Maple City Grand Prix


A variety of parallels enfolded at the Fifth Annual Maple City Grand Prix tunnel boat race, held June 9-11, 2017 in LaPorte, Indiana.

Formula One racer Greg Foster from Orange, California was driving his Dillard Financial Solutions-sponsored Italian-built DAC hull in a Heat race. After exiting turn six on the Stone Lake racecourse, Foster encountered Jim Robb’s boat and roostertail spray. Sponson-to-sponson contact was made. Foster was able to drive out of this high-speed situation and continued on to capture the F1 victory.

During the Formula Lights race, driver R.J. West from Manteca, California, was piloting his Skeleton Racing-sponsored Composite Craft hull in a Heat race. As West was exiting turn six, he was able to catch up to race leader Chris Hagerl. Both drivers came dangerously close to each other by “trading paint” as they rubbed sponson to sponson. West was able to pass Chris to win the race. No injuries were reported from these “bump and run” incidents.

Both Foster and West won their races in their perspective classes, both drivers were from California, and both incidents happened on the same part of the racecourse. As baseball great Yogi Berra once said, “It’s Deja Vu all over again.”

This was the first stop of the 2017 season for the USF1 Powerboat Tour Series for the Formula One and Formula Lights tunnel boat classes.

— Story and photography by Paul Kemiel