The 2011 Gold Cup Races roared into Detroit and left fans roaring in return at the awesome, spine-tingling sights and sounds they had the chance to take in.
Sunday was the final race for the Gold Cup Races with the hydroplanes and the final race for the Silver Cup which is the cup to be won in the Offshore races.
The day was another glorious summer day in the Motor City, and those motors were loud and raucous, and created some of the very best roostertails the crowd had ever seen.
Walking out onto Pit Row to get a closer look at the offshore races, the sound was over powering. Coming out onto the course at that moment was the Time Bandit with Bob Mazikowski and Travis Lofland.
As the Time Bandit gathered speed and came to a planing position, the sound blasts through your body. At the same time, the rest of the boats are heading out onto the course with the same volume level and decible shutter. It is amazing to experience.
In a matter of seconds, they are off. Screaming around the water track in an Offshore boat as if it were as automatic as breathing, kicking up water and intense roostertails along their route. The crowd cheers, we are sure, but that sound does not penetrate the awesome noise of those engines.
The Offshores race down the straightaway toward the Belle Isle Bridge, make that turn, the widest on the circuit, and streak on up on the back straightaway toward the infamous “Roostertail turn,” the tighest turn on the circuit.
Once you see them in action, that “Roostertail” spray is forever etched in your memory. The boats first carefully slowing a bit to execute the turn, then turning up the heat to finish the turn and roar into the straightaway.
And, in a just a matter of about 10 minutes, it was over. You are left speechless, yet you find yourself screaming. Then there are huge laughs as all anyone can still hear are those engines, with their awesome vibrations.
The Time Bandit had barreled around the course and taken the first place trophy. Being on the hydroplane side of the show, those crews, relatives and officials, really did not know who took first place in the Offshores as they were all so intently focused on readying their own boat to perform well.
Glancing around, at the Spirit of Qatar boat and her crew feverishly working to tweak everything to perfection, Earl Stilson came into view. Earl, who is fondly known as “Earl the Pearl,” had come to see the races, of course. He shared that he had brought one of Kathy Shuler’s own boats to put on display, the Whiz Bang, JS69.
In speaking to one of Earl’s friends, “Top Hat John” we found out that, “Taking a ride across Lake St. Clair at 60 to 70 miles per hour in the Whiz Bang was unbelievable!”
Kathy Shuler came up and shared she had been in the business of boat racing since she was a kid. “My grandfather took me to my first race when I was seven,” she laughs as she goes on to share that “This is my 50th race.”
As Kathy and Earl make their way back into the crowd, the next destination is Pit Tower where Paul Thomas, a Race Fan Volunteer let’s us know that he got into volunteering at the Gold Cup Races through his affiliation with the Thanksgiving Day Parade. He chuckles as he recounts the fun that “We had making the floats and attending the parade.”
Our smiles bring Wanda Kirkland of RSIG Security a little closer as Paul relates that her granddaughter and grandson had both been to the Pit Tower on Saturday and how much everyone enjoyed their visit. Wanda, who used to be a Medic, has been with RSIG for more than a decade. Wanda likes her job and feels RSIG is a good company for which to work.
At that point. most of the work on those hydroplanes had been completed and they were preparing to hoist them into the water for the 2011 Gold Cup Race.
In the meantime, on the balcony of the Pit Tower, Matt Gregory of the U-10 was being introduced. The crowd loved it when Matt shared that, “Man! We got some good stuff here!”
Having been out of the hydroplane picture for awhile, the big question to Matt was, “Is there a possibility that we will see you in the water again?” Matt’s quick and definite answer was “Absolutely!” Again, a roar from the crowd was heard.
And with the roaring of the hydroplane engines being heard well above the noise of the crowd, all that was left to do was to sit or stand tall and watch mezmerized for the next 10 minutes or so as the race for the Cup was on.
Check out the next article for more details, quotes, and pictures of the 2011 Gold Cup Race and the Winner.