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We are just leaving Detroit. J-Dub is on his way home with a broken foot. We will be updating from the road!

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm
After the U-37′s skidfin failed, JW Myers crashed into the wall in front of the Roostertail…

(Courtesy H1 Unlimited)

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm
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Posted: July 12, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 10:23 am

2010 Gold Cup Heat 1B: a “bump”? and a terrible crash from Jack Lowe on Vimeo.

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 10:17 am
Proof that J-Dub visited Detroit...

Proof that J-Dub visited Detroit...

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

From the Detroit Free Press:

Injured Unlimited hydroplane driver J.W. Myers rushed to the Detroit River after his release from the hospital Sunday. He wanted to be with his team to watch the Gold Cup final, he said.

Sitting in a lawn chair near his race hauler, Myers said he felt lucky to survive his huge crash on the Detroit River on Saturday during heats of the APBA Gold Cup.

“To walk away from that — it was a big impact. Six-thousand pounds of boat at 100 m.p.h. That says it all.”

Myers, 36, knew he was in trouble after his skid fin broke.

“We were hauling (butt),” he said. “We obviously had an issue. I tried to do a right-hand spin to slow it down. I remember the (Roostertail) wall getting really big. You should have heard the impact from where I was sitting.”

His U-37 Miss Peters & May boat slammed into the seawall of the Roostertail restaurant. The Burien, Wash., native sustained broken bones in his left foot and was taken to St. John’s Hospital in Detroit. The hydroplane was heavily damaged, the cockpit split open.

Team manager Shannon Raney confirmed Sunday that Myers was still in extreme pain.

“But he’s a tough driver,” said Raney. “Don’t count him out racing again this year.”

Raney said Myers fought for control of his boat after the equipment failure sent him skimming across the water in the tight Roostertail turn toward the pits.

“He saw the hit coming, and it wouldn’t have been a good deal,” Raney said. “He manhandled the boat so he wouldn’t hit anybody on the shore. J.W. knew he was out of the race and he just didn’t want to hurt anyone.”

Myers appeared to turn the boat right with the rudder, scrub off speed across the river and deliberately miss slamming into the pits. Instead, he smacked the concrete and steel Roostertail wall.

No one apart from him was hurt.

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 8:15 am

JW Myers

The skid fin is a long, stationary metal blade mounted behind the left sponson about the middle of the boat. The skid fin helps the boat through turns and keep the hull lined up in the straight-aways. When it breaks or fails, it’s very, very bad because the boat loses it ability to quickly turn or maintain a path.

That’s the situation U-37 driver JW Myers found himself in. When the skid fin on the boat gave way, Myers found himself going through the turn and in the worst possible position on the Detroit River. Headed directly for the pit area, full of docks, boats, and people. And he was headed there in a boat weighing more than three tons and going more than 150 miles an hour.

In seconds, Myers made a decision. He needed to muscle the boat away from the docks and the crowds. But he did it at great personal risk. To the right of the pits is the famed Roostertail wall, a roughly 10 foot concrete wall along the edge of the course. As people scrambled atop the wall, Myers’ boat hit the wall hard, sending parts flying off the boat and into the air.

Myers managed to get out of the boat quickly, and laid down on the deck waiting for rescue crews to get to him. Nobody on shore was hurt, but Myers was. He was taken to St. John Hospital in Detroit, where they found multiple fractures in his left ankle.

The Roostertail turn where the skid fin failed is the tightest turn in all of Unlimited Hydroplane racing. It’s tough to manage as it is, let alone when equipment fails. “If you miss, there is a stone wall there on the exit of the turn and it’s going to hurt,” said U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver Steve David before the race started.

“JW had to be going 175, 180 miles per hour before that turn,” U-13 Miss DYC driver Cal Phipps told the Detroit News. “He had to hit that seawall at 100 to 120 miles-per-hour.”

U-96 Spirit of Qatar driver Dave Villwock was driving in the same heat, but had moved well past that point on the course when it happened. Still, an accident like that stays in your mind. “I was worried a little after what happened to J-Dub earlier,” said Villwock after racing again.

“I’m glad to hear J-Dub’s OK,” said U-100 Jarvis Restoration driver Greg Hopp. “You think about it when you’re on the course, but you have to just put it aside.”

“You just have to toss it out of your mind and continue to remain calm,” David told the Detroit News. “It does say a lot about the boats though how he got out and escaped injury.”

Some witnesses on the shore called Myers a hero for his actions. You won’t get an argument from the race teams or the other drivers.

Photos: Jim Simpson

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 8:11 am

We left Detroit this morning headed home with the remains of the U-37. Our team’s plans are still a little up in the air regarding the remainder of the season, but WE’RE NOT GIVING UP.

Plan on seeing the U-37 in the pits at Tri-Cities and Seafair!

Posted: July 12, 2010 at 7:38 am