity, excitement and thrills!
5.29.2015Successful pre-season test session in Tri-Cities: On May 29th, the U-9 team along with two other teams tested the waters of the Columbia River after a winter of repairs, upgrades & enhancements to hulls and equipment. The U-9's new driver, Scott Liddycoat stepped into the U-9 for the first time and back into the cockpit of an "unlimited" as a full-time driver in over two years. A smooth, safe, and "uneventful" test session for sure with the only surprise (to some) being some guest pilots in the drivers seat. After taking the U-9 out on a couple of runs, Scott stepped aside to let some new shoes push on the pedals. Andrew Tate, a budding young star in the limited ranks and son of Mark Tate a veteran hydroplane racer stepped into an unlimited for the first time. After Tate, two veterans of boat racing going as far back as the 1960's as teenagers- in the limited ranks and growing up to crew for bygone unlimited teams such as Atlas Van Lines, Miller American, Circus Circus, Squire Shop, Mr. Pringles, and Budweiser- brothers Jeff and Mike Campbell took turns in the U-9 and fulfilled the dream of driving an unlimited class hydroplane. "It's been a long time coming," and "It was worth the wait," were a couple of the comments the smiling brothers expressed after their time on the water.
The U-9 along with at least 10 other teams will make their first race appearance in Madison, Indiana in less than two weeks and final preparations are almost complete for the trip back East. The Madison Regatta takes place July 3rd-5th.
Jones Racing would like to thank all of the drivers that have expressed interest in driving the U-9 hydroplane this season. We have had many enthusiastic inquiries from all over the country! After careful consideration, the team and its sponsors have come to a decision. This decision is based not only on a driver's ability to win races, but also how he will represent the team and its sponsors- Les Schwab Tire Centers, RedDOT and Honda Auto Center of Bellevue.
U-9 Jones Racing is pleased to announce that the driver of the U-9 unlimited hydroplane for the 2015 season will be Scott Liddycoat!
From Scott Liddycoat:
"I want to thank Lori and Mike Jones for giving me the opportunity to drive one of the fastest boats on the circuit and asking me to be a part of one of the most well respected teams on the beach. I think with Jeff Campbell and the knowledge, dedication, and teamwork surrounding the U-9 we will be a tough team to beat. The sport seems to be heading in a positive direction with the leadership of Steve David and I am glad I get to be part of it. My son Grant is super excited to be a part of the 'snow cone' team and is looking forward to Madison."
Scott brings with him a knowledge of race boats and competition experience. We look forward to adding his skill set to our teams' and we expect to continue our level of competitiveness from the last three seasons and are working towards raising the bar in 2015. Scott is also honing his driving skills on the monster truck series circuit- a fact that is sure to interest some of our race fans.
Our team is looking forward to setting up the boat for Scott and plan on testing the U-9 on the water during the last week in May. We are also pleased that Jon Zimmerman has agreed to stay on as a backup driver if the need should arise. The sport of hydroplane racing is always changing in some fashion and teams are continuously working on making their boat faster than the last heat, race, and season. At the Jones Racing shop, we are in the process of building new parts and tuning our equipment to make our boat faster. Changes also include from time to time, a reorganization of the crew as people move on to other things and new people join-up to help the team. Jones Racing looks forward to making 2015 another season to remember!
2.22.2015Driver Change: U-9 Jones Racing regrets to announce that Jon Zimmerman has stepped down as the driver for Jones Racing's unlimited hydroplane. Jon will be redirecting his spare time to personal and family commitments.
"It is time for me to step down as driver for the U-9 team. Hydroplane racing is a huge time commitment and I have been spreading myself too thin with work, racing, and family. My son Jack is almost 9 and I need to commit more time to him and his activities.
I could not have had a better opportunity than I have had with the U-9. I have traveled the world and met some of the best racers and fans in motorsports. Mike and Lori Jones have been great to my family and me. The team is very dedicated and worked extremely hard and sacrificed long hours to give me a first class race boat to drive. I will miss it.
Thank you very much for the great ride and I wish you all the best.
The U-9 Jones Racing team and "family" wish Jon the best and would like to thank him for all of his hard work, dedication, determination, and whole hearted efforts in helping to make our team one of the most competitive in the sport of hydroplane racing. We will miss his positive attitude and kind spirit. Jon is cherished not only by Jones Racing but also by other teams and competitors.
As for the future of the U-9 Jones Racing team, it is uncertain at this point how it will move forward in its commitment to racing in 2015 and beyond at this time. We will keep you posted.
7.1.2014Progress made over the winter on repairing the damage done in Coeur d'Alene (2013) and other modifications to lighten and enhance the handling of the hull, look to be fruitful for the 2014 season. The crew put in a lot of hours and were backed by the unwavering support of owners Mike & Lori Jones. It was truly an "all hands on deck" kind of winter.
On the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, the U-9 team tested the new setup of the boat in Tri-Cities (Pasco, WA.) and we were happy with the results.
It's been an interesting off-season for most all of the competing teams and the 2014 season sees a lot of changes across-the-board in crew, crew chiefs, and drivers. The U-9 team has some new crew members, but as a whole we are still adding onto the continuous growth we have been building on, in becoming a viable top contender.
Some of the changes we have made to be faster this season are obvious, some are not- and we still have some (legal) surprises up our sleeves waiting to be utilized.
Until the U-9 beast is calmed again at the end of this season, there will be no lulling response to the phrase, "Klaatu barada nikto."
U-9 Team/Crew for the 2014 season:
Mike & Lori Jones, Owners
Jon Zimmerman, Driver
Jeff Campbell, Crew Chief
Mike Campbell, Props/Wings/Deck
Harvey Chenault, Tooling/Mechanical/Truck
Dave Arnold, Radio/Logistics
Seph Parshall, Electrical/Data
Jason Elhard, Fuel/Skid Fin
Jason Theuret, Mechanical
Brian Gibb, Mechanical
Matt Sontag, Deck/Mechanical
3.16.20142013 Crew Chief of the Year Jeff Campbell accepts his award at the H1 Unlimited Annual Awards Banquet. Attendance was the highest ever for the annual event. Hints of many changes for the season were announced by Chairman Sam Cole including a new race start method. The new H1 Unlimited Board of Directors were present including newly elected board member from the U-9, Jeff Campbell. The theme of the evening was "Tradition" and to mark the occasion, the oldest and biggest awards in the sport were all present in the same place for the first time. The Gold Cup (oldest, active motorsports trophie) the Martini & Rossi trophie (race team season high point champion award), the Oryx Cup (UIM season champion), the Bill Muncey award (driver high point champion award) were all lined up and glimmering under the spotlights. It was a chance for all the teams that compete vigorously during the season, to relax and visit each other without the tension of competition.
7.14.2013Another unpredictable Gold Cup lay ahead as teams readied for the most coveted trophy in hydroplane racing. The U-22 returned after its devastating blow over in 2012, Steve David of the Oh Boy! Oberto was still seeking an elusive Gold Cup win since starting as an unlimited driver over a quarter of a century ago, and all teams were anxious for action on the water after the cancellation of the previous race in Madison, Indiana. The U-9 Team RedDOT was ready for competition and for keeping the other teams guessing as to what race strategy may be used from heat to heat, as was shown in Sacramento- with varied lane jockeying starts. The U-9 qualified as the 3rd fastest boat of the field on Friday, keeping in line with current season standings behind the U-1 and U-5. On Saturday, the first round of elimination heats saw the U-5 with a heat win in 1A. In Heat 1B the U-100 blew over when entering the second turn in front of the yacht club where the U-22 had blown over the year before. The U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto was issued a penalty after hitting a buoy leaving the U-22's Mike Webster with his first heat win in an unlimited. The U-9 finished fourth in the heat re-rerun and although having a good run physically in its heat, started the race a lap down due to a penalty that carried over from the first run of Heat 1B. The second round of elimination heats went well for the U-5 and U-95, each with a win in their respective heats while the Oberto still battled with penalty calls and the U-9 Team RedDOT finished 3rd in Heat 2A. For the first day, it had seemed that the world was upside down as a couple of the top ranking teams for the season, saw themselves at the bottom of the standings for the Gold Cup weekend thus far. Sunday turned things around as the U-1 and U-9 both received heat wins for the third round of elimination heats, with the fourth round going to the U-1 and U-95. The Final Heat for the 2013 Gold Cup was next and would prove to be as unpredictable as all of the previous heats put together! Steve David in the Oh Boy! Oberto was in front for points on the weekend and was the favorite to finally win the Gold Cup. The Final began with the U-95, U-5 and U-1 in lanes one thru three respectively, the U-9 in lane four and U-11 in lane five. In turn two of lap one, the U-1 rode the rails tight on turn two with the U-5 and U-95 inside. The U-5 Graham Trucking drove thru the roostertail of the Oberto breaking its front canard wing and dropped to the back of the pack with the wing impaled vertically over the front strut of the boat and acted as a second rudder making faster speeds for the U-5 impossible. By the middle of the second lap, the front running Oberto was penalized for allegedly taking the corner too tight in lap one. This would leave the U-95 and U-9 Team RedDOT as the leaders in the Gold Cup Final with the U-9 edging out front of the U-95 from the outside and dueling for the lead as the U-9 would creep forward in the straights and the U-95 edging forward to even up with the U-9 in the corners for laps three and four. On the last lap, the U-9 leads across the finish line as they approached turn one of the final lap and the U-95 was able to take the lead in the corner as Jon Zimmerman in the U-9 hit a patch of rough water. As the last lap progressed, the lead boats were so close in speed that the U-9 was unable to catch the U-95 Spirit of Qatar for the rest of the lap and the Gold Cup win would go to the U-95 as it lead the U-9 by a roostertail length across the finish line as all spectators were on their feet shouting at the one of the closest finishes in Gold Cup history!
5.27.20132013 season begins with a new sponsorship from Red Dot corporation [www.rdac.com]. Red Dot manufactures HVAC systems, components, replacement parts, and aftermarket units for vehicles in demanding work environments all over the world. U-9 is thrilled to have a company such as Red Dot as a sponsor! Red Dot has been involved in unlimited hydroplane sponsorship for years and has been a great supporter of the sport. The U-9 hull & equipment are ready to depart for the first 2013 race in the USA following a great showing in the 2012 season. After some maintenance following the races in Doha, Qatar the U-9 is poised for another competative season in 2013. The U-9 team is determined to build on its momentum from 2012 and push its standings further up in the top team leaders. The U-9 goes to Sacramento as 3rd place in season high points for 2013.
2.12.2013Second Place finish for U-9 in 2013 UIM Championship!
The U-9 team returned once again to the Middle East to kick off the beginning of the new race season at Doha, Qatar in the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship. Again the U-9 qualified in the top 4 boats for the 2013 Oryx Cup. Running in Heat 1B along side a newly colored U-95 (U-17 running as Spirit of Qatar), U-37 Beacon Plumbing and U-57 FormulaBoats.com- the U-9 pushed to the front to come out on top, taking First Place in our first elimination heat of the 2013 season. Donning the colors of the O'berto team for his driver suit, Jon Zimmerman accepted the first trophy of the season for the U-9 team. Maybe losing luggage on the way to Qatar and using an O'berto driving suit would be a lucky thing? U-9's next race in Heat 2A caught all eyes on the beach as the boats rounded the end of the first lap. The U-37 Peters and May and U-21 Snoqualmie Casino boats collided in the turn and the U-37 skidded across the top of the U-21 and rolled fiercly as the right side of the hull dug into the water- forcing it into a barrel roll that tore the right sponson off and ejected the complete turbine engine into the bay.