There was a Gold Cup rookie or two in the crowd but for the most part, this team had been there before and they knew what it was going to take to be the team to win the 100th Gold Cup. The Oh Boy! Oberto team out of Madison had an extremely strong boat and a very good driver who has been wanting to hoist that trophy for many years. J. Michael Kelly and David Bryant were driving the sponsons off of their boats and Jimmy King is ALWAYS tough on his own turf, the Detroit River. And don’t forget those Formula guys or the U50 team. The beauty of Detroit is that it’s not necessarily the best boat that wins. You truly have to earn it. The team that wins this trophy is the team that can rise up and put a solid boat on the water every heat. Your boat is going to take and absolute beating at the Gold Cup simply because of the nature of the Roostertail Turn. So there’s one thing you must keep in mind in Detroit…Get points. Plain and simple.
In the test session Jean Theoret was launching out of the Roostertail Turn. The boat was running very well. However, this team had a few things in the back of their minds. You see in Evansville they won the Thunder on the Ohio but it was at the cost of a gearbox. Madison isn’t the cleanest water to race in and they lost a gearbox there as well. So they were now in Detroit with parts on the way, but only 1 working gear box until those parts arrived. Hopefully they don’t break anything before the parts arrive.
On the last lap of testing things were not sounding right and Theoret was forced to shut her down and tow her in. The worst thing that could happen, happened. The crew has 2 HOURS until heat 1A and no gear box. And no chance of putting one together. In fact the parts were not scheduled to arrive until 1 hour before the heat was to start. It looks like a Gold Cup is not possible for the U37 team unless they can somehow pull out a miracle. The thing is, you can’t really tell this team something isn’t possible. This crew was formed with a purpose and they have some absolute experts in all aspects of the boat whether it’s hull, gears, engines or drive train. Together they somehow believe that they can still figure out a way to win the Gold Cup. Even though literally, mathematically and any other way you can look at the situation, a Gold Cup is impossible for this team. They truly understand the phrase “it is what it is” and when the only option is to rebuild it and hope for the best, that’s exactly what they do.
On Sunday it was a day long wait for the winds to die down. They never did and the race was canceled. Too bad too because there were a few boats that could have taken the trophy home. During the break on Sunday the U37 crew felt bad for the fans for having to sit through the crappy weather and not know if there was going to be racing or not. So the crew grabbed up all of their autograph cards and headed to the bleachers to mingle with the crowd. And when I say the crew I mean Jean Theoret, Billy and Jane Schumacher, Scott Raney, the ENTIRE crew. It seemed like a pretty cool gesture. I don’t understand how sponsors are so quick to hop on board with the criminals and idiots in traditional pro sports today and then a sport like this with incredible sportsmanship and a group of people always willing to spend time with the fans struggles to find sponsorship. If you’re reading this and you have the power to spend advertising dollars at your company, I highly recommend you look in to this sport. I’m willing to bet that it’s very affordable advertising and knowing how loyal these fans are to this sport (me being one of them), I know that the ROI will be achieved. Plus, in 2009 they’re going international with an maiden voyage in Doha Qatar for the first ever Oryx Cup. Get on the phone and get a hold of one of these teams or the ABRA and get in now. As this sport re-grows you’ll have got in on the ground level and be able to build your sponsorship in to something to last for years to come.It would be a shame to break this team up but 2009 looks to be headed in that direction. Due to the economy they lost their sponsorship and it sounds like the equipment will be sold. What that means for this crew I do not know but as a fan of this sport, for the sake of this sport, I hope they find a way to keep these guys together.Thanks to Todd Tamayao, U37 Photographer, and Linn Hawley for the photos used in this blog.