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Mickael Leboeuf continues the family legacy

by Denis Bourbonnais

The Leboeuf name has been intimately linked to the sport of motorboating for over half a century. The patriarch, Jules "The Foot" Leboeuf, paved the way for the many aspiring racers in the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield area by piloting the "Boomerang" and "Zoomerang" boats in the 1970's and 1980's. This 88 year old pioneer of motorized racing had previously driven outboard boats commonly known as "galettes" in the 1960's.

His son Jean-Guy took over as a competitor in the 5-liter class, better known now as the Hydro 350 class with the advent of the Hydroplane Racing League (HRL). After more than three decades behind the wheel of a racer, the driver nicknamed "Gaga" passed the torch to his son Michael who became the designated driver of the "Zoomerang/Canadian Tire" H-155 in 2019. And the 3rd generation racer has responded well in his first season on the fastest sport on the water.

Mickael Leboeuf delivered excellent performances that earned him the title of Rookie of the Year at the end of a season rich in talent among first-year HRL pilots. This award is not trivial considering that the then 21 year old pilot had held his own in the Hydro 350, the most competitive hydroplane class in North America.

"I thought it was going to happen, I grew up in the world of regattas," said Mickael, who was particularly excited about his first starts at the Régates de Valleyfield in the summer of 2019. The Campivallensian came close to competing at the age of 14 aboard a 1.5-liter class hydroplane. However, technical problems during a capsule test delayed his entry into the world of hydroplanes. Six years later, following a breakthrough in ice car racing, Mickael took the plunge into the family's favorite sport.

His arrival on the motosport scene is a source of pride for the Leboeuf's, especially since the latest "Zoomerang" was built in 2012 by Jean-Guy at his shop on Sainte-Marie Boulevard in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. While the father runs the team's operations as owner, his daughter Bianka Leboeuf is in charge of radio communications and guides her brother Mickael from the shore during events.

In fact, the latest addition to the Leboeuf lineage is not the only one to have carried on the family legacy since the turn of the millennium. Michael is in fact the second third generation racer to occupy the cockpit of a boat within the family. Donald Leduc, son of Johanne Leboeuf and grandson of Jules, has been the author of multiple accomplishments in the world of regattas including 3 victories in a final at the Valleyfield Regatta (2012, 2013, 2015) as well as points championships (ACHA\HRL) in the 2.5 liter class.

For the family of Jules Leboeuf, Howie Benns' triumph at the wheel of the "Leboeuf Transport" GP-1001 in the 1988 Golden Regatta Grand Prix Final certainly remains one of the highlights of racing history. After the achievements of Jules Leboeuf, Jean-Guy Leboeuf and Donald Leduc, will Michael be the next to shine when the action resumes in the Hydroplane Racing League?

"He is already a source of pride for his grandfather, who cried when he saw him race for the first time at the 2019 Long Sault Regatta," said Jean-Guy Leboeuf. One thing is for sure, the family will continue to be in the pit area at the Valleyfield Regatta and other HRL venues for years to come.

Photo credit: Rod Windover Photographer