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Local teams shine at nationals
The U.S. Sprint Boat Association on Saturday wrapped up the 2011 season in great style, with a record-breaking and highly enthusiastic crowd turning out to witness the maiden event at the new Extreme Sports Park in Port Angeles.
The venue hosted the Saturday National Finals in the U.S. Sprint Boat Series.
The local crews didn’t disappoint their hometown fans, picking up wins in two of the three classes of boats.
The Port Angeles-based Wicked Racing team of Dan Morrison and Cara McGuire steered No. 10 to victory in the Super Boat class.
For Morrison and McGuire it was just another day at work. The pair won every event on the circuit this season, picking up the points necessary to clinch the national championship in the Super Boat class in August.
Sequim’s father-son team of Paul and Josh Gahr won the day in the A-400 class, topping the field in Live Wire.
With a second-place finish on Saturday, a second Wicked team, Doug Hendrickson and Hannah Macke, earned the points required to finish No. 1 for the season in the A-400 class.
The Tacoma-based team of Eric Werner and Jana Horton picked up first place in the Super Modified Class.
With their victory in the finals, Werner and Horton nailed down a national championship.
And they’re off!
Morrison, who serves as vice president of the U.S. Sprint Boat Association, helped spearhead the construction of Extreme Sports Park in Port Angeles and is a co-owner of the property.
Morrison called the event “unbelievable.”
He said that the Washington State Patrol performed a fly-over at 1 p.m. and at that time estimated the crowd at 8,200. “But it never stopped,” Morrison said, noting traffic was backed up for miles as spectators made their way to the new park.
Amanda Vestal, the driver of Vindictive, called the new track “amazing and beautiful.”
“And it’s challenging,” she said.
Morrison said, “It was important to make a good first impression on the city” and “not to have a bad impact on the environment.”
Reach Mark Couhig at firstname.lastname@example.org.