By Éric Tremblay
With 25 teams in the race, the Hydro 350 class was as competitive as ever. Many drivers had their best weekend this season, giving the favorites a run for their money. Veteran Kent Henderson enjoyed his first ever win in Valleyfield, in a 3-lap final, cut short by a collision between Nicolas Rousse and Sylvain Dorais.
“It has always been a dream of mine to win here, said Kent Henderson. A lot of the credit goes to my team that works tirelessly to make sure my boat is up to part.”
The H-777 Team Toban has been the one to beat ever-since the competition in Brockville. His crew made a few adjustments on the hull to make it what it is today.
“Of course, I would have liked to get a full 5-lap race, he added. I did not see what happened, but I do hope both drivers are okay.”
Behind him, Nicolas Rousse and Sylvain Dorais were battling over the third position. The H-225 Boutin Harley Davidson Valleyfield tried to get in better position for the last turn in the third lap. The hydroplane hooked and the H-32 Octane Stratégies/C’est la vie could not avoid it. Dorais found himself stuck under his opponent.
Unable to open the cockpit, he had to get out from the trap under the boat. Nicolas Rousse was a little more shaken. “I am okay, I just got out of the hospital, he wrote on Facebook. My neck and back hurt, but I’m glad no one got seriously injured. I want to thank everyone for their support.”
By the end of the first day of qualifications, Richard Haineault was first in the standings. However, tragedy struck on Sunday, as the right side of his hull was badly damaged. The H-2 Miss Beauharnois was then out of competition for the rest of the weekend.
Michel Raymond’s M2K had a similar fate. Because of a penalty in Sunday morning’s qualification, he had to participate in the consolation final during which, in the first lap, he did a complete 360º flip. The driver landed safely, left with only a memorable scare and damaged pontoons.
Nine different drivers collected a victory during the qualifying heats. Henderson, Dorais and Rousse took two. A lot of penalties shook up the normal order. Competition was so close that the winner of one of the qualifications had to be determined with a photo finish. Nicolas Rousse crossed the finish line 0.17 seconds in front of Jimmy King.
Defending champion King was not able to get into the final. Neither did Rémy Leblanc and Patrick Haworth, who were also among the leaders in the standings.
Consolation finals saw two newcomers, Donny Allen and Jonathan Daoust (H-15 Constructeck/Canadian Tire), come out victorious.
To read the article in the Journal Saint-François: http://www.journalsaint-francois.ca/sports/2016/7/18/kent-henderson-resiste-a-l-hecatombe.html [French version only]