By Denis Bourbonnais
Tim Seebold wanted his last race at the Régates de Valleyfield to end in a victory, but his biggest rival Terry Rinker had other plans in the US Formula 1 Powerboat class.
The driver from Tampa Bay (Florida) got off to a perfect start in the final, on Sunday, and dominated from start to finish to collect a 2nd victory in a row in Valleyfield. Rinker and his Black Hawk Racing (no. 10) never looked back throughout the 15 laps of the ultimate race, while a hard-fought battle for the second position was taking place behind him.
Californian Greg Foster grabbed the 2nd position early on in the race with the Seaway Marine (no. 53), followed closely by Tim Seebold’s NGK Spark Plug (no. 53). The driver from Osage Beach (Missouri) did all he could to catch up on Foster, but was 1.5 seconds short of his objective. At the beginning of the season, Seebold announced his retirement for the end of the 2016 calendar.
Only 4 other competitors participated in the final; Rob Rinker (30), Jose Mendana Jr (21), Mark Welch (95) and Tyler Welch (59) crossed the finish line in that order. Sunday’s qualifying heat was marked by two incidents involving Canadian Bryan Babineau (241) and Carlos Mendana (13), from Miami (Florida). None of the drivers sustained injuries, but each boat was heavily damaged.
Another Canadian, Morgan Williams, from Tiny (Ontario) had to forfeit the final. Therefore, only 7 of the 10 participants remained, the product of a rather difficult year for the US F1 Powerboat Series. In 2015, 16 boats were registered in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. Many accidents, including the one that cut Chris Fairchild’s season short, and financial reasons explain the smaller number of racers this year.
Terry Rinker, the champion, took the time to thank his crew and praise the Régates de Valleyfield fans during his interview on the winners’ dock. The Formula 1 class saw 3 different winners being crowned in as many races this season, as Tim Seebold won in La Porte (Indiana) and Greg Foster finished first in Bay City (Michigan).
To read the article in the Journal Saint-François: http://www.journalsaint-francois.ca/sports/2016/7/18/terry-rinker-gache-la-sortie-de-tim-seebold.html [French version only]