Sprint boats bigger than ever, thrilling as always

A total of 38 teams from three countries and several states converged on the Extreme Sports Park west of Port Angeles for two days of racing in late July, in the biggest American Sprint Boat Racing event held locally in years.

The event was expanded to two days to accommodate the increase in teams. Eleven teams competed in the modified class, 15 in the 400 class and 12 in the unlimited class. Teams came from New Zealand, Canada and from the U.S., Idaho, Oregon and Washington state, with qualifying rounds held Saturday and elimination rounds with the final eight boats in each classification Sunday.

ESP track officials reported a crowd of 4,700 on July 29, and another 5,100 on July 30.

Winning the modified class was the Juggernaut No. 86 boat out of Burley, Idaho, with Jason Christ, driver and Samantha Christ, navigator. Second place was the Fear Not No. 623 boat out of Mulino, Ore., with Clint Birch driver and Terri Lovell, navigator. Third place was the Checkmate No. 55 boat from Castle Rock with Frank Toftemark driver and Kelly Toftemark, navigator.

The winner of the 400 class was 22 Fat Buddy out of Surrey, B.C., Canada, with Phil Miller, driver and Amy Thomason, navigator.

Coming in second place was Preventing Insanity No. 27 out of Lewiston, Idaho. Leighton Little, who was paralyzed while training for a motorcycle race and is in a wheelchair, was the driver. The navigator was Cody Holzer.

Finishing third in the 400 class was the Pure Insanity No. 285 out of Clarkston with River Rogers, driver, and Ryan Rogers, navigator.

In the unlimited class, the winner was Psycho No. 151 out of Albany, Ore., with Kyle Patrick, driver, and Brooklyn Patrick, navigator. Coming in second was Jolly Roger No. 39 out of Arlington, with Eric Werner, driver, and Dawn Davis, navigator.

Port Angeles team Wicked Racing No. 10 came in third at its home track in the unlimited category. Dan Morrison was the driver and Sami Gustufson was the navigator.

Making the final round of four in the 400 class was popular Internet racing personality “Cleetus McFarland” in the McFarland Racing No. 1776 Mountain Dew boat. McFarland (real name Garrett Mitchel with navigator Spencer Faggioni), showed that he was serious about his racing, making the final four in the elimination round in the powerful unlimited class. He ended up going out of the water and into the fence on his final race, but he was uninjured.

The ASBR sprint boats return to Port Angeles for a second full weekend of qualifying and elimination races on Sept. 9-10.

Sequim team crashes

The action was wild during qualifying race on July 29, with a harrowing rollover crash by the Jeepers Creepers boat out of Sequim.

The Jeepers Creepers boat with a crew of Teri Cummings and stepson Dillon Cummings was on its second qualifying run Saturday afternoon when the boat hit the bank, left the water, flipped over once and landed very hard on its hull.

Neither crew member got out of the boat and were attended by race officials and medics for about 20 minutes.

One member of the boat was taken out of the boat on a backboard and stretcher while the other was able to walk away.

After a delay of about 45 minutes, qualifying continued.

According to the ASBR broadcast, driver Dillon had minor injuries while navigator Teri was awake and aware and receiving medical treatment.

Teri Cummings commented on the ASBR livestream on Sunday saying she was fine.

“​I’m fine, bruised lungs. really hurting. Hopefully start walking around tomorrow,” she said on the livestream.