Racing in the water

This is a sport that only exists in a few places: the US Pacific Northwest and far Western Canada; New Zealand and Australia.  And it’s fast – very fast.  One writer said it’s “racing like your hair’s on fire!”  500-1000 horsepower boats, pulling from 3 – 7 g’s in the corners, 80 mph in a 3′ deep rut only 12′ wide – it’s something that happens in the wild northwest or “down under”.  But best of all, the Office with a View is going down to help in the pits!

This race is at St. Johns, in the middle of the Palouse in Washington.  One of the top spots for photographers in the US: the beauty of the rolling hills under billowing clouds in uncrowded country is peaceful to behold.

There’s already 150+ RV’s of all types here … in the spectator area!

What is going on … there’s already RV’s of all kinds here … and this doesn’t include the 100+ units in the pit area?  In talking to folks later, they’ll get around 3000 spectators tomorrow.  And, since these races are in relatively remote areas, they’ll all stay over tomorrow night too!  It’s an RV city!

Office with a View at the races … nice!
Pit crews and the sprint boats …
Pit crews rigs … all kinds, from US and Canada

These boats are driven by “jet pumps”, powered by BIG engines.  They are towed down to the launch area in heats … driver and navigator strapped in (with fire protective race gear, special helmets and neck braces, in a roll cage) to await their timed heat.  Each race takes about a minute.  BUT – one mistake, and you’ll find yourself out of the water … maybe rolling over.  The boats are put in the water by a local Jeep off-road club … because as the boats power up (remember, up to 1000 hp), they push hard on the launch vehicles.

Last minute checks on gear …

Then it’s time to start dropping them in the water.

Hitches on the front of the Jeeps …
Last minute advice for the crew …

And when the green flag drops … action!!

Ear splitting roar of 1000 hp picks the boat up …

Thirty six turns (yes, 36) through the course … the navigator shoves her or his hand in front of the driver to indicate direction.  It’s over in a minute in an incredible adrenaline rush!

Full speed …
… change direction …

Sometimes it’s over sooner.  This one rolled three times before stopping … and the safety crew is on it!

Everyone is OK …

This one rolled, stood up on it’s nose, landed and caught on fire.  The safety crew was there to drag out the driver and navigator … you can see the race and crash here.

In the finals, last part of an incredible race …

Team names like Fat Buddy, Overkill, Jolly Roger, Wicked Racing, Screamin’ Eagle, Two Pump Chump, Dream Catcher and more – it’s a great day of fun for the whole family.

Fat Buddy brought a big team from BC
Jeeps takin’ a rest, as only Jeeps do …
The spectators soak up the sun

Great sunny weather in the Palouse, at Webb’s Slough in St. John’s Washington … spectators relaxing on the grassy hills … vendors selling t-shirts, event type food … team tents with all kinds of info for fans … and RV’s that go on forever … it’s a grand day.   As noted earlier, this is a West Coast only sport – so check out the schedules if you’re out this way at USSBAracing.

When the excitement dies down, it’s back home …

Yup … nothing like an Office with a View.  Kick back after a day of loading and unloading sprint boats, watching high adrenaline racing, and do a little paying work.  Gotta love a truck camper!

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