By Denis Bourbonnais
The 2.5 litre class was unpredictable at the 78th edition of the Régates de Valleyfield. A woman was crowned champion this Sunday, as American Alexis Weber dominated the final behind the wheel of the S-55 My Way.
The young woman from Dawsonville (Georgia) turned things around from a tough beginning of season to become champion in the motorboating capital. Unable to win a race before Valleyfield, the 25-year-old took the victory 3 of the 4 times she came out on the Saint-François Bay this weekend. She therefore cumulated the most points before heading into the ultimate race and logic did apply in the final.
Weber took advantage of the fact that she was starting from the inside lane and crossed the starting line right on time, while Philippe Billette (S-7) and Sébastien Leduc (S-100) were too early. Alexis never looked back until the checkered flag was waved for her.
Eric McKenna was impressive in his first participation in the Régates de Valleyfield, as he took the 2nd place in his hometown aboard the S-999 Vegas EMK. Claude Abbott, who forfeited the 3rd qualifying round, had to start from the 7th lane, but still found his way to the third step on the podium.
Tommy Shannon (S-4) finished in 4th and Kevin Smith took the 5th position, while Samuel Tremblay, who was the 2nd to cross the finish line with the S-5 Hommage à Daniel Brossoit, took a one-lap penalty for not being in his lane at the start of the race.
Emotions ran high on the champions’ dock, as Alexis Weber could not contain her joy at winning for the first time in Valleyfield in her 11-year career. “This is a dream come true. It is hard to put into words”, said the champion.
Alexis held her father and crew chief, Mike Weber, who did not hold back tears. “I owe a lot to my dad. He is my mentor and I could not have done it without him. We did what we had to do after a tough beginning of season”, she continued.
“Today was incredible. I am a very proud father right now”, said Mike Weber. Despite a successful career as a driver, he never was victorious in Valleyfield. His brother Mike Weber celebrated 3 victories in 4 years aboard the My Way in the 5 litre class in 1991, 1993 and 1994.
To read the article in the Journal Saint-François: http://www.journalsaint-francois.ca/sports/2016/7/18/alexis-weber-connait-son-jour-de-gloire.html [French version only]