First Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association Victory in Silverdale, Washington
The team, coming off a first year finish of fourth place in National High points, had lofty goals for 2009. The season started in Phoenix Arizona, but the UL-11 had some mechanical issues in its first two heats. During its third heat it ran flawlessly and won but too little, too late, as it didn't make the final.
“We had some down time after Phoenix”, says Bartels, “So we decided to take off in two different directions.” A weekend crew worked on repainting the boat, and a Tuesday/Thursday night crew worked to ensure there was no repeat of the events that happened in Phoenix.
“We got everything done in time to do a couple displays and a couple parades and then got out to Chamberlain, South Dakota for our second race of the year”, Bartels said. This was an important race with a golden opportunity to do well. The engine however, would not sustain power at high RPM and would practically die. The problem was eventually found to be in the pickling process used between races, but it was too late for that weekend. “We sent the engine back to Seattle for repairs and received it back the following Friday morning in Polson, Montana.” Bartels added.
The boat ran very strong at Polson. “I’d never seen it go that fast” said Bartels, "but going into turn one on the restart of the first heat, the propeller sheared a blade, pretzled the shaft and ripped out the transom of the boat, eventually sinking the boat in the cold waters of the Flathead river.” The team plans to repair the boat in the off-season this winter.
Over the next several weekends Bartels leased and renumbered several boats in the circuit, to the UL-11, and continued to support his sponsors, sometimes leasing two boats during a weekend to cover everyone. Eventually, in Silverdale, Washington after several different boats and drivers, Bartels teamed up with Bob Schellhase, who owned the UL-12. A deal was made, the boat was renumbered with new graphics applied. The boat was then called the Power Punch Performance Lubricants / Roxy Radio 94 five / K&N Filters UL-11. All of that fancy footwork certainly paid off, because after a fierce battle throughout the weekend, Driver Brian Perkins took the new UL-11 across the finish line first and gave Darren and his team their first victory!
“I know I will relive the excitement of that first victory for years to come,” said Bartels. “A lot of what we are able to do throughout the season is because of the support of sponsors like K&N. Their oil filters and breather filters are by far the best in the business and we are proud to be associated with such an iconic name in the industry.”
John Lynch, “Voice of the ULHRA” had this to say. “It’s an old racing adage to do the best you can with what you have. Darren Bartels' commitment to his sponsors and doing the best with what he had rather than folding the tent ultimately led him to his first ever race victory.”
To find K&N products for your car, truck boat or other vehicle go to KNFilters.com and use the online application search.