Conditions could hardly have been better at the Régates de Valleyfield this Saturday, as the first qualifying rounds in the 2.5 litre, Formula 2500, Hydro 350 and Grand Prix classes were held.
The 2.5 litre class witnessed a hard-fought battle between the 2nd and 3rd positions, respectively held by the American Alexis Weber and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield resident Eric McKenna, with only 0.20 seconds separating them in the first heat of qualifications. Kevin Smith is currently in first place with the S-26 DreamWeaver.
Rob Stevenson in front in the Formula 2500 class
Rob Stevenson unexpectedly leads the Formula 2500 after two rounds of qualifications. A first place, followed by a second position gets him closer to the top of the general standings, which is currently held by both Donald Leduc (F-1 Cannonball) and Bobby King (F-242 Crush). Leduc is currently in the 8th position at the end of the day, even if he registered the fastest time in his category (4 min 4 s, 75) in the Q-1-A heat, but was then penalized for dislodging a buoy during the second heat.
Ups and downs for Nicolas Rousse, a fan-favorite
In the Hydro 350 class, Nicolas Rousse lacked consistency. He was penalized for crossing the starting line too early in the first heat, which placed him in 3rd position. He however took the victory in heat Q-2-A.
Richard Haineault and Michel Raymond currently hold the 1st and 2nd places after the Saturday qualifications.
Tight race in the Grand Prix class
The always-impressive Grand Prix class lived up to its hype. Bert Henderson is the winner of the day, with two victories in as many races and the fastest time in his class with the GP-777 Steeler. Americans Marty Wolfe (GP-93 Renegade) and Andrew Tate (GP-101 Fat Chance Too), as well as Quebeckers Pierre Maheu (GP-50 Intensity) and Éric Langevin (GP-12 Long Shot) both took one round of qualification and finished second in the other one.
The relentless work of the Long Shot team paid off. They spent most of the night working on the boat that was damaged the day before.
Brendon Kennedy, one of the favorites, ran into technical problems with the GP-25 H8 Cancer Racing and was unable to finish the second qualification, as he floated off course after missing the fourth turn. Martin Rochon was testing a new motor for the GP-77 Coppertone this weekend, but the trials did not go as planned. Indeed, he did not take part in the first heat and finished in 3rd place in the second one.
A pair of rock stars
In the evening, the park was filled with festivalgoers, who came to see Rosa, Éric Lapointe and the fireworks.
“In the evening only, we estimate that around 17,000 people were in the Park, says Michel Poirier, General Manager of the Régates de Valleyfield. It is one of the largest crowds in the Régates’ history.”
Both artists gave the fans exactly what they came for: an energetic, passionate and electrifying show.
To come on July 17
A third round of qualifications in each class will be held tomorrow, before the consolation finals and the finals. “Four drivers in the Grand Prix class ended the day with 46 points, explains Didier Séguin, Racing Director. Tomorrow’s final will be spectacular.”