A little bit of everything at quicksilver

The sound of thunderous boats flying across the waterfront raised a sense of excitement in the crowds that had gathered to watch the day’s hydroplane races.

But in Bud McKay, the sound evoked a different feeling.

“That sound drives me nuts because we’re not a part of it,” he lamented.

Bud and Gigi McKay had been waiting for last weekend to come for a long time.

The hydroplane-racing Belfair couple were eager in their first season on the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association Tour to take to their “home waters” and go after a win in the first annual quicksilver hydroplane and watersports festival, last weekend in Dyes Inlet.

But unfortunately for the McKay’s, their boat never hit the water to compete. An engine problem forced the pair to withdraw the boat just before race time on Sunday.

“It’s just frustrating,” Gigi McKay said. “We’ve been waiting for this race all year long.”

“It breaks our hearts,” Bud McKay added. “We worked our butts off to get it out there. Our volunteers, the guy that built our engine, gave up six days to do it.

“But you know what? We’re going to get this thing going and get it going right.”

And while the Namron Racing Team eight-cylinder stock hydro was one of several boats to fail before the finals, quicksilver still offered some hot races in the sunshine.

Several top drivers were in attendance, including the top leaders in the 2005 Unlimited Light Point Standings, Greg Hopp and Michael Flaherty. Hopp topped Flaherty in UL action on Sunday, and with a slim lead (5,114 to 4,835), it appears that for the second consecutive year the point standings’ title will be determined in Port Angeles at the end of September.

In the first heat on Saturday, Flaherty was able to one-up Hopp to take the top heat time. But in Sunday’s final, it was Hopp who would have the last laugh. Harold Mills, fourth in the ULPS standings, took third in the event.

And while those boats were the biggest, each racing division made an intriguing splash during the two-day event.

In the eight-cylinder modified class, a three-boat final of Bob Estes, Rob Bourke and Rob Hall, Hall seemed overmatched, racing up a class with his four-cylinder modified hydro. There were not enough four-cylinder modifieds to field an entire race.

Hall held his own against the larger boats, taking second after holding or sharing the lead heading into the final lap. Estes was able to overcome Hall down the stretch.

Wil Muncey won the eight-cylinder stock title after both of his competitors, the McKays and Bob Donley, were unable to race.

In the four-cylinder stock race, Jeff Bernard was able to outlast Brian Perkins and Joe Gutierrez to win.

And with more than 6,000 spectators turning out to watch the races, the event was a success on all fronts.

“We had guessed between 5,000 and 10,000 people,” Sam Granato, Silverdale Chamber of Commerce executive director, said. “We’re extremely happy with the success of the event.”

The event was so successful that the Chamber hopes to have the dates for next year’s race to be finalized at the end of October.

“It was wonderful,” Granato said. “The turnout, the phone calls we’ve been getting. They all indicated a great success. We’re just going to keep our fingers crossed that everything works well (for next year).”

The McKays also have started looking to next year’s event.

“That’s all we’ve got to do,” Gigi McKay said. “Take it home, tear it down and do it all again. It’s all about going and racing. We’ll be back next year.”

Bud McKay said while owning the hydro was a dream come true for him, he’s not sure what kind of dream it is right now.

“We’re looking into the nightmare part of the dream right now,” he said of the engine problems the team experienced. “There’s an old saying, ‘That’s racing.’ And you know what? Being a part of it is fantastic.

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