Air National Guard Series to host exhibition race in Folsom
The Air National Guard Hydroplane Series will stage a four-boat exhibition event for community leaders and area corporate executives for the possible return of hydroplane racing to the state’s capital in 2012.
The exhibition will take place on Folsom Lake on Thursday, Sept. 8, and is the first time the Air National Guard hydroplanes have run on the lake near Sacramento in 44 years.
“We are eager to showcase the sport and the goal is to garner enough support from the community so we can return there in 2012 for a full series race,” said Sam Cole, chairman of the Air National Guard Series. “Sacramento successfully supported the ChampBoats for several years and has always been receptive to racing events. It is a top 20 market area and this venue is ideal for our boats.”
Cole, who lives in the Sacramento area, also wants to show government officials potential race courses on the lake and demonstrate the tour’s commitment to ecology and safety.
Three Air National Guard teams have committed to the event and the fourth is expected to be named next week. Boats taking part in the exhibition are: Peters & May driven by JW Myers; Albert Lee Appliance driven by Brian Perkins and the Degree Men driven by J. Michael Kelly.
The Degree Men boat is owned by Billy and Jane Schumacher, and coincidentally, Billy Schumacher won the last Unlimited hydroplane race on Folsom Lake in 1967 when he was a driver.
The exhibition will take place during a three-hour window with two boats running on the course at a time. Air National Guard hydroplanes are capable of speeds of 200-plus mph and drivers face G-forces in turns similar to pilots in fighter planes.
Area resident Peter McDermott is leading the effort to bring the boats back to the lake and would like nothing more than to see a race on Folsom Lake next May.
“We think an Air National Guard race will create a large revenue stream for the community,” McDermott said. “We can’t wait to show potential sponsors and government leaders what it’s all about.”
The Air National Guard Series concludes its tour in North America with a stop in San Diego, Sept. 16-18. The tour then moves to Doha, Qatar, Nov. 17-19, for its 10-boat World Championship.
For more information on the Air National Guard Series visit h1unlimited.com.