Jimmy Shane had much to prove as the new driver of the popular and successful hometown-owned U-6 Oberto/Miss Madison Unlimited Hydroplane in this weekend’s 64th annual Madison Regatta.
The hard-driving Shane became the 20th driver since 1961 to drive the iconic Miss Madison, replacing an extremely popular Steve David who retired. So much was expected from 28 year-old Shane as the H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes assembled on the Ohio River in historic Madison for the 2014 season opener.
Shane quickly quieted any critics and earned thousands of new fans by winning all three of his heat races, and earning the fastest speed in qualifications. In the prestigious winner-take-all Indiana Governor’s Cup final, Shane hoped to complete a perfect weekend and give the local fans another coveted Madison Regatta win for the home town boat.
From the reaction of the large pro-Miss Madison crowd, Shane appeared to time the critical start just right. Shane took an immediate lead from his desirable inside starting position, and pulled away from J. Michael Kelly in the U1 Graham Trucking boat going into turn one on the extremely rough Ohio River course. Jon Zimmerman in the U9 Red Dot/Spirit of Qatar boat trailed in third, followed closely by Cal Phipps in the U7 Graham Trucking boat.
To the delight of the standing crowd, Shane fought off several challenges by Kelly, and slowly pulled away from the competition. Shane led all five laps in the Cup finale, and took the checkered flag as the apparent winner of the 2014 Madison Regatta.
On the banks of the Ohio River thousands of partisan fans were cheering and celebrating their latest Madison Regatta victory ,and their newest driving hero Jimmy Shane. Unfortunately, though, all the local fans’ excitement and enthusiasm quickly turned to disappointment and confusion when it was announced by H1 officials that the starting line video replay had shown that Shane had jumped the start by about six feet. Shane had led all five laps in the Indiana Governor’s Cup final, and was a clear winner to the fans. But the infraction relegated him to fourth place behind race winner Kelly, with Zimmerman and Phipps rounding out the top three podium finishers.