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No U.S. pilot at Rouen this year . . .
No U.S. pilot at Rouen this year . . .

TUESDAY, April 7, 2015 - For the first time in a few years it doesn't appear that any pilots from North America will be participating in the 24 Hours of Rouen on the River Siene in France next month.  The past two seasons I was fortunate enough to be invited by France's Shark Racing Team to drive their Classe 1 boat.  With sponsorship lacking, the Shark gang has decided to pass on Rouen this year and concentrate on the French national championship instead.

The Rouen entry list shows just 29 boats thus far, although a few more may be added before the event kicks off on May 1.  Last year the boat count was in the mid 30s, each team fielding 3-4 pilots who compete for 24 hours on a two-plus mile course in downtown Rouen in France's Normandy region.  I hope to be able to get back to Rouen one day, but this year my schedule and sponsorship situation didn't cooperate.  Maybe 2016 will see us get back over there and try to up our 7th and 8th place runs the past two years.  One lick of bad luck in 24 hours and you're done.  We had a steering pulley break last year during our first two hour run and played catch up the next two days.  Nothing but a perfect run earns the podium and someday getting that honor like a few American pilots in the past have been able to do is always motivating.

Preparations for our first Formula 1 race here in the U.S. is full steam ahead.  We are working in the toterhome and living quarters trailer getting things set up.  Working on mounts to carry our powerheads in the toterhome, secure fuel drums for transport, and that sort of thing.  Our uniforms, flags, tents that the public image stuff for our new sponsor is in the final art stages and if the weather continues to improve we hope to get our boats to the ramp in the next couple weeks to get the bugs worked out and get the engines broke in and tuned in preparation for the Maple City Grand Prix in late May.  Right now heavy rains has our local rivers full of drift, trash and mud so I think we are still maybe 2-3 weeks away from getting to the water, and probably a few more weeks after that before we get any testing in.

And, it appears that after a highly successful maiden regatta in February in Bradenton, FL, that the cities involved aren't seeing eye to eye about next year's event.  Media attention this week in Florida has been focused on how a city on one side of the river believes the one on the other got more from the regatta and it is looking for a little more return on investment in 2016.  Here's a link to a story in the local papers there if you want to follow the progress of plans for next year. Click here to read:  Let's hope both sides are able to work out the issues, because I heard nothing but good things about the event and I think the F2 teams who participated loved this year's event.

Dana Tomes

Just 60 days to showtime . . .
Just 60 days to showtime . . .

SATURDAY, March 28, 2015 - We're down to just two months to our season opener in LaPorte, Indiana.  Here's an update on what we've been up to at the office and shop the past couple weeks.

Our boat is about ready to go to the boat ramp and do some engine break-in and tuning.  The entire fuel injection system has been rebuilt from scratch so we're hoping that will allow our Mercury Bridgeport 2.4 liter outboards to perform as best as possible.  We have a brand new Brucato electronic fuel injection system on the boat, as well as new lines, fuel pump and updated injectors.  It's been interesting getting it all wired up and programmed, but I am hopeful the boat will be back at our shop in the next week or so and available for the other needed updates to be undertaken.

Our sponsorship negotiations have been completed.  We will have a primiary sponsor for our F1 program in 2015 and will be announcing that soon.  Looks like our new colors will be purple and gold.  Our crew t-shirts have arrived, hats are on the way and driver and crew uniforms are on the drawing board.  We should have everything in hand and ready to look sharp well in time for our opener.  Our F2 colors and boats will remain red and blue as the new sponsor is only interested in the F1 race schedule.

Our exact 2015 race schedule is still up in the air.  Pittsburgh entered the fray late as a possible F1 race date between Bay City and Valleyfield giving us the possibility of three consecutive weekends at the races.  I understand that is still up in the air, but a decision will hopefully be made soon so teams can plan their year.  I understand the new event promoter in Pittsburgh wants F1 racing back in the city, but may have financial constraints that may not allow that to happen.  I guess we'll see soon if F1 makes the trek to the Steel City or if F2 and/or F3 racing goes back to Pittsburgh for the July 4th weekend.

Time to start waxing up the truck and trailer and getting everything ready to race.  The weather has gotten progressively better the past couple weeks so hopefully the snow and ice have finally given way to sunshine and warmth!

Dana Tomes

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